“A lot of varsity programs were pursuing me, like a lot of my peers and friends,” said Saddiq Bey, who played for D.C. Premier, a top travel program in the area.
Sidwell, exclusive and expensive, was not even “on the radar” initially, Drewana Bey said. But during her son’s freshman year at DeMatha, when Williams, the current Penn freshman, was playing for Sidwell, Williams’s father, a family friend, suggested that the Beys take a look at Sidwell and that Singletary, the coach, take a look at Saddiq.
“It was like a word-of-mouth kind of thing,” Singletary said.
Bey hit it off with the admissions officer with whom he interviewed. Singletary wanted him. Bey swallowed the daily commute from Largo, Md., which can exceed two hours for a round trip, and the Beys, aided by a partial, need-based scholarship, swallowed the tuition.
“I have a doctorate, but there’s no way I would have been able to afford to send Saddiq to Sidwell if we didn’t get financial aid,” Drewana Bey said.
Last year, he had an incredible spring season with D.C. Premier, which is sponsored by the apparel giant Under Armour. The offers spilled in. Xavier. Florida. Connecticut. Miami. Drewana Bey recalled getting a text that read, “ND just offered Saddiq,” and thinking: What’s that? North Dakota? It was Notre Dame.
Bey settled on North Carolina State, drawn by the coaching staff and the support system. “It was things like, would I go there if I didn’t play basketball?” he said.
A Different Kind of Status
Jarvis’s Twitter biography contains a telling white lie. It lists his location as Shepherd Park, a Washington neighborhood along 16th Street, near his grandmother’s house. His grandmother, Charlene Drew Jarvis, is a prominent neuroscientist and former city councilwoman representing Shepherd Park’s ward. Her father, Charles R. Drew, was the pioneering African-American doctor who helped revolutionize blood transfusions.
Credit John Bazemore/Associated Press
The Jarvises, like the Beys, live in the Maryland suburbs. But Jarvis and his younger brother, Jake, attend private schools in Washington.
In short, E. J. Jarvis identifies as a Washingtonian. His favorite N.B.A. team is the Wizards. At Maret, he takes a class called Mapping Inequity in D.C.
Six-foot-eight and possibly still growing, he models himself after the retired San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan. “Quiet,” Jarvis said. “Got his rings. His mind-set — he was so calm during the game.”
Jarvis transferred to Maret after his freshman year from Landon, an all-boys private school in Bethesda, Md., a sports haven that has one of the country’s best boys’ lacrosse programs. He sought, he said, a more diverse student body and a smaller campus, trading Landon’s rolling suburban hills for Maret’s compact grounds in the shadow of the National Cathedral.
His family sought superior academics.
“When we made the decision to transfer to Maret, it was really predicated on the academic rigor,” his father, Ernie Jarvis, said, adding, “We have seen through the A.A.U. and high school circuit that you’re one Achilles away from having to pivot and make a career change.”
These schools prepare basketball players for college in another way: academically. Garza, the Maret graduate at Iowa, said the transition to college had gone much more smoothly because of how difficult high school had been.
E. J. Jarvis did not have to sacrifice much in the basketball arena. His coach, Chuck Driesell — the son of the beloved former University of Maryland coach Lefty — has experience as a Division I head coach, at The Citadel. And if Jarvis shines during what will hopefully be his first injury-free season of summer basketball, no college coach will miss it: He plays for Team Takeover, a Nike-sponsored team known as a factory of future stars.