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Why do Mater Dei grads keep transferring?

9/15/2011

North Carolina coach Roy Williams couldn't believe what he was hearing when Dave Wear, the father of twins David and Travis Wear, called him one evening last May to request scholarship releases for the forwards. The Tar Heels were losing two rising 6-foot-10 sophomores and former McDonald's All-Americans, and Williams was left issuing a prepared statement to express how the transfers "came as a complete surprise."

Then in January, it was Mike Montgomery who announced his disappointment that shooting guard Gary Franklin had abruptly decided to transfer only 13 games into his freshman season, leaving the Cal coach without one of his top-100 recruits.

The three former teammates at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., are set to become eligible again this season -- the Wear twins enrolled at UCLA and Franklin ended up at Baylor. Both programs were thrilled to land the impact transfers after having finished as runners-up while recruiting them out of the prep powerhouse.

But why are college basketball players from Mater Dei, one of the top prospect-producing high schools on the West Coast, transferring at a steady rate? When Franklin stunned Cal with his departure, it marked the fourth consecutive Mater Dei graduating class in which at least one Division I player went on to switch schools.

The current streak began in 2008 when Taylor King transferred to Villanova after his freshman season at Duke. A former McDonald's All-American himself, King eventually left Nova as well following a violation of team rules. He has returned to Southern California to play for NAIA Concordia.

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