Ashe to play basketball at Belmont Abbey

Published 5:22 pm Friday, July 1, 2016

Not too long ago, Jabari Ashe was locked and loaded to continue his basketball career at Catawba. However, a coaching change led to him reopening his recruitment.

He’s now settled on where he will take his talents. Come August, he will join Belmont Abbey as a walk on, aiming to earn a scholarship in the next year or so.

“It’s been rough. I was leaning toward Catawba and going back and forth on discussions with them,” Ashe said. “The major key to me not going there was the coach I was in contact with (assistant coach Ben Veshi) got another coaching job at a prep school. I knew that once he left, I was cool with the other coaches, but he was the main factor for me going there.”

One-time Northside teammate Edrice “Bam” Adebayo added, “It’s exciting for me because I’m really prod of him. He’s like my brother so you want to see your brother well.”

Ashe’s recruitment picked up right where it left off. He had interest from Lees-McRae in Banner Elk. Things moved fast with the Bobcats, but there were a few factors working against them. First off, he didn’t like that the school was over five hours away. Other than that, they wanted Ashe to start out on the developmental team, which he was fine with. But, between that and the team’s highly touted recruiting class, he figured he’d have a better opportunity to shine elsewhere.

That’s where Belmont Abbey enters — or, rather, re-enters. The staff with the Crusaders had shown interest in his services early on. He got the paperwork all in order and sent them his tape from this past season.

“Once that happened, they basically made sure I had everything in order, he told me he’d give me an offer to come play,” Ashe said. “I haven’t signed yet, but I’m going to sign really soon.”

Billy Taylor was named Belmont Abbey’s new head coach back in May, but Ashe is familiar with assistants on the staff thanks to his experiences at various camps.

“My recruitment has been so good, honestly, because I have such a good network with coaches,” Ashe said. “The camps had helped me out a lot. For any player out there that’s looking forward to the recruiting process, I would say AAU is really good, but camps help you out a lot. You meet a lot of players and coaches.”

With the fall semester right around the corner, athletes in Ashe’s position can feel rushed having to find a new landing place. Having options made the process a bit easier, as did the support of his family.

“There was a little pressure,” he said. “I knew I didn’t have much time left before a lot of the recruits would take up all the spots. But, Belmont Abbey, when they came around, they slowed everything down for me. They made it feel like I could go at my own pace and I liked that a lot.”

Ashe intends on spending all four years at Belmont Abbey. He hopes that he can grow his game so that he can have a professional career.

“I really want to progress in my four years because I want to play overseas,” he said. “I want to go play in the Spain league.”

Ashe may get the chance to play some of college basketball’s best competition. Back in 2014, the Crusaders got to play North Carolina and Florida State in exhibition games. Perhaps he’ll get to meet Adebayo in an SEC exhibition one day.

He’ll have that dedication in the classroom, too. He got accepted to Belmont Abbey just three days after applying and will have an academic scholarship. He plans to graduate with a degree in business and a minor in computer science.