Mission Prep senior Quinton Adlesh was in between his religion and English classes at noon Friday when he took to Twitter to announce he will be playing college basketball at Columbia.
Before school let out at 3 p.m., he had so many congratulatory messages that his mom had to drive to the school with his phone charger because the battery was drained from the incessant notifications.
A student with a 4.5-plus grade-point average who scored more than 20 points per game for the Royals this past season, Adlesh and the Ivy League seemed the perfect match from the start.
It was just a matter of finding which school was the right fit.
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“Throughout the whole process, I was looking for a school that best fit the combination of playing basketball at the highest level and great academics that will set myself up for the future,” said Adlesh, who visited every Ivy League school over the summer with his dad after averaging 22.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game as a junior. “I didn’t want to settle in either category.”
He hopes to pursue economics after his playing days are over, so what better place to be than a school that’s just a 30-minute ride on the No. 1 train away from Wall Street?
“It’s definitely urban, so that will be a change from spending my whole life on the Central Coast,” said Adlesh, who also took a visit to Northern Colorado and had offers from schools such as Cal Poly, Army and Idaho. “Any Ivy League, if you’re looking for a great education, is top notch. But Columbia is right in the hub of where I want to be.”
Adlesh said he will still take an official visit to Columbia at the beginning of December to get a better look at the facilities and sit in on a class.
Ivy League schools do not award athletic scholarships, so Columbia offered Adlesh a guaranteed spot in the school and on the team. He can still earn merit-based scholarships and financial aid.
The Lions, who went 21-13 last year and made it to the CIT quarterfinals, have six guards that will graduate in the next two years.
“I had weighed playing at places like Cal as a preferred walk-on,” he said. “Enjoy the huge environment, work hard and maybe get a chance to play as a senior.
“But I love the game too much to wait that long.”
Lions head coach Kyle Smith first made contact with Adlesh in June during an AAU tournament when he was playing alongside friend and teammate Cameron Walker, a Righetti High senior who just signed with Stanford.
Adlesh said he knew he wasn’t on the same national circuit as the 6-foot-8 Walker, so Columbia’s under-the-radar recruiting approach held steady with his own ideals.
“As I got closer and closer to my senior season, I was putting more and more pressure on myself and was even thinking about rushing into a decision just to make one,” he said. “But I came to the conclusion that I don’t care if I’m committed by then. Ultimately, it just needs to be the right fit.”
In the end, he got both: A school that will challenge him on the court and in the classroom, and a decision before he leads the Royals through their inaugural PAC 8 season this winter.
“I’m not expecting to coast at all,” in his senior season, the two-time All-County first-teamer said. “It’s a good relief to have this out of the way. Now, I don’t have to worry about any personal decision and can just focus on winning. I can score two points, and if we get a win, I’m happy.”
Penvenne picks Denver
San Luis Obispo senior and PAC 8 champion Gaby Penvenne will sign a National Letter of Intent on Monday to swim at the University of Denver.
Penvenne, who received a half-academic, half-athletic scholarship from the Pioneers, won both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 butterfly at the league championships in near-record-setting fashion for the Tigers as a junior.
Her 200 IM of 2 minutes, 8.38 seconds was 0.25 seconds off the PAC 8 record, and her butterfly win in 57.41 was 0.29 away from the best mark.
The Division I Pioneers women's team won the Summit League in 2013-14, with two swimmers making it to the NCAA Championships.