Before Memorial High could find out just how good its basketball team could be thanks to influx of talent over the summer, the Panthers lost a key player.
Point guard Nimari Burnett, a freshman All-American last season in Chicago, elected not to transfer to Memorial and instead has enrolled at Prolific Prep in Napa.
Burnett, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, is considered to be in the upper levels of the 2020 recruiting class, with offers from Illinois and DePaul.
“Nimari was registered and everything,” Memorial coach Brad Roznovsky said. “He had a chance to go to a prep school and he’s chosen to go the prep school path. When you’re a high-profile player, you get those opportunities sometimes.”
Prolific Prep, located about an hour north of San Francisco, specializes in helping elite-level players earn a college scholarship and plays higher-level competition around the country.
Memorial still has Jalen Green, perhaps the most talented player in the Fresno area.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore has received offers from Duke and North Carolina and is ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2020 by Rivals.com.
In addition, 6-foot-6 transfer Dameane Douglas, who averaged roughly 30 points per game last season at Hanford West, has seven offers, most notably from Loyola Marymount.
Guard Lunden Taylor, a 6-3 senior and two-time County/Metro Athletic Conference MVP, picked up an offer from UC Riverside.
And 6-6 forward Jonah Geron, who’s considered to have one of the best outside touches in the Central Section, announced on Twitter that he will continue his career at Washington as a preferred walk-on.
Geron had offers from smaller schools, including Montana State, but decided to try to earn a scholarship over time at Washington.
“I understand that I probably won’t play my first two years,” Geron said. “But if I accepted an offer from a small D-I school, there’s no gurantee I’d play early either.
“The coaches basically told me that I had a spot on the team and I just need to work and prove that I deserve a scholarship.”
We won’t have Nimari. But I think we’re still going to be a very good team.
Memorial senior Jonah Geron on losing freshman All American Nimari Burnett
“We won’t have Nimari,” Geron said. “But I think we’re still going to be a very good team.”