By Jimmy Durkin
Friday, June 12th, 2009 at 12:51 pm in Uncategorized.
The defending state champion Salesian High boys basketball team won’t have its leading scorer when it looks to defend its title next season.
The Pride’s 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Jabari Brown is leaving Salesian and will transfer to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., a highly-competive program that won the inaugural National High School Invitational this season.
“It’s hard to leave, but sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions like that,” Brown said. “It’s tougher competition that will make me work harder in practice every day.”
Brown averaged 19.6 points per game this season as one of three sophomores in an all-underclass starting lineup that included junior Desmond Simmons, the East Bay Player of the Year. Salesian finished 31-4 and beat Bishop Montgomery-Torrence 65-64 in the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV state championship game.
He said he’s been considering the move for the past year, but put aside the decision during the season.
Findlay Prep went 33-0 last season while playing games in eight different states. The Pilots beat perennial power Oak Hill Academy-Mouth of Wilson, Va. to win the national tournament, which exclusively features similar prep schools and isn’t sanctioned by the National Federation of State High Schools Association.
“I always wanted to play in the different tournaments you see on ESPN,” Brown said. “All the stuff at Salesian was great, it was definitely a great experience. (Findlay Prep) is just a lot different. It’s bigger still.”
The team features top recruits from all over the globe. The players attend classes at the Henderson International School and live in a house together, sharing two to a room and performing household chores. Brown, an Oakland resident, says it will be like going to college two years early and that his parents are supportive of his decision.
“They’re behind me,” Brown said. “They just told me to do it for me, don’t do it for anybody else. They’re supporting me 100 percent.”
Brown knows that it will be a challenge, but one that will help him in the long run.
“This will definitely get me ready to make a big impact my first year of college,” Brown said. “It will be hard, but something I’m willing to do to make that sacrifice. I want to be successful.”
Contact Jimmy Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.