Aspire Academy, the Louisville-based prep school that has sent three players, including five-star center Charles Bassey, to Western Kentucky in the last two years, has cut ties with DeSales High School as well as controversial international recruiter Hennssy Aurantial.
That information comes from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, which should be somewhat concerning for Hilltopper fans but not as much of a red flag as this quote, from the President of Aspire, Roger McClendon:
“I don’t think [Bassey] has a diploma from DeSales,” said McClendon. “That doesn’t mean he has not gone to summer school or some other way. I don’t have that information.”
Bassey, a top ten prospect and a potential lottery pick, was originally a member of the Class of 2019, but he reclassified earlier this month and, reportedly, has already enrolled at Western Kentucky. The program announced his arrival on June 13th. It should go without saying that in order to be eligible to play college basketball, the athlete has to graduate from high school.
Anyway, I would strongly suggest you dive into KyCIR’s reporting on Bassey, Aspire Academy and Aurantial, as it provides a window into how prep schools like Aspire recruit internationally and why it isn’t always a certainty that high school coaches are better to deal with than AAU coaches, like the NABC wants us to believe.
According to their reporting, Aspire’s deal with Desales High School was that the prep school would pay tuition for their basketball players to take classes and would be given access to the Desales gym for practice, but that they would play for Aspire’s basketball team. In the end, according to an official from Desales, the only three players that eventually ended up enrolled at the school were the international students that needed to use the school to get a visa.
And that’s to say nothing of the process that is required for Aurantial to actually get these players to the United States.
However it ends up working out, the eligibility of Bassey is something that we’re going to have to monitor moving forward.