Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
Jake Warren didn’t get discouraged with the recruiting process.
Heading into this spring without a college home, the 6-10 Class of 2023 forward still felt like everything would work out for him.
A former Downingtown West standout who played at Calvary Christian (Fla.) this past school year, Warren knew he had two live periods with Philly Pride to showcase himself one last time and catch someone’s eye — and he did.
Warren announced his commitment to Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday, a few weeks impressing the Knights staff during the final spring live period.
Philly Pride forward Jake Warren, who started his high school career at Downingtown West announced his commitment to Fairleigh Dickinson this week. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
“It was a little stressful, but I was always pretty confident that God was gonna figure out things for me, and I was gonna find my path,” Warren said. “Obviously, it's gonna be an anxious process anytime you're playing high level basketball like that and you're trying to get recruited, but I would say my overall experience was pretty calm.
“I was pretty confident going out in those two live periods and executing and trying to play well and win. I think we did a good job of that and I think that definitely helped me get recruited.”
Warren relocated to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. with his mom to play at Calvary Christian this past school year, hoping to increase his exposure and improve his game. Throughout April, he traveled back-and-forth to the Philadelphia-area for multiple weekends to play with Pride and sneak in some college visits.
He received an offer from the Naval Academy in March and had a few other schools poking around in April. The Fairleigh Dickinson staff didn’t begin recruiting him until one of their assistants watched him during a stretch of good games at the UAA Session II in Rock Hill, S.C. during the final April live period.
After talking with recently appointed head coach Jack Castleberry, Warren received an offer on May 8. He was on campus day or two later and the writing was on the wall.
“After that, I was pretty sold,” Warren said. “To have the opportunity to play D1 basketball and obviously with the program that’s been pretty consistent over the last six, seven years making good runs, I was definitely really excited when I got that opportunity.
“The whole process was pretty quick,” he added.
Fairleigh Dickinson won the Northeast Conference Tournament Tournament this past season to reach the NCAA Tournament for the third time since 2016. The Knights won an NCAA Tournament play-in game and then took down No. 1 seed Purdue as a No. 16 seed in the first round.
Castleberry was an assistant last season before taking the head coaching job when Tobin Anderson left for Iona.
“Coach Castleberry is obviously great,” Warren said. “He was on staff last year under Coach Anderson, so he definitely understands what the culture is there and how to kind of maintain that and keep things rolling off how the success they've had over the last few years.
“Not just coach Castleberry but the assistants are great to coach (Mike) Holloway Jr., coach (Josh) Hayes. They all know their stuff. They're all great basketball guys, and they definitely understand what it takes to win basketball games.”
Warren will be the biggest player on the roster when he arrives on campus in July — no one else is currently listed taller than 6-6 — so he should have a chance to compete for minutes right away if he can acclimate himself to the college game.
He said his motor is one thing he will focus on as well as making sure he is in shape to keep up with the fast pace FDU will play at. The Knights coaching staff is excited about what he can bring to the table.
“They definitely want to work through the big man,” Warren said. “They are very run and gun. They get up and down, so they like to see their big men run and be able to be in optimum situations and kind of space the floor. That’s definitely how they killed it last year. That’s how they got Purdue out and spaced the floor. You go five-out basketball where they just attack from all positions and I think that they can see me playing in that role, especially from the 4 or the 5.”