Going, Going, Gone. No, I’m not speaking about the baseball season, which just ended. Although, for some high school basketball coaches, it might feel like their basketball season already has. No, this is the sound of high school sneakers all across the country changing schools. Living in Northern New Jersey, I have the privilege of witnessing perhaps the top players and teams in the whole United States. Legendary programs like Saint Anthony High School, coached by Hall of Famer Bob Hurley Sr., and the Patrick School ( Formerly Saint Patrick High School), which has produced NBA players such as All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, and Charlotte Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, are roughly 20 minutes away from one another. Roselle Catholic High School, presumably the new kid on the block, has won the last 2 of 3 Tournament of champions title (Overall State Championship).
So in a span of 15 miles, 3 of the top high school basketball teams in New Jersey and the country are situated. This has public school coaches crying FOUL! All the way until the mid 1990’s the majority of public school kids played for their hometown team. Not anymore, Here are a few examples of teenagers transferring in and out of the state of New Jersey so the reader can get a feel of the epidemic. In a span of a couple months this past summer, the #2 ranked player rated by rivals.com in the class of 2017, Trevon Duval transferred out of Saint Benedict Prep (Newark, NJ) and headed all the way to Dallas, Texas (Advanced Preparatory International. Nate Pierre-Louis, a 6’3″ point guard, who was Duval’s teammate transferred to Roselle Catholic. Roselle Catholic’s starting point guard his first 2 years, Asante Gist transferred out mid-way during last season to Marist High School (Bayonne, NJ). A few months later and he is now at Saint Anthony. Andre Rafus, a 6’7″ small forward who is ranked #67 by rivals.com for the class of 2017 transferred in from Baltimore, Maryland.
The list goes on and on, not for just the schools I have mentioned, but everywhere. In New Jersey, the rule is any player that transfers to another school who doesn’t live in the town where he will end up must sit 30 days, beginning the first official day of practice. There in line lies a problem. Some sit, some don’t. Grandparents, aunt’s, uncles, relatives addresses are used to maneuver around the issue. To my knowledge, none of these catholic schools around the country are doing anything illegal in ways of getting players to their respective high schools. That is the benefit of being at a catholic school. You get to pick and choose as well as recruit kids when they are in middle school.
So the question is, is it for athletic advantage, trying to seek that all elusive Division 1 scholarship? Or is it for a better education? Or maybe it is both. While I have been speaking particularly about the state of New Jersey, it truly is a nation wide epidemic. So what is the answer? Maybe it is, maybe it’s both, maybe it is who really knows.
UPDATE: This article was previously published in November, 2015 and the first article we ever published.