Jahshire Hardnett’s time at Florida’s Arlington Country Day School was short lived.
The former Gulfport Dandy Dozen guard told The Clarion-Ledger he left the program on Tuesday due to academic and eligibility concerns. He plans to return to his home in Mississippi.
Hardnett’s transfer comes a month after an article published by the Jacksonville Sun detailed ACD’s issues with several of its courses and curriculum not being recognized by the NCAA.
That article, the senior said, prompted he and his mother to look into his situation further and decide it was best to leave the prep school.
“(My mom) called the NCAA and they told her they weren’t sure if I would be eligible my first semester of college,” Hardnett said.
Apaches’ assistant coach Jeff Merritt denies academic concerns as a legitimate reason for Hardnett’s transfer and said the guard did not give him or his staff a reason behind his departure.
“It came as a shock,” Merritt said. “He didn’t say anything to anyone. We had heard rumors of him wanting to transfer and talked to him about it.
“When we talked to him (about transferring), he said he wasn’t sure. Today he up and left and kind of bailed on everyone. You’d have to talk to him to get his reasons. I know for a fact it shouldn’t have had anything to do with academics.”
According to Merritt, Hardnett was taking classes at ACD through Florida Virtual School, an online public school with a core course curriculum approved by the NCAA.
Hardnett told The Clarion-Ledger that he has to complete two classes in order to be cleared by the NCAA’s Eligibility Center, formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse.
The guard said he spoke with administrators at Arlington Country Day about completing an art class and an economics class. How he could complete that class, though, was what sparked a major concern for he and his mother.
“I needed an art class,” he said. “They told me I didn’t have to go to class, that they would give me some paper and the teacher would make me draw 20 pictures that I would need to have completed by the end of the semester.”
As for his economics class, Hardnett said he received very little communication from ACD and had to communicate with his former counselor at Gulfport to find out his requirements.
Arlington Country Day has come under fire for academic issues in the past. According to the Jacksonville Sun’s article, ACD was flagged by the NCAA “in what is called an ‘extended evaluation period to determine if it meets the requirements for NCAA cleared status.'”
According to Merritt, all of the basketball players are ACD are enrolled through Florida Virtual, which is also used at Prime Prep and other prep school across the country.
“I had numerous programs, compliance offices of the schools recruiting Jahshire look into his eligibility with the NCAA,” Merritt said. “He was in good academic standing and on pace to qualify.”
Hardnett says he will resume classes at Gulfport on Wednesday, where he is already registered and enrolled in the art and economics classes he will need to qualify.
As far as high school basketball, Hardnett will not be eligible to return to the Admirals (12-7) program.
According to MHSAA rules, a student-athlete is not allowed to play the same sport at two different schools in the same season. With Hardnett being a senior, unless he were to apply for a hardship waiver, which according to MHSAA executive director Don Hinton are not issued for grade concerns or transfers, his time playing high school basketball in Mississippi is over.
Instead, the 5-foot-10 guard plans to train in Gulfport before he commits to a school at the end of January.
Right now, Hardnett says he hears from Georgetown, Kansas State, LSU and Murray State, but will likely decide between the Wildcats and Racers.
When he decided to transfer from Gulfport to Arlington Country Day last August, Hardnett said he wanted to gain more exposure and better his chance of obtaining a high-major Division I scholarship.
As a junior, Hardnett averaged averaging 22.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals en route to leading the Admirals to a 6A championship.
During his time at Arlington Country Day, Merritt said Hardnett averaged around 13 points, 5 rebounds and 1.5 turnovers in 27 minutes per game.
Despite leaving ACD in the middle of the season, Hardnett says he feels like he accomplished what he set out to do when he left for the Jacksonville-based school last year.
“When I got there I was a two-star guard and I left as a four-star guard,” he said. “I left with what I came there for.”
Contact Courtney Cronin at (601) 961-7091 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @CourtneyRCronin on Twitter.