Yale hoops player gives up Ivy League title shot to pursue his "first love"

Brandon Sherrod

Next season, the Yale basketball team is expected to challenge Harvard at the top of the Ivy League.

The Bulldogs could even make a dent in the NCAA tournament, something they haven't done since 1962. But as Michelle Miller reported, one Yale student is giving up that opportunity to sing.

Political science major Brandon Sherrod is finishing up his junior year as a forward on the basketball team at Yale University. But Sherrod isn't your average jock. He's giving it all up to join the Whiffenpoofs, Yale's all-male a cappella group.

He'll have to put off class and the court for a year, because he'll be traveling around the world singing.

Sherrod said it's about "being in tune with one another, 14 guys but at end of day, one voice."

Sherrod is used to being part of a team, but this Yale junior will be trading in his basketball jersey for a different kind of uniform -- the Whiffenpoof white tie.

In February, Sherrod was selected to join the group. It is the oldest collegiate a cappella club in the country.

Along with 13 other rising seniors, he'll take a year off school and basketball to travel the world singing with the Bulldogs' institution.

The 6-foot-5-inch forward -- who averaged 21 minutes a game -- will be leaving the team during a season with high expectations.

Sherrod said, "A lot of people have us slated to be the favorites or a contender for a top spot in the Ivy League championship, and possibly a trip to the NCAA Tournament."

But for the Connecticut native -- who has never traveled outside of the country -- it's an opportunity to explore his other talent on the world stage.

"A lot of people coming in playing Division I Basketball sometimes get caught up in the fact that basketball is their life, and I didn't want to be one of those people," he said. "I have many passions, music is one of them. It's probably my first love before basketball."

He hasn't had any formal training, but grew up singing in his church choir with his sister. He will likely be the first in his family to graduate college.

Sherrod said, "To play basketball and pursue music something -- in my wildest dreams, I never thought I'd be able to do this."

Though he admits he'll miss the court, Sherrod is looking forward to a new type of challenge, with a very different kind of warmup next year.

Sherrod plans to return to school and basketball in 2015. His coach said he will be welcomed back to the squad with open arms.

As for the future, he's thinking the NBA or possibly a band. But after sitting down with him, Miller said, "We wouldn't be surprised to see him do both."