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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Sudanese basketball players fight to keep playing
Scott Strazzante, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 12:12 PM on 12.06.12
->> In mid-November, I started a season long story on three Sudanese basketball players playing for Mooseheart, a small Illinois high school in west suburban Chicago.

Last Monday, after complaints by a rival high school, the trio was ruled ineligible.

A court order has them playing again until the full Illinois High School Association board meets to decide their fate on Monday, December 10th.

Last night, Mooseheart played Hinckley-Big Rock, the team that filed the original complaint.

I have done two recent blog posts on the team with more to come over the next week.

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/shooting-from-the-hip/2012/12/moosehear...

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/shooting-from-the-hip/2012/12/a-shot-to...
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 12:21 PM on 12.06.12
->> That shot of the other team "gawking" is priceless.
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Chris McGathey, Photo Editor
Dallas | TX | USA | Posted: 1:54 PM on 12.06.12
->> Awesome work Scott. I am from this area originally in fact I have a close friend who teaches at Mooseheart so has it been a media frenzy out there since you have covered these guys?
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Texarkana | TX | USA | Posted: 2:24 PM on 12.06.12
->> I love that shot of the other team with their mouths hanging open! I stumbled across this on your blog yesterday, though I don't remember how I got there. Great work!
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David A. Cantor, Photographer, Photo Editor
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 2:29 PM on 12.06.12
->> Folks, if you don't follow @ScottStrazzante on Twitter you are really missing out!
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Byron Hetzler, Photographer
Granby | CO | USA | Posted: 3:49 PM on 12.06.12
->> Great stuff Scott! Wonderful images.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Atlanta | Ga | USA | Posted: 4:08 PM on 12.06.12
->> Wow, sounds like a lot of sour grapes. Here you have a school that has taken on some pretty challenging kids over the years to try and help make a difference and they get repaid with this kind of action.
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 9:38 PM on 12.06.12
->> Jeff -
In all fairness there is a lot more to this story than "sour grapes". There has been a huge debate in Illinois prep sports for years between private and public schools over the "recruiting" issue and it providing an unfair advantage.

The statements by the school that they told the agency that they would accept any kid - regardless of gender or whether they were athletes belies the fact that this same agency - African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education - specializes in placing athletes. Mooseheart denies approaching AHOPE - but little has been said about how AHOPE pitches their services to the schools.

Yes Moosehearts' mission is quite honorable and they do great work. But to suggest that it is pure happenstance that three 6' 7" + players, plus a state medalist cross country runner simoultaneously end up in a residential school with an enrollment of less than 200 (and on full scholarship as I understand it), is suspect at best. It is quite reasonable for this to be questioned by public schools in the State.

The IHSA has an explicit rule against recruiting and found "Mooseheart inappropriately brought the students to campus for athletic reasons through the African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education program."

They'll get another hearing - and hopefully the issue will get a full and thorough review. I don't have a strong opinion either way, but I certainly don't believe this is as simple as "sour grapes".
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Scott Strazzante, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 9:14 PM on 12.10.12
->> This evening, Mooseheart's Big Three were cleared to play for the rest of the season.

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/shooting-from-the-hip/2012/12/eligible....
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Christopher Kays, Photographer
Benton | IL | USA | Posted: 2:35 AM on 12.11.12
->> However, it's not all over, as this quote from the IHSA press release says: "Mooseheart shall be placed on probation immediately and shall be ineligible to participate in the 2013 IHSA Basketball State Series pending completion of the following to the satisfaction of the Executive Director."

So until they do what they are asked by the IHSA, they cannot participate in the post-season; but I see them playing in the post-season, as the administration at Mooseheart will do what they have been asked to become eligible again.
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Andrew Brosig, Photo Editor, Photographer
Nacogdoches | TX | United States | Posted: 12:07 AM on 12.12.12
->> Heard part of the story on NPR tonight while I was heading to a high school basketball game. Sounds like an interesting, ongoing tale.

Keep rockin' Scott.
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 10:06 AM on 12.12.12
->> While I doubt the details will come out, the finding that A-Hope took advantage of these athletes and that "(t)he Board has further determined that henceforth any school accepting referrals of students from A-Hope Foundation or any other organization having as its purpose the placement of student-athletes in educational settings, shall be presumptively ineligible" certainly suggests that there were issues with how they pitched their services.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 4:28 AM on 12.13.12
->> Damn. And here I was going to shoot the Mooseheart @ LaLumiere game here in Indiana Sat night but decided to go to a Christmas party instead. Stupid me!

LaLumiere is a prep school and has a lot of 5th year "college prep" seniors. They can't participate in the IHSAA so they have to travel around the country to play teams... They are currently 9-0. But then again, they have their player wearing jersey #1 listed at 6'11". I'll say this, if he's 6'11", so am I! I was the same height and I'm 6'9"

Anyway... Moral of the story, wish I knew the back story to Mooseheart and went to the game locally. :( And nice work there Scott. :)
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Thread Title: Sudanese basketball players fight to keep playing
Thread Started By: Scott Strazzante
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