15.10.08

RECRUITING IS NOT PERMITTED. Years ago, Milwaukee Hamilton's boys' basketball team won a state championship (keep scrolling) with students from the neighborhood. In the early 1990s, two different teams made it to Madison but did not advance to the title game.

Now comes something close to a recruiting scandal. The man who coached a northwest side school, Milwaukee Vincent, to five victories in seven appearances in the finals, lives near Hamilton. He recently became the head basketball coach there, in part because of illiquidity in the housing market and high fuel prices.

Milwaukee families have some choice in the schools their children attend, and sometimes that choice depends on athletic opportunities.
At Bay View, coach David “Lou” Chapman was replaced because, like [Custer, as in George Armstrong, coach Marc] Mitchell, he lacks certification. Apparently, much of the Bay View program left with him: Star guard Johnnie Lacy left for a prep school in Massachusetts, two players reportedly transferred to Milwaukee Pulaski, and eight — yes, eight — young players transferred to Hamilton. Five of them are ranked by various scouting services as players to watch in the Class of 2011. Many of the eight play on the same AAU summer team.
The school board's investigation turns up no impropriety in those transfers to Hamilton. The eight players obviously wanted to enroll at a high school that has a planetarium.

It was much simpler years ago, when the independent (read: religious) high schools might have been stronger in sports thanks in part to Catholic Youth Organization junior basketball programs and selective philanthropy that somehow made it possible for tall, coordinated, and poor kids to attend Marquette University High or Racine St. Catherines or, on occasion Stevens Point Pacelli or Manitowoc Roncalli (if you wish to study the papacy, start with the names of the Wisconsin Catholic high schools.) Sports boosters in the City Conference would lament the lack of interscholastic competition in junior high and residency requirements.

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