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Fitchburg’s Notre Dame Prep on NCAA “Watch List”: Two Recent Grads Ruled Ineligible

Friday, September 14, 2012

 

Sam Cassell Jr, the son of the former NBA player of the same name, takes a jump shot during a prep tournament last winter.

Two years ago, 10 basketball players sat in the same classes at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg. Eight of them are now full NCAA qualifiers playing college basketball, but two have been ruled ineligible this week due to those very same classes.

Myles Davis and Sam Cassell Jr. each graduated from Notre Dame last spring and accepted scholarships to play Division I college basketball. Davis chose Xavier, while Cassell headed to Maryland. But now, after the NCAA placed Notre Dame on its "Watch List" of questionable prep schools during the 2011-2012 academic year, those classes have been denied by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

"The 'Watch List' is basically just a list of schools that are accredited by organizations the NCAA doesn't recognize," Notre Dame Prep basketball coach and Athletic Director Ryan Hurd said. "It's not quite as bad as it sounds… The desire on our end is to work with the NCAA on issues like this, but, ultimately, our commitment is to the Diocese since we're a Catholic institution."

Dealing with the NCAA is nothing new to Hurd. Notre Dame annually churns out Division I prospects, including last year's No. 5 prospect nationally, as rated by Rivals.com, center Steven Adams. The school is well known for its basketball program, which at any given time can represent about a quarter of its small student body.

Notre Dame Prep produced eight college players in the class of 2011, each taking the exact same classes as Davis and Cassell. Devon McMillian and Jeff Short of Fordham, Khem Birch who played at Pittsburgh and transferred to UNLV, Todd Mayo of Marquette, Angel Nunez of Louisville, Grandy Glaze of St. Louis, Zarko Valijarevic of Maine and Luka Radovic of South Carolina State were all declared full qualifiers and played last season.

"When the classes were taken Notre Dame Prep wasn't on any list. It's just not fair," Sam Davis, Myles' father told CBS' Jeff Goodman when word came down that the NCAA had denied his son's final appeal. "They should have grandfathered the rule."

Cassell, whose father is the former NBA player of the same name, just had his final appeal denied by the NCAA late last night. What makes this ruling even more damaging to both players is that, unlike the recent ruling of Providence College's Ricky Ledo (who also spent time at Notre Dame), neither Cassell nor Davis will be allowed to stay on scholarship or practice at their new schools.

The elder Davis has said he plans to take out loans so that his son can stay at Xavier and qualify for next season. There has been no word on Cassell's plans yet since he was so recently hoping for a successful appeal, but Hurd says that he would not expect these rulings to stop either Davis or Cassell.

"I think that a couple good kids who work hard both got their lives made a little harder this week," Hurd said. "Knowing them, they will both continue down this path in college. They are great kids, the kind of kids that you would have babysit, and they both want to be educated, regardless of what anybody says or writes."

 

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