We are in the midst of basketball paradigm shift. There has been fundamental changes in the approaches to and underlying assumptions of elite scholastic basketball. Most significantly, grassroots/AAU basketball has superseded high school hoops in importance. Scholarships are earned in the summer. High school merely provides college coaches an opportunity to follow-up with the kids they have seen on the grassroots/AAU circuit in the summer.
At the very highest level of competition, the prep school or academy model has gained a foothold. Increasingly, the very best players leave home to train and play with other elite players on a daily basis. Going into this season, the top 5 high school teams in the nation are all prep/academy squads. Oak Hill Academy (VA), Montverde Academy (FL), Huntington Prep (WV), Findlay Prep (NV) and Chaminade Prep (MO) are the consensus top programs this year.
Some kids from the Greater Philadelphia region have decided to seek higher levels of competition and go this route. Sedee Keita is at Putnam Science Academy (CT), David Beatty is St. Benedict’s Prep (NJ) and Horace Spencer graduated from Findlay Prep last year. About a month ago, Trevon Duval decided to transfer to Advanced Prep International (TX).
Now, imagine you were an elite scholastic player presented with a similar opportunity. Let’s say you were named the State Class AA Player of the Year as a junior. Let’s say you led a school that had never won a postseason basketball game in 51 seasons, to six playoff wins in a three-week span. Let’s say you pumped in 21 points to lead your team to a state championship. Let’s say you were named 1st team All-State.
Conwell-Egan Pennsylvania Class AA State Champions, 2015
Suppose your grades and academic standing were beyond reproach? Suppose you already committed to a winning Division 1 college program?
If you were presented with an opportunity to train and practice every day against, arguably, the top player at your position on a daily basis, what would you do? What if two of your other potential teammates were top 10 players in their respective classes?
Would you take advantage of this opportunity to hone your skills and enter college ready to compete right away?
Stevie Jordan, Advanced Prep International
Conwell-Egan’s Stevie Jordan faced this situation…
This is Jordan’s statement regarding his choice:
First of all I want to thank God as well as of those that contributed to my success over the past three years at Conwell-Egan Catholic High School. From family, friends, coaches, teammates, teachers, staff, press and those that I have met along the way, I am thankful for the impact you have made in my life. I am grateful for my teammates and the opportunity to play with each and every one of you. Together, we made history as State Champions. I have been working and training for a chance to play consistently with and versus the best players in the country.
I have always appreciated the challenges in life, knowing that would make me the best possible. My family and coaches have trained me to seek and embrace these challenges. Therefore the only decision consistent with my goals is to attend Advance Prep international (API). My heart is heavy for leaving, but my mind is strong. The choice to leave CEC was not an easy one. Nonetheless, it is my hope, that you understand my decision and continue to support me in my endeavors. I look forward to the 2016-2017 school year where I have committed to Rider University and seeing you in the stands cheering the team on as we make headway on the collegiate level.
All the best
Stevie Jordan, II
Special thanks to my Coach Frank Sciolla not only a great Coach but awesome mentor-appreciate you Coach SKI thanks for believing in me and “twatching”, the entire coaching staff, Janet Dollard-(CEC President), Bill Burns (Coach), Marion Manns (School Principal) and Alumni. Cant forget my Bro, Lapri- Thank you for being alongside of me for this bumpy but historical and memorable road. I love you Bro – Keep Grinding!!
Youngfella… The Black Cager wishes you the very best this year and we look forward to seeing you lace ‘em up at Rider University next year.