Jaron Faulds fully intended to wait until August or September to decide his college basketball future.
A recent visit to New York City altered those plans for the Holt basketball standout.
That visit caused Faulds and his family to fall in love. And it led to the 6-foot-10 Holt power forward recently making a verbal commitment to Columbia University.
“(My family and I) went through everything we could think of – it was just the perfect fit,” said Faulds, who also considered DePaul, Lehigh, Milwaukee, Oakland and others. “We didn’t really think that we could find anywhere better.”
Faulds, who is regarded as one of Michigan’s top-five basketball prospects in the 2017 class by ESPN and 247Sports, was told he sparked a celebration among the Columbia coaching staff after notifying them of his commitment Friday. The Lions, who are coming off a 25-10 season and third-place finish in the Ivy League, made Faulds one of their top priorities over the last couple months.
“One of the main things we took into consideration when we did make that final decision to commit is that they were telling me that I was basically going to be their centerpiece,” said Faulds, who averaged 12.1 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks while earning Associated Press Class A honorable mention all-state honors for the Rams last season. “(That’s how) they see me in the bigger picture, and I feel like I can work hard enough that I can make an impact right away and right from the beginning starting my freshman year.
“That just sounded really appealing to me. Ivy League basketball – it didn’t use to be very competitive. After making changes to financial aid, and with all the new stuff, it’s quickly becoming real competitive.”
As good a fit as Faulds views Columbia on the basketball court, he also is looking forward to getting an Ivy League education and being able to learn at a school that is difficult to get into.
“Obviously (attending) Columbia and coming out of there with a degree like that – if I don’t go play professional basketball I’m set for the rest of my life,” Faulds said. “That means a lot. Also there’s something like 34,000 applicants every year that apply and only 6 percent get in. That’s just special knowing that I’m part of that 6 percent.”