Jewish Day guard Bryan Knapp will play college basketball at Cornell. (Photo courtesy of Bryan Knapp)

Bryan Knapp was up past midnight last week, sitting around with his parents rattling off the rap sheet for the final four colleges offering him a chance to play basketball at the next level.

If he woke up the next morning without the chance to attend any of the other schools, it would sting, but he wouldn’t be crushed, he told his parents. Then he got to Cornell.


“I would truly be devastated,” he said.

So Jewish Day‘s star point guard called Cornell Coach Brian Earl after school the next day to tell him just that.

“This seems like something that’s really exciting and something I want to be a part of,” he told Earl. And he committed to play for the Big Red.

He’s the first Jewish Day basketball player since Eitan Chemerinski in 2009 to earn a spot on a Division I college basketball team. Chemerinski also attended Cornell.

Knapp spent the next week calling coaches who pursued him to say, ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ And finally by Wednesday, he blasted the message out to the world:

“As far as his recruitment, he had to honor both sides of what he is,” Lions Coach David McCloud said. “He’s a scholar and an athlete. He had to find a school that satisfied both of those.”

And McCloud knows a little something about recruiting Knapp. After his sophomore season, Knapp debated transferring from Jewish Day to Bullis to play on a bigger stage and get more recruiting attention. He hadn’t started drawing interest from colleges yet, with JDS or on the AAU circuit.

So Knapp and his parents met with McCloud in his office at the Rockville school to talk over his high school options and what his college basketball future might look like.

Maybe it’s best if you stay here, McCloud told him. You could get more attention at Jewish Day, a school not exactly known for breeding world-beating athletes, as a big fish in a small pond.

“He had questions written down that were thorough and thought out and luckily I answered them well enough for him to stay,” McCloud said. “That was a big moment for us at Jewish Day.”

Behind Knapp’s 21 points per game last season, the Lions were runners-up in the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference tournament, and college interest started coming. By September, Knapp had his offer from Cornell.

Three weeks later, he was Jewish Day’s latest export.

“Cornell felt right,” he said.


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Check back to later for area-by-area rewinds from a wild football weekend along with the latest Top 20 rankings.