Alma mater days come to end for top player


I’ve never considered “old school” to be a derogatory term, especially since I’m more old-school than I sometimes want to admit.

I do have a cell phone and know enough about computers, digital cameras and a few other modern technological devices to survive as long as nothing goes haywire.

It is really convenient to use the cell phone but it gets a little out of control when you see six people sitting around a table at the restaurant waiting for their entrees and all are either talking, watching a video or playing on their phones or other devices.

When I heard that Ronnie DeGray III was not returning to Chaparral for his senior year of football and basketball and instead is attending a basketball prep school in Connecticut, it was hard not to become old-school.

There are obviously advantages of prep schools that specialize in certain sports, developmental academies in soccer or year-round club sports that don’t allow players to compete on high school teams.

It is an individual choice for athletes wanting to continue their academic studies in a prep school, but in most cases the biggest plus is the better competition in practice and games or matches against equally skilled players and the increased exposure to college recruiters.

The advantages are overwhelming and I understand why DeGray chose to head to the East Coast. But he was one of Colorado’s best returning players and the Wolverines are a talended team with a good chance to be a state contender.

“He had a blast playing in Colorado and it was tough leaving his friends,” said DeGray’s father and former Valor Christian coach Ronnie. “The opportunity for him to play in front and around more college talent to get him ready for college was too good. It was the kid’s decision.”

DeGray, a 6-foot-6 power forward, averaged 21 points and 6.6 rebounds a game last season, made 59 percent of his field goal attempts including 46 percent from 3-point range and helped the Wolverines post a 21-5 record.

My biggest argument against prep schools, developmental academies and early specialization is that athletes should enjoy playing in high school because it will probably be the last time that their sport is not considered a job.

But that’s a lingering old-school thought.

Oh mercy

According to CHSAANow.com, the baseball committee is recommending that the mercy rule be tweaked.

As it stands now, the mercy rule ends a game when one team is ahead by 10 runs after five innings. The committee would like to see the rule amended to state that the game will still end with one team in front by 10 runs after five innings but the game would also stop if a team is on top by 15 runs after four innings or 20 runs after three frames.

The committee’s recommendation will be voted on next month by the CHSAA’s board of directors.

This is a tweak that should be endorsed because nobody likes to play in or watch these kinds of games.

The committee also recommended a universal pitch count for both varsity and sub-varsity instead of the current different limits for the sub-varsity pitchers.

There was talk about adding a sixth classification, which I hope is nothing more than talk. There are too many classes already and no recommendation was made for this or for forming a top-level division of the top 16 or 24 teams and reclassifying the remaining schools. Postseason playoff formats were debated without any recommendations being made.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.


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