Two SoCal prospects join hoops power Findlay Prep
AUG 14, 2013 8:55a ET
Next season, he'll be taking his talents to Henderson, Nevada, the home of basketball juggernaut Findlay Prep.
As is Namon Wright. As a junior last season, he helped lead Pacific Hills to a state title. Now, he has his eyes fixed on a much bigger prize -- a national championship.
Findlay Prep plays in tournaments featuring teams from across the country, including one that ends with a "national champion" being crowned. Nine-year NBA veteran Jerome Williams was named head coach of the program earlier this month.
However, there are plenty of schools that aren't allowed to participate in such tournaments. Any tournament that Findlay Prep plays in is not sanctioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). For that reason, athletic governing bodies across the nation, such as the CIF, say "No" when it comes down to playing Findlay Prep.
If Findlay Prep is a participant in any event, such event isn't sanctioned by the NFHS because Findlay Prep isn't a member of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA).
"They are not a school, they are a basketball club," a CIF spokesperson defined Findlay Prep via email. "There are no courses taught at Findlay Prep."
The basketball players are from various parts of the country and sometimes come from outside of the country to join the team. They all live together. Findlay Prep follows some of the guidelines set forth by the NIAA, although not all of them.
Players attend classes at The Henderson International School, founded in 1992. The basketball club has been in existence for seven years -- and is 192-9 in that span against national competition, which is a huge draw.
"They've always won," Wright said. "Just being a winning player and wanting more than just (a) CIF (title). I got two (CIF rings). I got one state (ring). I want to also get better but I want a national (championship) so I can say I was up there with the best players in the country, not just the state."
Wright, who’s offers include USC, UCLA, Arizona, and Gonzaga will have one season to play for the Pilots. For former Leuzinger High School star and recent Cal State Northridge transfer, Amir Garrett, that was the case also before he received a scholarship to St. John's.
Thornton's case is a little different. He'll presumably be there for three years, which is rare when it comes to Findlay Prep. Last season McDonald's All-American Nigel Williams-Goss became the first four-year player in the program's history.
"I think it's a good decision for me," Thornton said. "I get to be with the coaches for three years. I get to establish the position as a point guard."
The most recent No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, Anthony Bennett, played for Findlay Prep. Fellow Canadians Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cory Joseph of the San Antonio Spurs played there as well.
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