BELOIT—Jaden Bell was looking for an option close to home with an up-and-coming program.
Enter Rockford University, and a perfect match.
The Beloit Memorial senior announced his intention to play for the Regents on Thursday after an extensive search.
“I talked to a lot of schools throughout the process,” Bell said. “And Rockford made me feel like family way before I ever committed. When they would text me, it would always be about my family and things like that, never about basketball. I appreciated that.”
And the Regents will no doubt appreciate the skills of Bell, who led the Purple Knights in scoring at 10.8 points per game and earned first-team All-Area honors from the Beloit Daily News.
Bell had a number of different roles while playing for the Knights, but would prefer to play point guard at the next level.
“I think that’s where I’m best suited to play,” Bell said. “I can use my basketball IQ and the fact that I can see plays that some other people don’t see at that spot. I feel like Rockford is a team on the rise, and hopefully I can come in there and be a part of putting them over the top.”
The Regents finished last season with an 11-14 record with several close losses on the ledger. Bell is the second local player to commit to Rockford, joining Beloit Turner’s Jackson Carter.
Bell, who played for his father Dondre the past two seasons, said he’ll carry with him fond memories from his days as a Knight despite the team’s record not being stellar.
“I’ll definitely look back at all the memories I made with my friends,” Bell said. “The bus rides, the practices. I know that we didn’t have the greatest record the last two years, but we had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun.”
Bell improved significantly from his junior to his senior season.
“I just remember last year seeing how the seniors reacted after losing the first game in the playoffs,” Bell said. “I didn’t want that to happen to me without a fight. So last summer, I was in the gym once or twice per day, and I was running all the time. That really helped me make the jump that I did.”
Bell said he’ll need to make another jump to succeed in college. With basketball activity restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t been easy.
“It’s definitely disappointing that I haven’t been able to do much since the season ended,” Bell said. “But ever since quarantine started, I’ve been running every day and been doing a lot of work with weights. Me and Shelvin Garrett have been working out together and we’ve got a really strict schedule with what we’ve been doing. I’m looking forward to getting back on the court when all this is finished.”
Bell has some specific goals before the season begins in November.
“I definitely want to get quicker,” Bell said. “My shot is pretty decent, but there’s always room to improve. And I could get my handles a little tighter. Really, just working out overall to improve every aspect of my game.”