Before the night of October 27, Haitian refugee Skal Labissiere was just another five-star recruit with some of the country’s best college basketball programs bending over backwards for his services. Then things took a strange turn, because on that Monday night, Labissiere announced that he would play his final season of high school basketball at Reach Your Dream Preparatory Academy, a school that doesn’t actually exist. The oddity of the news prompted the media to look a bit deeper into the situation, and in the interim, Labissiere’s recruitment has become a full-blown circus. Memphis finds itself right in the middle of it.
ESPN has already announced that the talented center will make his collegiate decision live on ESPNU this week, and seeing that the local product called the city of Memphis “his second home,” the Tigers have long been considered the favorite to land the 6’11” big man (although recent consensus has shifted to Kentucky). After the well-reported and thorough bomb that CBSSports’ Gary Parrish dropped today, though, the question has shifted from what school will land him to whether he will even play college basketball at all. Parrish got a prominent local AAU coach to go on the record saying that Labissiere’s guardian, Gerald Hamilton, asked him for advice on how to make money off of the prospect. Hamilton just so happens to have his fingerprints all over the nonexistent prep school at which Labissiere is supposed to play ,and Parrish also spoke with college coaches recruiting Labissiere who said Hamilton strongly insinuated an audience with the teenager would be granted in exchange for funding for his non-profit foundation, Reach Your Dream. The story ends with a college coach who is STILL recruiting him despite doubts as to whether Labissiere will ever play “one minute” in college, which, considering the source, speaks volumes.