BERKELEY -- After missing all of Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon's run to the state title game last year, 2017 four-star Ira Lee was determined to have a strong 2015-16 season with the players he's come up with since eighth grade.
But, by New Years, Lee had decided to transfer to the Prolific Prep Basketball Academy in Napa, Calif., due, he said, to "disagreements," not wanting to go into any further detail.
"I saw that they were going to develop me, and let me play my game," said Lee. "That was the biggest reason I came up here."
It wasn't an easy decision.
"Aw, man," he moaned, thinking of his former teammates at Sierra Canyon, "it's so hard. I'm still trying to get used to it. I've been with those guys since eighth grade. We're all brothers. I call and talk to them every day. I've talked to them every day since I got out here."
"They kind of knew," said Lee, who played much of the first half of the season with the Trailblazers, including a trip to Hawaii, and a game against Hayward (Calif.) Moreau Catholic on Nov. 28. "I told them I might, that it was a possibility, that this might be my last run with you guys, and they were all like, 'You've got to do what you've got to do.'"
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1605952-four-star-hoopster... Rooming in dorms and attending Justin Siena High School, but not playing for Justin Siena, takes some adjustment, Lee said, but the ever-affable four-star is nothing if not adaptable.
"The people are a little bit different up here, but I'm a people person," he said, flashing a grin.
The move up to NorCal also brings him closer to California, and he took full advantage of that proximity on Saturday, taking in the Golden Bears' 74-73 win over No. 11 Arizona. Cal, Lee said, is recruiting him the hardest, adding a pregnant pause, smiling, and saying, "They're up there. They're up there."
The upset was the first game that Lee has been to, other than the Blue and Gold Scrimmage.
"It was crazy, just crazy," Lee said, of the atmosphere and crowd of 11,858 at Haas Pavilion, that rushed the court following the Bears' win over the Wildcats.
"I know they're young, and I know coach Cuonzo [Martin]'s a good coach, so I know they're going to figure it out, and I'm not looking at their record," Lee said of Cal, which is now 14-6 overall, and 4-3 in the Pac-12, tied with Arizona.
Since he has his car, Lee said he can come visit the Bears whenever he wants.
"I'm good friends with Ivan [Rabb] and Jaylen [Brown], so I hang out with them," Lee said. "I talked to them a little bit after the game, but they were celebrating, and coach was dancing, so I was letting them do their thing. I was just happy they won. Everybody started standing up, and I was looking over, and saying, 'Thank God they won at home.'"
Next Friday, Prolific Prep will be hosting a showcase for other basketball academies, as well as several CIF schools, including Rabb's Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd.
"Ray, he's good," Lee said of the 6-foot-10, 220-pound Hawkins. "I believe in him. That's my lil' bro."