The 11th ranked player in ESPN's 2015 college basketball recruiting class, six-foot-ten-inch center Skal Labissiere of Memphis, announced Monday he will play his final season of pre-collegiate basketball this year at a prep school called Reach Your Dream Preparatory Academy. There's only one problem: The school does not yet exist.
Labissiere's guardian, Gerald Hamilton, runs an eponymous non-profit organization that was responsible for initially bringing the native Haitian to the United States, ESPN Radio Memphis' John Martin reported Monday. Labissiere had formerly played at Memphis' Evangelical Christian School before transferring to Lausanne Collegiate School.
The Tennessee School Secondary Athletic Association earlier this year ruled Labissiere ineligible to play at Lausanne. He could still attend Lausanne, but play for RYDPA, according to Martin.
An infographic from RYDPA says "Reach Your Dream Preparatory Academy" followed by the text, "coming soon." The domain for the school's website was purchased roughly seven weeks ago, and phone calls to the school's listed phone number were believed to go to Hamilton's personal cell phone. Little is known about the RYDPA basketball team, its curriculum or its teachers.
The school could be being set up as less of a school and more of a "home school association team" that allows Labissiere to play for a team during his senior season while not having to forego an education at Lausanne, according to Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi.
Former Sports Illustrated college basketball writer Andy Glockner encapsulated the confusion of many at the announcement, noting with surprise the announcement of a school's impending formation just days before the start of the high school basketball season.
Labissiere has received offers from schools such as Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgetown and Memphis, among others.
- Will Green