basketball Edit

Marvin, Marcus Bagley to leave Hillcrest Prep

On Wednesday afternoon, Marvin Bagley Jr. tweeted that his sons, Marvin Bagley III, and Marcus Bagley, will no longer be a part of the Hillcrest Hoops program.

On October 26th, I had written about an NCAA visit to Hillcrest's partner school, Starshine Academy, citing sources that stated there may be issues in Hillcrest's attempt to be granted accreditation to through APEX Learning online courses. In response, AZCentral ran a story in which Starshine founder Trish McCarty was quoted saying that she would not characterize the NCAA's visit as an investigation, adding "They were shocked to see such a beautiful place, They liked it and were happy."

On October 27th I received a call from Hillcrest Hoops founder Matt Allen and head coach Nick Weaver stating that the information I had received about Hillcrest students not meeting seat time was false, and that they would be sending me documents proving otherwise so that I might correct the record. No documentation was ever received.

On October 28th, I received information that stated that Marvin and Marcus Bagley might withdraw from the program. I tweeted that the pair withdrawing was an unconfirmed possibility, and in response, Marvin Jr. released a statement saying that reports about the withdrawal was not true. AZCentral ran a story based on that statement. Marvin Jr. would later confirm to me that the Bagley's had instead withdrawn from classes at Hillcrest's partner school, Starshine Academy, with the intention of finding accredited coursework while remaining on Hillcrest's roster.

The Bagley's withdrawal from the school, and now the team, may relate to recent events surrounding some of the nation's other top prospects.

Yesterday it was announced that the #5 player in the class of 2015, Cheick Diallo, would be hiring a lawyer to help him fight an eligibility battle that stems from attending a school that was not in good standing with the NCAA, so that he might be able play at Kansas this season.

7-6 3-star center and 2015 UCF commit Tacko Fall is reportedly taking the same route, hiring a lawyer to help him gain eligibility for this season.

With the growing trend of the NCAA prolonging investigations into schools that are not in good academic standing, this may be the wisest move for the highly touted 2018 and 2020 prospects. Wherever the pair ends up, they will surely have immense success and an immediate impact. Just this week, in his final game affiliated with Hillcrest, Marvin III scored 51 points.

When reached for a statement about what the next step is for Marvin Jr and his sons, Marvin Jr replied "The next step is Wednesday night church service."

UPDATE- 5:40PM 11/11

A source has told me that Marvin Bagley's employment as an associate coach with Hillcrest Prep has been terminated for "intimidation and not representing Starshine in a positive manner" stemming from an incident with a reporter last week. The decision to part ways may have ultimately belonged to Hillcrest Hoops and Starshine Academy. I'll have more as the story develops.

UPDATE- 6:30 PM 11/11

Marvin Bagley Jr made Matt Allen clear of his intentions to stay on at Hillcrest as an associate coach despite removing his sons from the program, and as late as 2pm, had been asked to hold off his decision and consider keeping his kids in the program so that other players would not follow. At the time of this update, he had not been made aware of any effort to terminate him as a coach at Hillcrest.

UPDATE- 8:00 PM 11/11

While Hillcrest has not yet responded to requests to confirm the authenticity of the termination email, Marvin Bagley Jr. informed me that he has now received the email from Matt Allen and Hillcrest Academy stating that he has been terminated for what the email describes as an incident with a reporter last Thursday. Bagley Jr. stated that he was not previously aware that the email obtained by ArizonaVarsity had been sent by Hillcrest. Bagley stated that this was the first time he'd heard anything about any disciplinary measure from the school, and confirmed that he had been contacted about delaying his decision to withdraw his kids until he and Allen could have a follow-up conversation, but that he in turn informed Allen his mind was made up. The termination email from Hillcrest to Bagley Jr. was sent after Bagley Jr. tweeted that his sons would no longer be part of Hillcrest.

The reasons Bagley Jr. cited for moving on from the program included:

-Hillcrest not being allowed to participate in the national rankings because they did not have a state affiliation, nor did they have 20% of their games scheduled against high school teams.

-The pending approval/denial of the NCAA over Starshine's curriculum and use of APEX Learning courses.

-National teams either dropping Hillcrest from their schedule, or refusing to schedule Hillcrest.

-ESPN pulling out of broadcasting their Hoophall matchup with Athlete Institute in January.

Bagley Jr did confirm that on October 28th, when I reported that it was possible that Marvin III and Marcus were withdrawing from the program, that they actually withdrew from Starshine Academy and enrolled in NCAA approved online courses on their own.

UPDATE- 11:00 AM 11/12

Hillcrest Prep athletic director Matt Allen responded via email to an inquiry about Marvin Bagley Jr's termination as an associate coach with the Hillcrest program: "Marvin Bagley Jr. was in an at will contract which he could terminate or we could terminate at any time. As of yesterday he is no longer a part of the Hillcrest program."

UPDATE- 1:00 PM 11/12

Hillcrest Prep athletic director Matt Allen has issued an e-mail apology for including "intimidation" as the reason for Marvin Bagley Jr.'s termination as an associate coach of the Hillcrest Hoops program in the original termination letter that was emailed to Bagley and obtained by ArizonaVarsity yesterday afternoon. When reached via text, Marvin Bagley Jr. responded "I'm just glad this chapter is over."