- Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider
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The NCAA has deemed two former players at Prime Prep, the school co-founded by ex-NFL star Deion Sanders, as non-qualifiers, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
Both Jordan Mickey, a consensus Top 50 player who is a freshman at LSU, and TCU freshman Karviar Shepherd (No. 77 in the ESPN100) were recently informed by the NCAA that they would not be eligible to play this season due to academic issues at Prime Prep.
Both players transferred to the Dallas-area school prior to their senior seasons. Prime Prep has been approved by the Texas Education Agency, along with the State Board of Education. Prime Prep is approved as a "Regular Instructional Open Enrollment Charter" as listed on the TEA's website.
Shepherd is a 6-foot-10, 225-pound Texas native who spent his first two seasons at DeSoto High in Dallas before transferring to Grace Prep in order to receive a private school education. He and Mickey both followed head basketball coach Ray Forsett from Grace Prep to Prime Prep before last season and were informed there would be no issues with the school being approved by the NCAA. They both had solid GPAs, were only one semester shy of qualifying and didn't need to change schools in order to be eligible.
The school even posted the following statement on its website on Jan. 8:
"We are pleased to announce that Prime Prep Academy has successfully completed all preliminary steps necessary for NCAA membership! As a result of this milestone, all prospective student athletes are eligible for individual review through the NCAA initial eligibility process. This will enable students to attend and receive scholarships from Division 1 and Division 2 college institutions. Once again, Prime Prep Academy continues to make strides for students both academically and in the athletic department. We anticipate a great partnership with the NCAA."
"The kids were misled by the school," one source told ESPN.com. "Everyone told them there wouldn't be any issues."
But now both players remain in limbo leading up to the start of the season. Sources told ESPN.com that both players will appeal the decision.
"These are two great kids who have done everything right and shouldn't be punished for being misled," a source told ESPN.com.
Prime Prep also boasts two of the elite high school players in the country. Point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is ranked No. 5 by ESPN.com in the Class of 2014 and 6-9 big man Elijah Thomas is ranked No. 5 in the Class of 2015.