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The prep school issue: Hoopsters continue to flood out of state

By: Scott Burnstein, August 27, 2018, 1:52 pm

This summer saw five of the best boys basketball players in the state depart for prep school. Another may be on the horizon.

Four-star shooting guard Harlond Beverly, fresh off leading his Southfield Christian squad to a Class D state title in March, left for Montverde Academy in Florida. Last month, Birmingham Detroit Country Day’s Wendell Green, made the move to La Lumiere Prep in Indiana. Just last week, Detroit Loyola’s Myron Gardner and Old Redford’s Isaiah Jackson and Aundre Polk transferred to Spire Academy in Ohio. Jackson (6-foot-9 forward) is a 5-star prospect and was the No. 1 player in the state’s incoming junior class. There are rumors that his and Polk’s Old Redford teammate, Mark (Rocket) Watts, the top point guard in the senior class, could be leaving for Spire soon.

Former Mt. Clemens head coach and University of Detroit-Mercy assistant coach Jermaine Jackson is the new coach at Spire, a half-hour’s drive east of Cleveland. He starred on the collegiate level himself in the backcourt at U-D Mercy in the late 1990s and played in the NBA in the 2000s.

Watts and 6-foot-8 New Haven swingman Romeo Weems are the current frontrunners for the 2019 Mr. Basketball award. Weems is committed to DePaul. He announced on Twitter in June that despite the rampant rumors of his taking the prep school route he was staying put in Michigan for his senior year. As a sophomore, Weems led New Haven to a state championship.

Polk is a 6-foot-9 center-power forward. The 6-foot-7 Gardner, the recent recipient of an offer from Georgetown, plays on the wing. Jackson has offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Arizona, Arkansas, UConn, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Marquette, Mississippi State, Pitt, Southern Miss, Syracuse, VCU and Xavier. Green is a spunky and skilled floor general heading into his junior year.

McDonald’s All-Americans and future NBA first-rounders Josh Jackson (Kanas/Phoenix Suns) and Miles Bridges (Michigan State/L.A. Clippers) of Southfield and Flint, respectively, tipped off this rash of prep school moves four years ago. Jackson left Detroit Consortium for Prolific Prep in California and Bridges left Flint Southwestern for Huntington Prep in West Virginia.

Brian Bowen, a McDonald’s All-American shooting guard from Saginaw, transferred to La Lumiere three years ago and found himself in the middle of the Louisville-Adidas-NCAA scandal last fall. He’s at South Carolina now.