May 24, 2019 - 4:28 pm
Updated May 24, 2019 - 6:23 pm
Findlay Prep might have played its final basketball game.
At least for the next year.
The program that has won three National High School Invitational championships and had a run of 11 consecutive appearances in the national tournament halted this year isn’t expected to field a team next season.
And it’s uncertain if the Pilots will take the court again.
“We don’t know yet,” said Robbie Findlay, director of operations for the Findlay Automotive Group. “We’re planning to take a year off and try to find a new campus. There’s a chance (the program would end) unless we find a good fit.”
The Pilots finished their 13th season as a partner with Henderson International and used the school’s gym as their home court.
The two sides, though, have paused their relationship.
“We have been working on a resolution for the past couple of years,” Henderson International headmaster Seth Ahlborn said. “We’ve had a great run. We have a great relationship. We just have to hit a pause button.”
Findlay called the agreement “a mutual decision to go a different direction,” leaving Findlay Prep without an accredited school to call home.
“We need a few more amenities to take Findlay Prep to the next level,” Findlay said. “We’ve looked at various options, but nothing is suitable for the student-athletes. I don’t think we’re even sure what we need (in terms of amenities).”
Henderson International, a private school that is not affiliated with the Clark County School District, also is restarting its high school, which it closed in 2010, and restarting prep sports. Henderson International has approached the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association about rejoining the association.
“It’s better for us to take a break (with Findlay) than to not be able to do everything we want to do at the level we want to do it,” Ahlborn said. “Our intent is to make sure we provide the very best academic program and training for all of our students.”
Ahlborn left the door open to working with Findlay Prep in the future “if we can come to an agreement.”
Findlay Prep is a limited member of the NIAA and does not compete in Nevada’s postseason. The program’s agreement with the state was for it to not have Nevada residents playing on its team. Findlay Prep still was permitted to compete against a limited number of NIAA member schools during the season.
The program developed a rivalry with Bishop Gorman, which it played every year. Gorman won this year’s game 59-55.
The bulk of the Pilots’ games were against out-of-state prep teams, yet few programs experienced the success the Pilots have had.
Since starting the program in the 2006-07 season, Findlay Prep is 378-43. Fourteen former Pilots have played in the NBA, and three others — P.J. Washington, Bol Bol and Oshae Brisett — could be selected in next month’s NBA draft. Former Pilot Amir Garrett is a pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Pilots went 19-6 this year under Rodney Haddix, the program’s third head coach in four seasons and fifth in seven seasons.
“The coaching staff also will be off this year,” Findlay said. “But when we restart the program, they’ll be the first people we call.”
Findlay said he expected only two players to return for next season and that both will explore other “elite-level programs” to join.
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at email@example.com.
Among Findlay Prep’s highlights since starting the program in 2006:
— National championships (3): 2009, 2010, 2012
— National runner-up (1): 2008
— National semifinal appearances (9): 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018
— National tournament appearances: 11
— NBA players: 14
Findlay Prep players in NBA
Player; Year drafted; Pick; Team
Avery Bradley; 2010; No. 19; Celtics
Tristan Thompson; 2011; No. 4; Cavaliers
Cory Joseph; 2011; No. 29; Spurs
DeAndre Liggins; 2011; No. 53; Magic
Anthony Bennett; 2013; No. 1; Cavaliers
Jorge Gutierrez; 2014; Undrafted; Nets
Nick Johnson; 2014; No. 42; Rockets
Kelly Oubre Jr.; 2015; No. 15; Wizards
Rashad Vaughn; 2015; No. 17; Bucks
Christian Wood; 2015; Undrafted; 76ers
Dillon Brooks; 2017; No. 45; Rockets
Nigel Williams-Goss; 2017; No. 55; Jazz
Brandon Ashley; 2017; Undrafted; Mavericks
Allonzo Trier; 2018; Undrafted; Knicks