While this weekend was filled with football state championship games, a number of the nation's top basketball teams hit the hardwood as well.
Jabari Parker returned to the court for Simeon (Chicago) in a 56-35 win over Milton (Ga.) at the Chicago Elite Classic on Saturday. Parker, who was expected to miss his team's opener while recovering from a fractured foot, wore special shoes with extra cushioning. He played 10 minutes and finished with six points. In other Parker news, the 6-8 senior and preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA selection told radio station ESPN 1000 that he will play college hoops next season. There was speculation that Parker could go on a Mormon mission.
On Friday, Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas), the No. 7 team in the USA Today Super 25, narrowly defeated Ballard (Louisville) at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Kentucky, 78-76. Travis features two of the nation's top recruits in preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA selections Aaron (28 points) and Andrew (18 points) Harrison, and was not expected to be tested by the likes of Ballard.
No. 1 Huntington Prep (W.Va.), led by senior Andrew Wiggins' 29 points, had a much easier time of things against Memphis East (Tenn.), prevailing 76-59. The Hoopfest has several more games on the slate on Saturday, including a matchup between Super 25 No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and No. 15 Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.), which features Marquette-bound wing JaJuan Johnson (not to be confused with the former Purdue star).
And finally in Florida, Montverde Academy, the No. 6 team in the Super 25, christened its new, $6.5 million basketball facility with a 95-51 win over Lexington Catholic (Ken.). The Eagles, led by Florida-bound PG Kasey Hill and junior center Dakari Johnson, improved to 3-0 on the season. Orlando Magazine had a fascinating story on the growth of Montverde hoops earlier this week.
Prime Prep pulls out of UIL
The Dallas-area charter school founded by Deion Sanders earlier this year has pulled out of the University Interscholastic League, Texas' governing body for high school sports (h/t: Prep Rally). Controversial from the moment it opened its doors, Prime Prep Academy faced allegations of recruiting and illegal transfers. The "straw that broke the camel's back," Prime Prep co-founder D.L. Wallace told the Dallas Morning News, was the UIL's decision to revisit the eligibility of Jordan Mickey, an LSU hoops recruit ranked No. 47 in the ESPN 100.
As if Sanders' involvement wasn't enough, Prime Prep caught the attention of the UIL when four Grace Prep basketball players transferred to the school after their former coach, Ray Forsett, moved to Prime Prep. Transfers for athletic reasons are impermissible under UIL rules, so the team would have had an uphill battle ensuring it had enough eligible players. As Sanders had done earlier, Wallace contended officials were gunning for Prime Prep from the beginning and that withdrawing from the UIL was the school's only recourse.
“We were doing a horrible disservice to our young men and women at our school to stay in the UIL and conduct our business with the 11-3A,” Wallace said. “Our board felt that it was better for us and the mission of our charter to do this, because it was pretty clear that we weren’t going to get a fair shake from the UIL.”
Prime Prep is now free to schedule opponents outside the confines of UIL rules, however many teams — in Texas and elsewhere — are only eligible to play state-sanctioned programs. But the school's football coach, Kevin Mathis, told the News "that his team will field a full 10-game schedule next season."