Photo courtesy of Geraldo Rodriguez/Iona College Athletics
By David Cordova
In the present era of college basketball, one thing that is becoming common is the trend of the graduate student. These are players that have already played graduated college with their undergraduate degrees that are going towards their master’s degrees that have a single year of eligibility left.
These types of players are an added bonus for many programs because of the length of time that they have been in school. Their leadership is valued when it comes to educating younger players in the locker room, because they’ve been there and have seen a lot.
One player that has such maturity is Jon Severe. The Brooklyn, NY native has been an added plus for the Iona Gaels this season, helping out in the clutch in many games, and leading them to a 15-8 record this season.
“I mean, I love basketball. I grew up playing basketball, it’s just fun to me, I love it.” says Severe. After moving back from Florida as a seventh-grader, he took the game more seriously.
When asked about being from the borough of Brooklyn, “Well, Brooklyn is Brooklyn. Every guard from Brooklyn is tough.”
Severe made his name at the famed Christ the King High School in the Middle Village section of Queens, which was a perennial national powerhouse and was also the alma mater of NBA players such as Khalid Reeves, Lamar Odom, Erick Barkley and current Hofstra University assistant coach, Speedy Claxton.
During his time at Christ the King, he would lead the Royals to three Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan titles, two CHSAA city titles and two New York State Federation titles senior. Also in his senior year, he would be named a Parade All-American and was given the honor of the New York Mr. Basketball, the highest honor in the state, and last, but not least, he was given Player of the Year Awards from publications such as the New York Daily News, the New York Post and MSG Varsity.
When asked about his time at Christ the King, Severe added: “I learned a lot from Christ the King, great coaches, great program. I love CK. Always.”
In April 2013, he signed his letter of intent to play at Fordham University. On his decision to commit there, he said, “It was close to home, they showed me much love.”
As a freshman in the 2013-14 season, he made his mark in the Atlantic-10 Conference as he averaged 17.3 points per game and would be named the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Rookie of the Year. He even scored 30 or more points three times that season (30 points against Manhattan, 32 points against Monmouth and 35 points against Duquesne).
“It was fun, I wish I had a better freshman year, because I got kind of tired, I wish I was in shape. I started off good and in the second half, I got tired. I wasn’t in great shape, so I put that on myself,” Severe says about his freshman season.
The next two years would see a decline in his statistics, as he averaged 7.6 points as a sophomore and 6.7 points as a junior for the Rams. But under the direction of new head coach Jeff Neubauer, Fordham went 17-14 and made it to their first postseason tournament since 1992, when they made it to the first round of the College Insiders.com Postseason Tournament.
“I mean, Coach Neubauer is a great coach, there’s different styles. You have to play defense over there and he’s doing a great job over there. Good luck with Fordham.” said Severe about his time with the Rams.
But off the court, Severe took his education seriously as he would win a couple of academic awards from the Atlantic 10 as a freshman and sophomore and would graduate from Fordham in three years with his degree in Communications. “Yeah, I’ve always been good with my classes. That’s my number one thing. I just wanted to make my family happy. And getting my degree did just that.”
His advice to the youth: “Just keep working. You can’t just want to play basketball because when the ball stops dribbling, you’re going to need a backup, so you have to have your schoolwork done.”
With one final season of eligibility left, Severe decided to transfer to Iona to get his master’s degree. And that move has paid huge dividends for the Gaels, as he has averaged 11.6 points and 3.6 rebounds this season and is the third-leading scorer behind fellow graduate student Sam Cassell Jr. and senior forward Jordan Washington.
“I mean, it’s just my solid play and I love it here. It’s great here, the coaches teach me everyday and it’s great here,” says Severe on coming to Iona.
With the way things are going for the Gaels, who are now in second place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, there is no telling that they will be poised to make a deep run during the conference tournament in Albany, NY, during the week of March 2-7. Last year, Iona won the MAAC title and made a first-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. This year, they plan to do the same thing again, this time with Severe helping them out with his three-point shooting and slashing drives to the basket.
But then again, no matter where he goes, the future will always be bright for Severe. “Wherever it goes, I can’t tell the future, I hope it’s great. I’m just gonna keep working right now.”
Courtesy of 2EZ Gang.
Courtesy of NYC Sports Network.