Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What Is happening With HS Basketball?

I really was not planning to write anything else until the huge travel team event at Fordham University this weekend. But after reading the Adam Z blog about a new prep school and the coach of American Christian going to another school I have to comment.

Trust me I cut my computer off three times because I really was ready to be neutral about this. But after the third time I had to comment. So here is what I think about what is happening.

Someone is starting a prep program at a school that operates out of the Robert Treat Hotel? Are you kidding me? I have been to the Robert Treat in the past for everything from boxing matches to dances, but never in 100 years would I expect to see a new prep school there with a national type basketball team. Where will the classrooms be? What about the cafeteria for nutritional purposes? how about the gym? That's right, they will be playing at the Newark YMCA! Great facility I am sure. And please no comparisons with St. Anthony's or Rice not having their own gym for games. Those teams have access to wonderful facilities based on tradition and history.

Who are the parents that would send a kid all the way from Colts Neck to a hotel in Newark for a 5th year of HS? Who are these kids going to that school? Is this just about basketball? It seems to me that these type of set-ups make a place like Redemption Christian Academy in Troy NY look like Blair Academy in Blairstown NJ. And if you have seen Redemption and Blair you would better understand the comparisons. As a trained educator I would love to visit and see what they will be doing.

Speaking of Blair Academy, what is the deal with Blair Christian Academy? Why would Tony B take kids in need of solid academics to a one building place in Philly that no one has heard of? Why would he go with all of his contacts and connections? And even if he does go is he doing a disservice to the kids he is dragging along? Are they coming to help themselves or to help him? I looked the school up and they have a nice mission. Seems like 2 nice ladies started the school as a head start center some years ago and it has grown into a school with kids in grades 1-PG.

These type of schools might just work. But they have always scared me. Kids tend to flock to those programs because they feel it will get them D1 scholarships and additional exposure. Hopefully this will happen, but for a parent to take a kid out of Rice HS, or any other school for Blair Christian is very interesting. Just as it is interesting that a kid would do a PG year at the school in the Robert Treat Hotel.

Maybe I am being a bit too hard and if I am I apologize. But sooner or later folks will realize that it is about more than basketball. And even if it is about basketball and a kid thinks he needs an additional year. Why not go to work and work on your game in the evening while playing in a local adult league. After all, playing games at the Newark YMCA is not that much different atmosphere wise.

Lastly when I think of Prep School I think about the greenery of New England with rolling hills and great facilities. I also think of serious students who are searching for knowledge and seeking to develop social skills. I think of schools like Blair Academy, Hotchkiss, Miss Porter, Berkshire, Choate, Lawrenceville, Hun, Trinity Pawling, The Hill School, etc. The spelling might be wrong but everyone knows the schools I am referring to. Even St. Benedicts has a campus type feel and could be in this category. Now it seems like these prep schools are popping up everywhere despite the NCAA watching closer than ever and not certifying many kids from similar type operations.

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