Jared Harrington explains his decision to join South Sudan’s Cobra Sport ahead of the start of the BAL season.
American Jared Harrington has made the switch from Cape Town Tigers to South Sudan’s Cobra Sport, announcing the move just days before the start of the Basketball Africa League [BAL].
The former Albany State University prodigy told ESPN that he was left in no doubt that Cobra was the right team for him when they offered him a lucrative deal when the Tigers’ BAL status was still uncertain. The Tigers eventually qualified when New Star had to forfeit their final qualifying game due to COVID-19.
Although he said his move was not motivated by any hard feelings towards the Tigers, Harrington said they had not yet offered to renew his contract, which expired after the BAL qualifiers, at the time he made his decision to leave. Cobra Sport had, by this time, already sealed their BAL spot.
He said: “It was a personal decision for me. I didn’t want to be in the air — trying to figure out whether they [Cape Town] were going to qualify or not.
“My contract [with the Tigers] was ending when the qualifiers ended. I was signed to help them qualify. Just like every other team that was in the qualifiers, new contracts would have to be negotiated when they figured out the situation with the BAL.”
Harrington, a 24-year-old guard from Upper Marlboro, began his professional career in Mongolia in 2020. Subsequently, he helped the Cape Town Tigers through their successful qualifying campaign, playing a portion of it alongside Nigeria international point guard Ben Uzoh, who had a brief stint with the Tigers in 2021.
Harrington said he did have offers from elsewhere, but ultimately chose Cobra because of their financial incentives, as well as the NBA’s involvement in the BAL.
He added: “Cobra Sport came with the opportunity. I just felt like it was the best move for me to be able to showcase my skills… Financial reasons [played a part] as well. They gave me a great deal, and financially, for me and my family, it would just make the most sense.
“Other than Cobra, I had a few offers to go to Europe. I had one offer to go to Iceland and another offer to go to Bosnia. I had one more. I really can’t even remember the country, to be honest.
“At the end of the day, I feel like Cobra is going to be the best fit for me. From an exposure standpoint, I definitely wanted to compete in the BAL still. The games are going to be on NBA TV as well.
“For Cobra, this is going to be their first time competing in the BAL as well, so this is a good time for me to come in and make my mark.”
Cobra Sport are in the Nile Conference together with the Cape Town Tigers, as well as defending champions Zamalek, Petro de Luanda, FAP and Espoir Fukash.
Their round-robin fixtures will be played in April in Cairo. The top four teams in the conference will qualify for May’s playoffs in Kigali.