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Beaver Falls star Jeter picks Vanderbilt

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Beaver Falls' Sheldon Jeter steals the ball from Quaker Valley's R.J. West to put the Tigers ahead for good during the fourth quarter of their PIAA Class AA semifinal Wednesday March 21, 2012 at Ambridge High School.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Beaver Falls' Sheldon Jeter steals the ball from Quaker Valley's R.J. West to put the Tigers ahead for good during the fourth quarter of their PIAA Class AA semifinal Wednesday March 21, 2012 at Ambridge High School.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Beaver Falls' Sheldon Jeter takes a shot against New Brighton Tuesday January 3, 2012 at Beaver Falls.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Beaver Falls' Sheldon Jeter takes a shot against New Brighton Tuesday January 3, 2012 at Beaver Falls.

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When Sheldon Jeter took his official visit to Vanderbilt last week, coaches presented a cake to the Beaver Falls basketball star that read, “Winning the SEC will be sweeter with my main man.”

Getting his signature will be the icing on the cake for the Commodores.

Jeter made a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt on Thursday, choosing the Commodores over Penn State and Wisconsin. The standout from the Class of 2012 also had scholarship offers from Florida State, Kansas State, Seton Hall and South Carolina.

“I looked at the pros and cons, and it all added up to (Vanderbilt),” Jeter said. “I thought it'd be the perfect fit as far as playing style. It's up-tempo. They want to run. I like that.”

Jeter, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound swingman, averaged 21.8 points and 12 rebounds as a senior to lead the Tigers to the WPIAL Class AA title and PIAA final, where they lost to Imhotep Charter. A first-team all-state selection and two-time Tribune-Review Terrific 10 pick, he finished with 1,489 career points.

Jeter became interested in the SEC when he was recruited by South Carolina, and Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega said Jeter was close to committing before coach Darrin Horn was fired. Vanderbilt was involved with Jeter early, but he needed to improve his grades to gain admission.

He made honor roll every semester as a senior, and the Commodores resumed recruiting Jeter when shooting guard John Jenkins declared for the NBA Draft.

The Commodores beat national champion Kentucky in the SEC Tournament final and won once in the NCAA Tournament.

Biega believes Jeter's best basketball is ahead of him.

“I'm happy for him,” Biega said. “He took his time, took in every variable he could possibly consider and made a mature decision. I tell people all the time, ‘This Sheldon Jeter we're looking at now is the worst version we'll see.' Let's just say that if basketball doesn't work out, he'll have a degree from there. You can't go wrong.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.

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