Posted On: 02/12/20 12:50 AM
You certainly can’t accuse Jett Sheng of following the crowd. Sure, like all seniors the shifty 5-foot-11, 140-pound point guard from Catlin Gabel was looking forward at continuing his career at the college level. Sheng looked into a number of schools mainly up and down the West Coast and made plenty of connections with college coaches. But during the recruiting process, there was a different avenue that really struck his interest – and it’s one he’s decided to take in the next step of his playing career.
On senior night at Catlin Gabel on Tuesday, Sheng announced that he will be playing his college basketball in Mexico at Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior – best known as CETYS.
“Little different path than a lot of people take,” Sheng said. “I’ve always seen myself going in to a career or living abroad in a Spanish speaking country. As I met with universities and discussed the majors and network they would be able to assist me with if I was a student-athlete there, I realized the schools I was being recruited by, did not have many connections to business in Latin countries. Because of this I went online to look for US schools that had alumni and strong business ties in Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and so on. In doing so I came across CETYS.”
Sheng has visited the campus and when he was there, immediately felt comfortable. “I attended some classes, met some students and professors along with playing in an open gym, attending a practice and a game,” Sheng continued. “The class sizes are small similar to Catlin and they’re all taught in Spanish which for me is like being back in middle school. Mexicali is a small city and right on the border. So to me I kind of get the best of both worlds, I can cross over to the US in 15 minutes to see things I may be more comfortable with or I can travel around and experience an entirely different country and culture.”
“They have amazing tacos and believe it or not, the city is also known for their Chinese food,” Sheng continued. “So I instantly knew this would be a good place for me.”
Sheng is fluent in Spanish, having attended Spanish Immersion at Cesar Chavez Elementary through middle school at Beaumont. While there’s no question the school, locale, and what they offered him as an academic institution were paramount, the opportunities and connections he had on the basketball floor were also important to him in his decision.
“My future teammates and coaches were also a big reason I decided on Cetys,” Sheng said. “Cetys plays a really fast pace of basketball. Lots of pressing, trapping, making the extra pass and shooting threes. This also had a big part in my decision because it really plays well to my strengths on the court.”
“Out of all the schools I visited they made me feel the most comfortable,” Sheng continued. “We talked while I was on campus and have stayed in touch since. I’m really looking forward to playing for and with them next year.”
Of note is the fact that CETYS is working on possibly joining NCAA Division II or the NAIA. It’s something Sheng notes didn’t factor into his choice but indicated that he’d be lying if he didn’t say he would look forward to that transition. In either case, Sheng hopes to continue building strength for what waits him at CETYS – there are six years of eligibility in Mexico so he’ll be coming in and competing immediately against grown men.
On that note, Sheng is hoping to finish the season out strong as while the Eagles didn’t have the kind of team success he would have hoped for, Sheng did perform well individually, averaging 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists while surpassing the 1000 career point total in high school.
“This year I set some personal goals and it’s bittersweet to say I’ve accomplished most of those based on our teams record but they are things to be proud of,” Sheng said. “I wish I could have some of those games we lost back but other than that, I really don’t have anything to complain about.”
“I’m graduating from one of the top academic high schools in the country and I’m going to college on a basketball scholarship,” Sheng continued. “I’ve been blessed to play with several of the top players and coaches in the NW the past few years and when I get to college, I’ll be sure to represent for Oregon.”