A Yale basketball player is trading his days on the hard court for a chance to show off his windpipes in one of the nation’s most vaunted singing groups.
Brandon Sherrod, a 6-foot-5 junior from Bridgeport, Conn., announced Monday that he was planning to take a year off from basketball. Instead, he was planning on joining the Whiffenpoofs, the school’s famous a cappella group.
The commitment is a lofty one. The singing group travels the entire year, making pit stops in multiple countries.
Sherrod, in an interview with the Associated Press, said he has never traveled outside of the United States and he is excited because the group is scheduled to perform in every continent except Antarctica.
“This is supposed to be THE year, and you want to play with your guys,” he said. “But the Wiffenpoofs is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Some would say playing for a Division I college basketball team is the opportunity of a lifetime, but then again, not many can lay claim to earning a spot in Yale’s vaunted crew either.
The Wiffenpoofs - a name which sounds oddly like a bad Harry Potter joke - are traveling to 27 countries over 92 days this summer alone. Their stops include trips to Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Jerusalem.
And that’s before they take a break from June 26 to July 2.
Then the group goes through such notable places as Cape Town (South Africa), Delhi (India) and Sydney.
Sherrod played in 33 games last year for the Bulldogs, averaging 6.8 points per game on 42.8 percent shooting. He also contributed 8.3 rebounds per game and was slated to have an important role in a Yale squad which hopes to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1962.
The true story seems like it came straight from the script of a High School Musical set, the Disney movie about a young basketball star who chooses music in addition to hoops.
However, not even his own coach can fault him for his choice.
Yale, unlike many other Division I schools, does not offer athletic scholarships. Playing for a college basketball team is only part of the experience for a Bulldog player, especially since Yale was listed as the No. 3 university by the U.S. News rankings.
When Sherrod returns after his year of traveling and singing, he’ll still have one more year of eligibility left if he wants to take back his place on the court.