Charles Bassey came to the United States from Nigeria and emerged a top basketball recruit. He’s still considered a top recruit, even though he didn’t play a competitive high school game in the 2016-17 season.
That time on the bench is unlikely to continue in 2017-18, though Bassey’s return may not come at St. Anthony’s. In fact, it may not come in Texas at all following the firing of Hennssy Auriantal from his roles as athletic coordinator and associate basketball coach.
As reported by the San Antonio Express-News, the complicating factor behind Auriantal’s dismissal — and the decision whether or not Bassey remains at St. Anthony’s — comes from the relationship between the coach and star, legal and otherwise. Bassey entered the United States as part of a Texas nonprofit called Yes II Success. The program offers funding for private school tuition and room and board. In what may be a somewhat unsurprising twist, Auriantal is listed as a director of the organization.
After Bassey entered the country, Auriantal and his wife became the legal custodians of Bassey, essentially operating as his parents while Auriantal also served as the teen’s coach.
That relationship may have been too close for comfort for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial schools, which ruled Bassey ineligible for the entire 2017-18 season.
With Auriantal officially out, Bassey — the 6-foot-10 power forward is ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the Class of 2019 — and four of his international teammates who entered the country through the Yes II Success program could all move on from St. Anthony’s, though none have registered an official plan to move to another school as of yet.
It will be interesting to see if that changes should Auriantal accept a position at a new school, in Texas or elsewhere.