Private high schools have been pulling top athletic talent for years. Often luring under privileged students to play sports for their schools. Boarding schools do this on the regular for basketball in particular. An example of this is Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Oak Hill has had 22 players make it to the NBA overall including some pretty famous names: Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Jennings, and Josh Smith. What Oak Hill does is considered old school now. There is a relatively new phenomena in high school education and athletics popping up all over the country….
What do Huntington Prep (West Virginia), Findlay Prep (Nevada), and La Jolla Prep (California) all have in common? For one they ALL have top level basketball talent, players with Division I and NBA talent written all over them. But probably most shocking is that these three organizations don’t have any teachers. In fact, they are not “real” college prep high schools. They aren’t purposefully deceiving anyone, if you go to their websites there is no doubt what they are prepping young men to do. These independent basketball organizations are completely changing the landscape of high school basketball and college recruiting.
In a recent Washington Post article, writer Josh Barr goes into detail about the establishment of Huntington Prep in particular. We’ll summarize. Huntington Prep players attend a private Catholic High School for their education, and play for a group of coaches NOT affiliated with the Catholic High School they attend. In fact the school that Huntington Prep’s players attend has it’s own basketball team (which none of the guys play for). The benefit being portrayed is that academics are held completely separate from basketball. Teachers are not influenced to give an athlete a passing grade, and basketball coaches are free to concentrate on preparing the players for the NCAA and eventually the NBA.
The strange nuance to this whole arrangement is that Huntington Prep (as an organization) pays for the players education, room, and board. Many of these basketball prep organizations are filing paperwork as non-profits. Guess what? In the case of Findlay Prep in particular…the NCAA has given the green light to this.
So how does this effect Gator basketball? Well coach Billy Donovan is heavily recruiting Findlay Prep’s Anthony Bennett. Bennett is a 6 foot 8 inch big man, which is in high demand for a Gators Squad that lacks size and toughness.
Bourbon Meyer readers, how do you feel about this type of arrangement? And what if it starts expanding to football (besides off season 7 on 7 camps and teams)?