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STATE PREPS - Big transfer news dots recent high-school sports wire

   | Scott Burnstein

STATE PREPS - Big transfer news dots recent high-school sports wire

Transfer is the word of the moment on the high schools sports scene across the state.

In the past week, the state has seen Warren De Salle swingman A.J. Turner, who had arguably been the frontrunner for the 2014 Mr. Basketball Award, announce he was leaving the area to attend prep school out East and then a few days later the MHSAA dropped a bomb in a new ruling set to stifle the raging flame that is the Mitten's rampant transfer epidemic.

Turner is a versatile athlete on the hardwood. He averaged 19 points, six rebounds and five assists this past winter and currently holds numerous Division I college scholarship offers.

Michigan and Michigan State have both shown interest in the 6-foot-6 swingman headed for New Hampshire's New Hampton Prep, an elite boarding school that has produced future NBA players such as Rashad McCants (North Carolina), Darius Songaila (Wake Forest), Bernard Robinson (Michigan) and Lawrence Moten (Syracuse). Because he won’t be 17 until later this year, Turner is set to reclassify to the Class of 2015.

With Turner out of the picture in the race for next winter’s Mr. Basketball its Detroit Pershing’s Justin Tillman’s to lose, not overlooking Birmingham Detroit Country Day point guard Edmond Sumner (Xavier), coming off a state-championship campaign and a more than viable candidate in his own right.

Turner’s transfer is part of an ever-increasing flood of departures this last decade across the state’s prep sports ranks.  The 2012-2013 school year brought approximately 450 kids that moved schools and suited up for new athletic squads. That is a tripling of what the percentage was at the start of the 2000s.

At the MHSAA’s annual spring meeting, the ruling council voted to expand and clarify the existing regulations regarding athletically-motivated transfers.

Starting in the fall of 2014, it will no longer be required for coaches that lose a player to an athletically-motivated transfer to report the incident for sanctions to be levied, which is a full school-year of ineligibility.

Under the new rule, athletically-motivated will be defined as any and all contact with personnel associated with a program, including open-gym sessions, scrimmaging (AAU in basketball, 7-on-7's in football), weightlifting workouts and any kind of drilling, in the year leading up to when the transfer occurs.