Huntington Prep, the state’s best basketball program, was recently removed from their partnership with St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Huntington, West Virginia. Despite a ten year successful relationship with Huntington Prep, new St. Joseph’s principal Carol Templeton decided to end it effectively immediately.
Huntington Prep was a part of St. Joseph’s for over ten years and the players on the team went on to have incredibly successful careers on and off the court. Prep is consistently one of the top ten basketball programs in the nation and is home to the top high school level players in the world.
There is simply no question that Huntington Prep was a successful part of the Huntington community. It’s a baffling mystery as to why they were removed, but Huntington Prep is now left without a home. Coach Bruce said that Prep has already reached out to school’s in Huntington (where they would prefer to stay) and in Ohio. Whichever school ends up with Huntington Prep, they will be blessed with one of the best basketball programs in the country and fine young men that go through the program.
My QUESTION: Why not move Huntington Prep to Morgantown and make it Morgantown Prep? Imagine the nation’s top high school athletes attending school in Morgantown, where Mountaineer sports is life.
I spoke with Huntington Prep’s Arkell Bruce and asked him about the possibility of moving to Morgantown and he said, “We want to stay in the Huntington area.” However, if I was Bob Huggins, I would be on the phone with every Catholic high school in the area, pleading with them to bring Huntington Prep to Morgantown.
Getting kids on campus in Morgantown is one of the most difficult challenges for West Virginia University. It’s also pretty clear that once Huggins gets kids on campus, that they immediately fall in love with the city, the practice facility, the fans, with the atmosphere of Mountaineer athletics.
This is a perfect opportunity to take a bad situation and turn it into something truly beautiful and amazing. Last season alone, Huntington Prep had several Division One players on its roster, including Jaemyn Brakefield (Duke), AJ Hoggard (Michigan State), Zach Loveday (Baylor), Dudley Blackwell (Iowa State) and Isaiah Cottrell (West Virginia). If Prep was in Morgantown, it’s very likely that more than one or two of the players on the roster each season would end up staying in Morgantown to play for the Mountaineers. This would make recruiting so much easier and the West Virginia basketball program a powerhouse program every single year.