MARLBORO — There was a surprise voicemail waiting for Jack Seidler on his phone after the Marlboro High School boys basketball team won the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV state sectional tournament championship on March 7.
The message was left by UCLA Associate Head Coach Darren Savino, who informed Seidler he had seen film of the Marlboro standout, that he was impressed with Seidler’s play and that he wanted to offer him a preferred walk-on spot on Coach Mick Cronin’s UCLA squad for the 2022-23 season.
The offer from a coach at one of college basketball’s legendary programs was the icing on the cake for Seidler on the day he and his teammates made history by winning Marlboro’s first state sectional tournament championship.
After gaining acceptance into UCLA in April, Seidler visited the campus in Los Angeles and after weighing his options, decided to join the Bruins.
— Jackseidler (@jackseidler1) April 28, 2022
“It was the best decision basketball-wise and life-wise,” Seidler said in an interview this week. “I loved every bit of (his visit to UCLA). I got to meet a couple of the kids. They were all very nice guys and taught me some stuff. Feeling a part of a family played a big part in my decision before I committed.”
Seidler’s decision will further his dream of playing NCAA Division I basketball and pursuing a career. He plans to study sports management and aspires to become a sports agent. Being in Los Angeles will be a plus as he works toward that goal.
Several small Division I and Division II programs expressed interest in Seidler during the recruiting process. He said he was considering schools such as Stonehill College, Lafayette and Fairleigh Dickinson before accepting the offer to walk on at UCLA.
Playing at a university where highly rated individuals are recruited every year will present a challenge in terms of playing time, but Seidler said he is prepared to do anything he needs to do to live out his dream of playing college basketball.
“I’m going to work my butt off every day. I know it’s going to be tough. They have a lot of great players there. I’m just going to keep working hard and improving my game like I have been doing,” he said.
At Marlboro, Seidler averaged more than 18 points per game for his career and he finished his scholastic career with 1,503 points.
During the 2021-22 season, Seidler helped to lead the Mustangs to the program’s best season in the 50-year history of the school.
Marlboro (28-3) won its first Shore Conference Tournament championship, its first NJSIAA state sectional tournament title and reached its first Group IV state championship game.
Seidler averaged more than 20 points per game and added 185 rebounds and 48 assists. He scored 649 points during his senior season and enjoyed playing alongside his lifelong friends Zack Molod, Jay Ratner, Jonathan Spatola and Vincent Spatola.
Seidler said the starting five wanted to put Marlboro’s basketball program on the map. He said they were pleased to have accomplished that goal with their success during the 2021-22 season.
“It’s really awesome what we were able to accomplish. We wanted to make a name for ourselves, the school and the town of Marlboro. We built a foundation that a lot of kids can look up to and build on,” he said.
Seidler’s dream has been to experience the thrill of playing in the NCAA tournament and he is looking forward to having that opportunity with the Bruins.
“It’s going to be a surreal feeling,” he said.