Posted On: 09/4/19 4:46 PM

Every year the news of transfers seems to get people more emotional and wound up than wins/losses and/or great performances in many cases. Some would go as far as to call it an epidemic in high school basketball. I hear comments all the time along the lines of, “high school basketball is as bad as AAU” or “there needs to be more investigations and tougher rules for people transferring for athletic reasons.” On the other hand, some families swear they are “just doing what’s best for their child” or “another school provided them more opportunity.” The population seems split on the subject of transfer, but overall, we have been “lucky” in Washington. 

One thing that everyone can agree on is times have changed. Scholarship money and professional athletics money for that matter is worth way more than it ever has been before. The competitiveness and investments that player’s and families make is striking and a reflection of the the modern day hustle for a scholarship. Another thing that people should be able to agree on is yes, kids want to be apart of winning programs and teams. The reasons for this are obvious. The chance of “success” is much higher in certain situations. My dad once told me if I wanted to be a musician or astronaut, he would put me in the absolute best position to succeed in whatever it is I wanted to do. Many families take this approach and that will not change. Lastly, kids do want to attain athletic scholarships and feel some high schools will better help them to do so. This is no different from the past, but families are widely more willing to get it done by any means necessary. 

Something to consider for many people so upset at the rate of transfers is Washington state is we are way behind many other states and regions throughout the country. Most top players on the east coast do not even attend their regular public schools. Washington has been beyond fortunate to have top flight talent stay in state for the majority of occasions. Many people in Washington lose it if a kid decides to go to a school and move 30 miles outside of their original home address. On the east coast, some kids wake up at 3am to hop on the train and attend basketball powerhouses far outside of their neighborhood as it was seen on “The Street Stops Here” featuring legendary high school Coach Bob Hurley and St. Anthony’s High School. Oak Hill, IMG, Montverde Academy, La Lumiere, Prolific Prep and more attract basketball players from all over the world. These prep and boarding schools, which have been around for decades now, often pluck regular public and private school’s top talent in other parts of the country. Many of your favorite NBA players of today transferred once or sometimes multiple times during their high school career.

Lots of people have strong feelings about transfers, but I would hope that Washington high school basketball fans are at least pleased that players aren’t leaving state too much, yet. We have all been fortunate to see Tony Wroten Jr., Jaden McDaniels and more that have been strongly recruited to play at the country’s top prep schools. On the other hand, we have also missed out on Avery Bradley’s senior year and four years of Allonzo Trier who attended four different prep schools (originally from Washington), and now Marjon Beauchamp who will attend prep school in Arizona. My goal is not to persuade anyone into thinking transfers are right or wrong, but hopefully it opens some people’s eyes into the scene on a more national level and realize kids transfer schools all the time. It’s not just in the metro league of Seattle and it’s not just in Washington. Ultimately, people are going to do what they want to do. For those calling for more harsh punishments for transfers, you may be careful what you wish for if kids decide to start leaving Washington for greener pastures and the opportunities they are looking for.