High Profile Athlete And Transfers

Just last year Scout.com five-star prospect Crandall Head, a member of the Class of 2010 who has committed to Illinois, left Rich South High School to play for Chicago Crane Prep High School. Feathers were ruffled when the talented junior guard decided to make the move, but Illinois Executive Director Marty Hickman granted Head the transfer.

Rich South has every right to feel upset and not go down without a fight. These transfers often cause the schools they leave behind to struggle until the next gem arrives. And there is often a belief that when high profile athletes choose to transfer, some think there's far more to the story than basketball.

Rumors can pop up about wrong doings and dirty deals. There's also a school of thought that many athletes feel too much pressure at their current schools to win, knowing they can't.

One Illinois student athlete (who asked to remain anonymous) wanted to transfer last year to a better school and basketball program. He offered this reflection on what he was told at the time:

"If you leave make sure you have all your T's crossed and I's dotted, because we're calling the state, and if you're ruled ineligible you will miss your entire junior year," the athlete said.

The athlete stayed and had a great year on the court but was miserable during the school year. Sometimes a change is better. Does basketball have anything to do with it? Sure it does, but that's not a crime.

If a kid is unhappy and would like to give another school a try, why should there be conflict? It didn't used to be that kids transferred much, but this really isn't any different than what's going on in the modern job market. The factory jobs that used to exist where people work for 25 or 30 years and retire are pretty much all gone. The average person today may have three to four jobs before they retire. Some leave for better pay, some find new work as a result of relocation, and others just want a career change.

Yes, this is like comparing apples and oranges, but if a kid isn't happy or wants to have a better chance at a state title they should be free to go elsewhere. So many times the alumni and boosters get involved and want to cry wolf.

One star athlete that went elsewhere is Waukegan's Jereme Richmond. Richmond, a small forward and member of the Class of 2010 who will be joining Crandall Head at Illinois, went from North Shore Country Day to Waukegan High School. And Richmond's father offered some thoughts that reflect the often complex dynamics of making a transfer.

"It's not all about school when a kid leaves," Bill Richmond said. "For us it was both school and athletics. There was nothing wrong with North Shore Country Day. We live right here in Waukegan, so for us, we felt it was the right move. Many times it's a two-fold situation. Parents and families need to do what's best for them and that's the bottom line. All other non-sense is just that."

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