Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy just jumped over…Sierra Canyon?
Legendary rapper Kanye West is reportedly opening a prep school in Simi Valley, California and is focusing on building a prep basketball program to rival state and national powerhouse Sierra Canyon — home to the likes of Amari Bailey and Bronny James.
Building a program that can come anywhere close to giving Sierra Canyon a run for its money requires talent and West has already gotten to work in that regard. Donda Academy has managed to land a bevy of elite talent despite having yet to name a head coach, with five-star 2023 guard Robert Dillingham, four-star 2022 guard Zion Cruz, four-star forward Jalen Hooks and 2024 forward Jakhi Howard, who profiles as one of the best players in his class, set to join the program.
“It’s just one of those things you can’t pass up,” Hooks recently said in an interview with the Indianapolis Star. “It was more of a family decision, too. All of us just felt like it was a chance to reach my full potential and grow and get ready for the college level.”
Donda Academy already has a solid core four, but more top-tier talent could be on its way to join the West-backed venture. Five-star Duke commit Kyle Filipowski and four-star 2023 center Gus Yalden, who currently plays at IMG Academy, joined Cruz, Dillingham, Hooks and Howard in changing their Instagram profile picture to a block icon — an ode to West.
Donda Academy transfers Jahki Howard, Zion Cruz and Robert Dillingham have received a follow from @KanyeWest on Instagram and changed their profile pics to a black icon.
Interestingly, 2022 Duke commit Kyle Filipowski and unsigned 2023 four-star Gus Yalden have done the same. pic.twitter.com/yiY1wJSbZv
— Jacob Polacheck (@JacobPolacheck) October 6, 2021
Prep programs across the high school sports landscape have come and gone in the blink of an eye in the past. Deion Sanders took a crack at turning Prime Prep into a national staple and that venture went south in a hurry. Will West have better luck?
Donda Academy is now firmly on the radar and will be worth monitoring in the coming weeks and months. West once rapped that “no one man should have all that power,” but early indications are that’s not the approach he’s taking in trying to build a high school basketball empire.