According to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, Jefferson High guard Jaquan Lynch verbally committed to FIU on Sunday afternoon.
Lynch made his decision on the ride back from Hoop Group Team Camp, becoming the second verbal commitment for new head coach Richard Pitino.
According to the piece, Lynch’s decision caps a two-year turnaround for a young man who was shot the day after his 15th birthday.
“A lot of kids don’t get this opportunity and to go through something like I did, it’s a blessing,” Lynch said in an interview with the New York Post.
Not only did it help that Pitino made it known how much he valued Lynch, but there’s also the familiarity with FIU assistant coach and former New Heights AAU athletic director Kimani Young.
“He was their priority,” Jefferson head coach Lawrence Pollard said. “Coach [Pitino] said he was and his actions said he was.”
Lynch was drawn to FIU, in part, by the presence of newly named assistant coach Kimani Young, the former athletic director at local AAU giant New Heights. The two have known each other for years and Lynch was one of the first calls Young made after he got situated.
“He had a big role,” Lynch said. “I knew when I go out there, he’ll hold me down, make sure I stay on track.”
Lynch joins Ayinde Sprewell in FIU’s 2013 recruiting class, and it may as well be a three-member class as Louisville transfer Rakeem Buckles (rehabbing a torn ACL during his transfer year) will also be on board.
The first item of business for FIU is to become more competitive in their final season in the Sun Belt after going 8-21 last season and never being a contender under Isiah Thomas.
And the landscape that awaits the Panthers in Conference USA is up in the air at this point, with five other programs joining a conference that will undergo a major facelift with four schools joining the Big East.