NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Talk about a bold decision.
Yale junior Brandon Sherrod has chosen harmonies over the hardwood, at least for a year.READ MORE: New Video Shows Woman With Red Gas Can Inside Store Before Fire At Brooklyn Yeshiva
The 6-foot-6 forward is one of the 14 students selected to make up the next version of the Whiffenpoofs, the school’s famous male a cappella singing group.
The group, formed in 1909, is comprised of rising seniors who take a year off school to travel the world and perform. Their alumni include composer Cole Porter, former Senator Prescott Bush and many other Yale luminaries.
Sherrod, who grew up playing basketball in Bridgeport and singing in his church choir, said Monday that he spent weeks making what was an extremely tough choice after being tapped to be a “Whiff,” a commitment that begins in August.
He said he wanted to stay with the Bulldogs, a team that finished this past season 19-14 and is expected to challenge Harvard for the Ivy League basketball title next season. Yale hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 1962.
“This is supposed to be THE year, and you want to play with your guys,” he said. “But the Whiffenpoofs is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Sherrod is a political science major, whose ultimate goal is to be mayor of Bridgeport. But he said he also hopes to pursue basketball professionally, and then perhaps form a band. He’s has never had any formal voice training, but plays the drums and saxophone and a little keyboard by ear.
He’s never traveled anywhere outside the United States, and said he’s especially excited because the Whiffenpoofs plan performances in every continent but Antarctica next year, he said.READ MORE: Driver Charged With DWI In Hit-And-Run That Killed Pedestrian In North Bay Shore
Yale coach James Jones acknowledges being a little disappointed with the decision. Sherrod started 14 games last season and averaged almost seven points and more than four rebounds per game as a junior.
But Yale is not like other schools. While it is a Division I program, it does not offer sports scholarships, and Jones’ said playing ball is not the sole focus of its student-athletes.
“That’s one of the things we talk about when we recruit kids is what is available at Yale and the different opportunities thy’re going to have,” he said. “Brandon’s going to take advantage of one of them, and I understand.”
Jones said he’s never heard Sherrod sing, but plans to attend a concert or two next year. When they are not touring, the group traditionally performs weekly at Mory’s, a famous private club adjacent to the Yale campus.
Sherrod still will have a year of eligibility remaining when he re-enters school in the fall of 2015, and Jones said he’ll be welcomed back to the team with open arms.
“(Forward) Justin Sears, our best player, told me if I didn’t go, he’d be upset,” Sherrod said. “Hearing things like that makes it easier. I’m fortunate to be at Yale and be able to utilize all the gifts that God has given me.”
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
[display-posts category=”sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]MORE NEWS: NYPD: Washington Heights Suspect Stole $9,000 From Victim's Car Before Opening Fire When Man Tried To Take Gun
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)