Roundtable: Change to the end

Each week, we ask the hoops recruiting team to ruminate on a specific question.

The entire national recruiting team has been on the road this fall, of course, and already this season we're seeing some of the country's most loaded high school and prep teams in action, many that feature players from outside the area.

These programs include Oak Hill, Montverde and Findlay Prep from among the high schools, as well as prep teams such as Brewster Academy.

That said, multiple ranked seniors in our rankings joined those prestigious programs (and others) for this season.

The question, then, is what effect do you think late high school transfers have on a player who lands at a national powerhouse program? What are the pluses and minuses, and what are the primary contingencies that determine a player's success there?

Evan Daniels: With any move like this there are positives and negatives. I think many players make these types of moves to attempt to help their academics and place a stronger focus on getting better. There aren't nearly as many distractions at some of the national basketball powers, which one would think helps said player get in the gym more.

Sometimes, a change of scenery is just what the players need. But that's not always the case. The negatives are anywhere from being away from your family and friends to missing out on finishing out your high school career with the team you started with. It's more of a personal preference to the kid and his family.

As far as determining success at the schools, that's on the player more than anything. The type of players I assume you're talking about are elite level players and guys that are expected to have strong senior seasons. A lot of times it's easy to tell who is putting in extra time, especially be their senior high school seasons, when the expectations to perform are high.

Josh Gershon: It depends on a long list of factors regarding the schools the player is transferring to and from as well as the reason(s) why the player made the move in the first place. Some of these prep schools are very good at focusing on basketball and helping kids improve academically.

In many cases, the challenge in competition they have every day in practice is much better than what they saw in the majority of games with their high school team. In other cases, kids go to prep schools and/or don't get the academic help they were expecting.

For very good players transferring to very good programs, the net impact is often going to be positive. But not every player transferring is very good and not every program they're transferring to is very good, either. You have to judge each situation individually.

Brian Snow: For every kid it is different. For the most part the days of Philly Lutheran and Boys II Men Academy are done in grassroots basketball. The prep schools such as Brewster Academy, La Lumiere, Findlay Prep, Oak Hill, Montverde, etc. are all either associated with legitimate accredited high schools or are legit long standing high schools on their own.

With that said, the kids are exposed to something new. I am in no way advocating transferring as my senior year of high school was a tremendous amount of fun, but I also wasn't worried about a college basketball career, so I can see how things are different.

There are some clear advantages to the associated prep schools. They can practice earlier and for longer periods of time, they play more games, there is more competition in those games and in practice as well. Also, these schools tend to be more equipped to handle kids with specific academic needs as opposed to normal public high schools.

So for every kid the answer is clearly different, but I see absolutely no concern with the growing trend of established and well known players transferring to a more basketball focused environment. If that is what a kid and a parent feel is in their best interest, who on earth am I to argue.

Rob Harrington: If a player arrives at his new school in time for the beginning of the academic year, that raises no red flags for me at all. A lot of it is timing. I get concerned with young players leave mid-semester or arrive late, because academic issues frequently surface. But as long as they get there on time and mentally are prepared to live away from home, I think a lot of positives can accrue.

For one thing, moving out of a broken public school system — as is the case in some cities — can provide a major boost to a player’s academic profile. The big-time programs are accustomed to working with prospects from diverse backgrounds, and they have the resources to provide them with greater individual attention.

Meanwhile, the stout schedules those teams face can help prepare a player for higher level competition, structure and a college-like travel schedule. Oak Hill, for example, will play more than 40 games this season.

On the other hand, a player who lacks mental readiness can become alienated or get trouble at his new school. We’ve seen that scenario play out frequently as well, and of course the downside for the player is that he severs the connection between kid, family and community. I feel bad for some of the high schools and their coaches when a top player leaves, but the stakes are so high for the top guys — how could anyone blame them? In most cases, it works out just fine.

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