James Don Switches Commitment from Army West Point to Arizona State for 2021

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High school senior James Don, who originally announced his verbal pledge to Army West Point last summer, has made a change of commitment and will attend Arizona State University next fall.

“After further consideration, I am extremely excited to announce my commitment to Arizona State University. I would like to thank @coach_bowman and the ASU coaching staff for this amazing opportunity. I would also like to thank my coaches, family, and friends who have supported me through my career. FORKS UP!🔱”

Don will graduate this spring from Northern Valley Demarest Regional High School in Demarest, New Jersey. He does his club swimming with Scarlet Aquatics and specializes in distance free and IM. As a junior, he won the 200 IM (1:53.76) and 500 free (4:35.09) at the Bergen County Meet of Champions and notched PBs in the 500/1000/1650 free and 100/200 breast at the 2019 EEX Holiday Classic. He won all three distance free events and came in 9th in the 200 free, 17th in the 100 breast, and 8th in the 200 breast. In January 2020, he swam at PSS Knoxville and clocked a PB of 1:57.43 in the 200m free. The rest of his long course PBs come from New Jersey Junior Olympics in the summer of 2019, including 400 free (4:08.30), 800 free (8:26.43), 1500 free (16:06.48), and 200 breast (2:26.35).

Top SCY times:

  • 500 free – 4:30.53
  • 1000 free – 9:14.20
  • 1650 free – 15:29.97
  • 100 breast – 58.57
  • 200 breast – 2:05.61
  • 200 IM – 1:53.68
  • 400 IM – 4:03.06

Don will join the Sun Devils’ class of 2025 with Chris Harig, Christian Osterndorf, Dylan Gravley, Essias Smith, Ethan Hansen, Jackson Stallworth, Jeremy Graunke, Léon Marchand, and Patrick Sammon.

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].

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Will Cann
1 year ago

Sometimes people realize that they just don’t want an academy experience. I think you really need to want it for the right reasons and not to fulfill someone else’s dream or to avoid student debt. Choosing a college is often the most difficult decision an adolescent has to make up
To that point in his or her life. Let’s be happy for him and wish him well at ASU.

Xman
1 year ago

Kids – make sure you get into the school before you commit.

In fact maybe hold off until mom and dad send the tuition check (or whatever is applicable).

If he did get in it’s rough because that spot isn’t filled, it’s just empty. Also the people who provides his endorsements can’t provide them for 4 years.

Andy
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

They do have “waiting” lists where they go to the prep schools that feed the service academies. They most likely grab one from there.

Joe
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

And that why they just call it a “verbal commitment” and a full commitment

Reed
1 year ago

Interesting to see how 2 army commits changed. Possibly the way coach handles things after commitment. Haven’t heard positive things about the new head coach at West Point.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Reed
1 year ago

Dude, if you’re turned off by how a swim coach handles things from afar enough to forego a premiere education, you’re not going to fair well when a drill sergeant gets in your face. Sounds like West Point dodged a bullet on these two.

swimgeek
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

The “dodged a bullet” comment is grossly unfair unless you know exactly why the decommit happened (and even then, let’s have a little grace with 17-yr-olds).
I had a friend who had to pull out of the Academy application process b/c he found out a broken foot at age 14 hadn’t healed perfectly — and although it didn’t impact his daily life at all, it disqualified him medically.

Coach
Reply to  Reed
1 year ago

I agree that you do not go to West Point for the coach or the “coaching”. However, there is merit to the statement above. Communication, directness and transparency are a problem with West Point recruiting.

SWIMGUY12345
1 year ago

Yeah didn’t another recruit switch from one of the academies to UNC Wilmington?

No hate at all, but these are some the most bizarre de-commitments I can imagine. The service academies are extremely unique, so I’d love to hear their mindsets of what made them switch.

Huh
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
1 year ago

Didn’t get accepted due to medical reasons or academic reasons most likely.

swimgeek
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
1 year ago

There are a lot of reasons for the service academies to not work out (like a random medical issue you don’t know even know about).

Guy
1 year ago

Congratulations, James! I don’t blame you for choosing a better quality education. Arizona State is the #1 ranked school for innovation and will prepare you well for your future goals.

Louis
Reply to  Guy
1 year ago

ASU is not even close to West Point in terms of education. If he wants to party, then that’s a different conversation

Jeff
Reply to  Louis
1 year ago

@Louis West Point is not the gold standard of education. Their focus is on developing Army officers moreso than great engineers. If you don’t pursue a difficult STEM major, any university is party, party.

Innovator
Reply to  Guy
1 year ago

This is sarcasm right?

HJones
Reply to  Guy
1 year ago

The only place ASU provides a better quality education than is clown college. It’s certainly not better than one of the most prestigious colleges in the world.

CLowe - USAFA '88
Reply to  Guy
1 year ago

I’m assuming you’re joking right? If not, you know nothing about a Service Academy education.

Jamie Uptgraft
Reply to  Guy
1 year ago

Hahahahaha.

Jeff
Reply to  Guy
1 year ago

True if you’re talking the ASU College of Engineering and Computer Sciences. There’s no doubt that ASU’s Comp Sci program is one of the top in the nation. Can’t say that for their Business and Liberal Arts colleges. That’s party central over there.

Gg133
1 year ago

ASU is a 180 from army

thezwimmer
1 year ago

Second recruit to de-commit from Army in a short time period. Never seen that before and now its happened twice.

Last edited 1 year ago by thezwimmer
Swim85
Reply to  thezwimmer
1 year ago

Maybe these guys didn’t get into the school?

Azswummer
Reply to  Swim85
1 year ago

Like the Ivies, committing is not a guarantee of acceptance. Just means you really want to go there.

DMSWIM
Reply to  Swim85
1 year ago

I had a friend commit to a service academy for swimming only to find out he was colorblind and could not attend. Things happen.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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