Posted by Hernandez at it again?! on March 07, 2017 at 15:08:20:
Last year, Riverside Christian School’s boys basketball team lost all 14 of its games.
This year, newly christened as Carnegie Schools Riverside, it was on track to do the same, dropping its first four league games of the season, by large margins.
Then came the 11.
A cadre of international players — including a 7-foot center — had transferred to the school and, per CIF Southern Section regulations, had to sit out the first 30 days of the season. After that, they were ready to go.
They took on a new team name, the Wolverines, and they stomped the competition in the Division-6 Arrowhead League. Division 6 is usually reserved for the lowest performing teams. Carnegie won its final 10 league games by an average of 38 points, leaving coaches and players wondering what hit them.
Others wondered where and how. Where were these players from and how did they end up at a small private school in Riverside?
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CIF spokesman Thom Simmons said he could not confirm which nations the players are from due to privacy laws. A scan of various social media account showed players’ ties to Canada, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey.
School officials have been largely tight-lipped. When a reporter approached them several weeks ago about talking to the players, officials said the players could only speak with a coach present and questions could pertain only to the game they had just played.
When parents were approached at a playoff game between Carnegie and Lancaster Desert Christian, one woman mimed zipping her lips together, and they refused to speak about the team.
CIF officials have said that Carnegie — one of four schools operated by the Pasadena-based Carnegie Education Group — followed its rules and that officials had verified the players’ standings.
Kris Dryer, chairman of the school’s board of directors, said the players in question are just a few of about 100 international students attending Carnegie, out of a student body of 600.
Of the team’s top-four scorers — 7-foot senior center Luka Filipovic, 6-5 junior Kostas Altinis, 6-7 senior Nikola Ilic and 6-2 senior guard Kresimir Jerkov — three had transfers approved Dec. 15, according to the CIF Southern Section’s web site. All four were subject to the section’s mandated 30-day sit-out period that applied to transfer students.
Short of that, Sweeney seemed to think there were few regulations to hold the school back. In an interview shortly after he was hired, he expressed a free-wheeling philosophy in comparing the restrictions on public schools regarding attracting athletes, with “unlimited boundaries” private schools enjoy.
“At a private school,” Sweeney said, “you can get anyone from anywhere without restrictions.”
Sweeney didn’t get to realize that freedom. He was replaced with current coach Jose Hernandez before the season began. Sweeney declined to comment for this story.
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