Westwind Prep's national basketball team kicked out of California tournament

Westwind Prep's national basketball team kicked out of California tournament

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Westwind Prep's national basketball team kicked out of California tournament

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Phoenix Westwind Prep Academy’s national high school boys basketball team was sent home Friday after it was learned it was not the Arizona Interscholastic Association-sanctioned varsity team that was playing in the Charter Oak Tournament in California.

Westwind Prep has two high school teams — a national team with players from in-state and out-of-state, and an AIA varsity team.

According to a report in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, a California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section spokesperson confirmed in an e-mail that Westwind Prep was in violation. Westwind had beaten Upland (Calif.) on Thursday to advance in the tournament, which concludes Saturday.

Westwind Prep’s national team is under no AIA high school bylaws.

Chuck Schmidt, assistant executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, said he was going to look into the matter Monday. Westwind Prep Academy’s national team played in a tournament at Corona Centennial in California last week.

Jeff de Laveaga, who heads up the Westwind basketball program, said his rosters and team information were sent to the California tournament directors, whom, he said, went through it and gave clearance to play.

"Everything had been cleared," de Laveaga said. "The CIF official I spoke to said we were cleared but they did not look at our roster and thought it was our AIA (team) partcipating, not our national team."

Westwind’s national team is not sanctioned to play in the CIF nor in Nevada. Westwind was set to play in the Jerry Tarkanian tournament Dec.19-22 at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, before the tournament director was told it was Westwind’s national team that was going. De Laveaga said the director of events wanted Westwind to play because of calls from college coaches coming to the event.

"Anyways, it’s a learning experience surrounding the politics of HS sports," de Laveaga texted.

De Laveaga said the Westwind national team is looking into playing in a West Coast prep conference next year that would compete against AIA schools.

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