Elite recruit intends to play for a prep school that may not yet exist

The Dagger

When elite prospect Skal Labissiere tweeted Monday night that he intends to play his senior season of high school basketball at Reach Your Dream Preparatory Academy, the timing of the announcement two months into the school year seemed a little strange.

Some quick research soon revealed that was only one of many abnormalities.

Reach Your Dream Prep is run by Labissiere's legal guardian Gerald Hamilton and shares a name with the Memphis-based non-profit organization he founded to bring talented international prospects to the United States. The school is "coming soon" according to its rudimentary website, which features only a logo, contact information and a map.

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A call to the number listed on the site goes to a voicemail belonging to Hamilton. The address listed on the site is the same as Elliston Baptist Church & Academy, a tiny private school in Memphis that serves students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Why would Hamilton seemingly create a prep school out of thin air in late October of Labissiere's senior year? It's difficult to answer that question with certainty since Hamilton did not return a voicemail Monday night, but it's likely a last-ditch attempt to give Labissiere one final high school season.

Labissiere, a 6-foot-11 consensus top 10 recruit, spent his first three years after immigrating from Haiti at Evangelical Christian School. He transferred to Lausanne Collegiate School for his senior year, but state officials ruled him ineligible to play there because he had participated in spring practice at Evangelical Christian.

What Rivals.com's Eric Bossi contends is that Labissiere may attempt to remain enrolled at Lausanne Collegiate School for his academics but still play for Reach Your Dream Prep. Reach Your Dream Prep would compete against teams outside the sphere of Tennessee high school basketball — presumably home school teams and fellow prep schools.

If Labissiere indeed attempts to play for Reach Your Dream Prep or take classes there, that will probably only increase concerns about his college eligibility and heighten speculation he may pull an Emmanuel Mudiay and play overseas. The NCAA's recent crackdown on shady prep schools targeted institutions with far more infrastructure in place than it appears Reach You Dream Prep currently has.

Among the schools recruiting Labissiere are Memphis, Kentucky, Baylor, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgetown. Labissiere has said he could commit to one of those schools as soon as November.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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