After putting together a terrific offseason on the AAU circuit, there was a fast and furious recruiting barrage that hit Conant’s Jimmy Sotos.
Sotos went from a couple of scholarship offers in the spring to an endless list that reached 20-plus offers by the end of July.
Sotos, who received heavy interest and offers from several Missouri Valley Conference schools, including Northern Iowa, Illinois State, Drake and Loyola, raised his stock as much as anyone in the senior class over the past six months. The 6-3 guard is now among the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top dozen prospects in the senior class in Illinois.
After numerous official and unofficial visits in August and September, Sotos trimmed his list to a group of schools that would provide him a chance to combine both basketball and high academics. He instantly became a priority and must-get recruit for schools in the Ivy League and Patriot League.
On Monday, Sotos made his decision and committed to Bucknell, choosing the Patriot League school over his other finalists, Dartmouth and Princeton.
Sotos stated Bucknell was the one school that “checked off all the boxes” for him –– from the academics to the basketball program’s success to the relationship he established with the coaching staff.
“There is the academic excellence the school is known for,” said Sotos of the highly-regarded liberal arts college located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. “The basketball program has thrived in the Patriot League and has made the NCAA Tournament. There was a connection with the coaching staff that I developed, and there is an opportunity for me to play right away there as a freshman.”
Bucknell, which has made four trips to the NCAA Tournament since 2005 and played in the NIT last season, secured a commitment from a potential Patriot League difference-maker. Sotos recently had a couple of high-major programs poking around and showing interest.
As a junior last season, Sotos averaged 16 points and 4.5 assists a game while leading Conant to a sectional championship and 23 wins.
Sotos, with his size, outstanding perimeter shooting and basketball smarts, is capable of playing both guard spots at the next level. Bucknell, which graduated two senior guards this past season, plays a style and system which Sotos is excited about
“Their offense is a NBA-style, ball-screen offense that fits me perfectly,” says Sotos. “If I can go out and earn the right, the staff has told me there is a great opportunity for me to play there from day one.”
Sotos will lead a Conant team that is expected to be the best in the Mid-Suburban League and one that could very well be a fixture in the Top 25 this season. Now, with his college choice in the rearview mirror, Sotos is anxious to get on with his senior season.
“I was humbled by the whole recruiting process and felt very fortunate with all the opportunities,” says Sotos. “But the focus now is on making a state run this season with this team. As we get together for workouts before schools and on Sundays, we all have one mindset, and that’s to get to Peoria.”