A day after losing the nation’s No. 1 2018 basketball prospect, Hillcrest Prep was trying to keep its first-year national program together.
Athletic director Matt Allen said he met with 7-foot-1 junior DeAndre Ayton on Thursday and spoke to Nike.
Nike became a sponsor after 6-11 sophomore Marvin Bagley III joined the program, where his dad was brought on as an associate coach.
Marvin Bagley Jr., said he informed Allen on Wednesday that he and his sons, Marvin III and Marcus, a 6-5 eighth grader, were leaving, because of the negativity surrounding it with the NCAA looking into the academic side and the diminishing national spotlight that he thought was going to be there for his sons.
Ayton is rated the top 2017 player in the country.
Ayton left Balboa City School in San Diego in the fall to join Hillcrest.
“I have met with him and his mother, and they are staying,” Allen said in a text message.
Allen said he also spoke to Nike on Thursday.
“They’re just making sure that everything is good and that our team is moving forward,” Allen texted.
Allen said Hillcrest has added a tournament in Kentucky, the Bluegrass Showcase, Dec. 11-13.
Next Thursday, Hillcrest travels to Houston to play Houston SATCH and Houston Pro Vision.
Hillcrest still is scheduled to play at the Hoophall West Classic in December at Scottsdale Chaparral and at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., in January.
In March, Allen said Hillcrest will play in the Tanger National Championship.
Bagley Jr., reiterated Thursday he wasn’t sure where he will take his sons next. Bagley III was rated the No.1 player in the nation by ESPN in the 2018 class. He helped Tempe Corona del Sol to a fourth consecutive Division I state championship as a freshman, being named by azcentral sports as the Player of the Year. Bagley III is being home-schooled, taking NCAA-accredited courses that Bagley Jr., said he found on the NCAA website.
Hillcrest is expected to learn in a week or two if the NCAA will approve its academics from Starshine Academy, where the team located.
Bagley Jr., was frustrated over the NCAA situation, and the lack of national exposure that he thought was coming. The Hillcrest game he thought was going to come against top-rated 7-foot senior Thon Maker and the Athlete Institute in Ontario at the Hoophall Classic was changed to another opponent, taking Hillcrest off the ESPN national TV schedule. He also said he was disappointed that Hillcrest wouldn’t be part of the Dick’s Sporting Goods national high school tournament in April.
Reach Obert at email@example.com or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert. Listen to the Which Wich High School Football Preview Show every Friday from 6-7 p.m., on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 with Dan Manucci and Richard Obert.
Hillcrest vs. Phoenix College: