Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tony Mitchell's Florida high school gets exposed

There were plenty of issues regarding the eligibility status of top flight recruits this season.

The obvious one is the Enes Kanter saga that continually made national headlines, in large part due to the fact that Kanter went to Kentucky and was slated to play for John Calipari. That alone was enough to overwhelm the casual college hoops fan. But Kanter was not alone in his quest to play at the collegiate level. Josh Selby, the jewel of Bill Self's recruiting class, had his own issues getting cleared at Kansas, eventually being forced to sit out the first nine games of the season. All of this game as Renardo Sidney was finishing up his year and a half long suspension.

So we can forgive you if you suffered from eligibility overload.

But there was another story that flew under the radar.

Tony Mitchell, a top 20 recruit that was slated to attend Missouri, never got cleared by the Big 12; the league does not accept partial qualifiers. Much of that was due to some questionable happenings during his final high school season in the Dallas area. But the root of Mitchell's problems started when he attended high school in Florida. (For what it is worth, Mitchell ended up at North Texas, where he will be eligible to play in December.)

Yesterday, the Miami New-Times published an investigative piece on the high school that Mitchell attended when he was in Florida. Its an absolutely fascinating read -- a story in which Mitchell is only briefly mentioned -- but it helps shed some light on the corruption involved in amateur basketball. I strongly, strongly urge every one of you to go read the story.

After reading this, you may never again want to use the argument that high school coaches have a better moral compass than AAU coaches.

And you may also start to question why some of these start athletes are actually being ruled ineligible. Was it really due to their academic failings, or did they succumb to the allure of a coach trying to take advantage of them?

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