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St. Patrick, elite N.J. basketball program, is banned from postseason

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Not a good last few days for elite high school boys’ basketball programs. First, on Feb. 26, the high school behind faux high school program Findlay College Prep says it’s closing. Today, a federal judge in Newark denied St. Patrick, New Jersey’s No. 1 team, injunctive relief that would allow it to participate in the state tournament, as well as the ESPN RISE Tournament of Champions for the faux high school boys basketball national title.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association banned the Elizabeth, N.J., school because head coach Kevin Boyle held several illegal practices before the official start of the preseason — a charge Boyle has copped to. His athletic director got suspended for three months without pay for the rules violation, and St. Patrick offered to suspend Boyle if that got St. Patrick into the postseason. But no dice.

The St. Patrick case was full of questionable actors — including the NJSIAA. The case started when the father of two players transferring in from Texas called the NJSIAA to question how his estranged wife could afford to move there. The NJSIAA found no recruiting violations (and the players ended up back in Texas), but the NJSIAA — in what was to be an extremely controversial move — hired a private investigator to follow the players and videotape any goings-on. Sayeth Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage to the (Newark) Star-Ledger: “I find that extremely fascist on behalf of the NJSIAA.”

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Chris Bollwage dedicates this one to the NJSIAA.

By the way, who was that father who tipped off the jackbooted thugs at the NJSIAA? None other than Chris Washburn, one of the biggest busts of the bustfest that was the 1986 NBA draft. A bust so bad, No. 2 pick Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose before his first practice, and he arguably had a better legacy than Chris Washburn, the man taken behind him. Washburn lasted three years before the NBA drummed him out for repeatedly failing drug tests.  And now, here he stands, the voice of the rules of athletics.

cwChris Washburn, bringer of excitement.