Who is Skal Labissiere? He's a 6'11 center considered one of the best players in the high school class of 2015. Labissiere moved to the United States from Haiti after an earthquake rocked the country in 2010 and has blossomed into someone who could make a lot of money playing basketball in the near future.
Labissiere is the No. 7 rated player in the class of 2015 according to our composite rankings, but he's rated as high as No. 3 by Scout. Labissiere has lived near Memphis since arriving in the U.S., and is thought to be the crown jewel of an already strong 2015 recruiting class put together by Josh Pastner at Memphis. Labissiere remains uncommitted, and lists Kentucky, Georgetown, Baylor, Tennessee and the Tigers as his final college choices.
Future NBA players are commodities, and so Skal Labissiere is a commodity. This is the setup for what seems like one of the strangest stories in some time involving the bizarre world of college basketball recruiting. From the look of it, it sure seems like Labissiere's guardian just made up a prep school so he has a chance to play his final season of high school basketball.
I’ve never heard of a prep school created on Oct. 27 so that a top-5 prospect can play high school basketball. This is insane.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 28, 2014
Why can't Skal play basketball this year?
On Sept. 13, Labissiere was officially ruled ineligible by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. It all started when he withdrew from Evangelical Christian to transfer to Lausanne Collegiate School. The transfer attempt was denied because the TSSAA determined Labissiere's move was made purely for basketball reasons. Labissiere appealed with a hardship waiver that was shut down, as well.
Labissiere reportedly had issues with the coaching staff at Evangelical Christian. Lausanne traditionally boasts a better team. While top high school basketball players change schools regularly, the timing and motivation behind Labissiere's decision meant he wasn't allowed to be one of them.
So ... what is happening with Skal now?
On Monday night, Labissiere tweeted this:
John Martin of ESPN 92.9 in Memphis notes "Reach Your Dream" is the non-profit organization that helped bring Labissiere to Memphis from Haiti. The program is run by his guardian Gerald Hamilton, who will also reportedly coach the basketball team. Martin reports Labissiere is likely to still take classes at Lausanne.
From the looks of it, Reach Your Dream Prep does not exist, or at least it didn't until very recently. This is the school's website:
Phone calls and text messages by SB Nation to Hamilton and the school were not returned.
As Martin notes, this could open up another bag of worms with the NCAA. Similar eligibility issues were thought to be behind Emmanuel Mudiay's decision to leave SMU for China. Labissiere has already said publicly he's considering a jump to Europe instead of going to college.
It remains undetermined if Labissiere will be ineligible for postseason games like the McDonald's All-American Game if he plays for Reach Your Dream Prep.