Monday, April 10, 2006

Jerome Habel Gone to San Diego?

The story of Jerome Habel is too long for me to go into detail. Habel, a 6'9'' freak of a power forward, is headed to San Diego State next season. But to understand why this is such a big deal, you'll need a brief history of Habel. It starts almost seven years ago. Here goes:

  • Habel makes the junior varsity team at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville, Md. He is kicked off the team the same season because of problems with the coaching staff.
  • Habel makes the varsity team at Paint Branch, despite his problems on the JV. He is kicked off the team because of problems with the coaching staff.
  • Habel transfers to Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md., after meeting Whitman's point guard, Dan Englestad, during summer league games. He makes the varsity team, plays the entire season, leads Whitman to the state quarterfinals, and is offered scholarships from Charlotte and Virginia Commonwealth. He passes up the scholarship offers.
  • Habel transfers to Marriott Hospitality Charter High School, a D.C. public school set up for kids who want to go into hotel management. Habel has no interest in hotel management, and does not even live in Washington, D.C.. He is offered scholarships from Arizona, Cincinnati, Florida State, and others. He selects FSU. The Washington Post later runs a front-page story exposing Marriott Charter's fraudulent recruiting tactics, because a majority of the basketball team is attending a D.C. public school even though the players don't live in D.C. The team is shut down, and Habel and the other out-of-state players are forced out of the school.
  • Habel starts taking night school classes to finish his degree. He takes the SAT three times, but fails to get a qualifying score of 800 (on the 1600 point scale). He is not declared eligible to play at FSU, and loses his scholarship.
  • Habel transfers to a Palm Beach Community College in Florida, and makes the varsity team. After four games, he quits school because of problems with the coaching staff.
  • Habel transfers to St. Mary's College in Maryland, where former teammate Englestad is playing. Habel quits after five games for personal reasons.
  • Habel meets a Washington entrepreneur, who takes a chance on him and brings him to summer league tournaments across the country.
  • Habel transfers to San Bernardino Valley College as a sophomore, though I do not know when he took credits to reach sophomore status. He plays a full season on the varsity squad, is ranked the #2 junior college player in America by and is offered scholarships by Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, and San Diego State. He chooses San Diego State.
To be sure, Habel is an unusual character. Athletically, he's gifted enough to play just about anywhere in the country, which is why he initially was able to sign with FSU out of high school. Next year, he'll be the best big man in the Mountain West Conference. But he's also a kid who's gotten kicked off five different basketball teams, and completed only two full seasons of basketball since he was 14. Next year, Habel will be considered a 'scholar athlete,' though from his résumé, it seems that the only grades he'll be receieving are from NBA scouts.

More to come on Habel as information becomes available...

No comments: