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Newton's J.D. Notae signs to Jacksonville University
Newton Rams guard J.D. Notae signs his letter of intent to Jacksonville University as his mother Staci looks on. - photo by Gabriel Stovall | The Covington News

When J.D. Notae made his decision to choose to sign with Jacksonville University two weeks ago, he called it a burden lifted off of his shoulders. 

The recruiting process, while looking fun on the outside with all of the attention and notoriety, can actually be pretty tedious. So on Thursday when Notae signed his official letter of intent to play at Jacksonville, he called it a relief.

“Yeah, it’s a little bit stressful going through the recruiting process,” Notae said. “Every coach wanting me to sign with their team. It’s real stressful, like, thinking which one are you going to pick. Of course I’m glad it’s over. I think I’ll be able to focus more on the game than worrying about recruiting.”

Notae definitely played like his load was lighter during Newton’s Wednesday night scrimmage against McEachern. The 6-foot-3 senior drained four first quarter three pointers to help launch the Rams to an 82-66 win over a fairly highly regarded McEachern squad. And if not for over 20 missed free throws, Newton could’ve won by much more. 

Notae’s performance through it all only helped confirm for Newton coach Rick Rasmussen how special Notae is as a player, and how much potential value he could add to Jacksonville. 

“He was incredible (Wednesday night),” Rasmussen said. “He blew the game open for us. Those four three-pointers he hit, and we were up by 10 within three minutes of the game. J.D.’s doing the right thing committing now. He’s got a great situation. Why wait and risk injury and end up getting nothing? Why not just go ahead find a home and be happy?”

Rasmussen said that Notae’s early signing doesn’t equate to a stoppage in the relationship building taking place between Notae and his new school, though.

“They’ll keep up with him through the year,” he said. “He’ll visit them, they’ll visit him. I mean, it’s just a great place. Private school with small classes, so you can’t hide academically. They’ll help you and help you grow. And plus, it’s just a great basketball school.” 

Notae said he chose Jacksonville, an Atlantic Sun Conference school, over Kennesaw State and North Carolina A&T, primarily because of how natural the fit into Jacksonville’s program felt. 

“The relationship with the coaches, and the way they made me feel on the visit, it was real nice,” Notae said. “And the spot is a real cool spot down there. The environment is good. I really like it.” 

He also likes the fact that securing a college scholarship has made his mother, Staci smile.

“It feels good knowing that I’ll be playing basketball at the next level,” Notae said. “It also feels good making my mom proud. That’s one of the most important things for me.”