Michelle Cadeau, Elliot’s mother who works at The Patrick School, also loves the idea of the new school. “This is like a dream come true for a lot of us parents, especially if our kids are high-level basketball players,” she said. “It’s been hard to find a place that has the same academic rigor as basketball development.” Since we first wrote about the school last week, some 40 people have reached out to Chris Chavannes, the principal and head coach of The Patrick School who is involved in the start-up but won’t coach the new program. Former Rutgers coach Mike Rice has been linked to the position, while legendary former St. Anthony’s coach Bob Hurley turned down the opportunity. Chavannes said the coaching search is wide open at this point. “We want to have somebody who’s very experienced,” Chavannes said of the coaching search. “We’ve gotten a number of phone calls from people out of the country, people from the United States that are now coaching overseas that want to apply. And we had a number of people from colleges as well as high school coaches from Oak Hill and IMG. We probably had about 40 people contact us last week that are now interested.” The Patrick School currently features a high school team that plays a state and national schedule, a national team that plays a prep schedule and several Academy teams comprised of younger players. Chavannes said the new Academy would also feature multiple teams, and his hope is that many of the more talented players from the Patrick School end up in Princeton, where they would compete at the highest level.
Greetings from Princeton NJ where they are announcing a new IMG-type academy that will launch a basketball team next year. I wrote about it the other day and will have more today. pic.twitter.com/vdJD98KryU— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) January 28, 2019
The Academy is the brainchild of Chinese businessman Jack Li, who reportedly spent spent more than $20 million in 2014 setting up the Sino-US Science, Culture and Sports Association (SUSCS) at this same site in Princeton. Li is working closely with several people, including Martin Whitfield, a Plainfield, N.J. native and former player at the University of Texas-San Antonio. The main building that will house the new Academy is separated into two areas: half is the Wilberforce School, a K-12 Christian education school with fully-equipped conference rooms and a large multimedia room; the other half is the Windsor Athletic club, with an indoor swimming pool, a basketball court and gyms. There are also three large tennis bubbles on the grounds that could be used for indoor training for various sports in cold weather.
They have a nice gym at the Princeton Academy. Sources said Nike may be involved as a sponsor of all the teams. pic.twitter.com/PtqdBoP7YV— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) January 28, 2019
Dave Lipman, who is on the Board of Directors at The Patrick School and is working with the new Academy, said his hope is that it could one day become New Jersey’s version of IMG Academy, which sits on 450 acres in Bradenton, Fla. and is a nationally respected brand. “IMG began as a tennis camp run by Nick Bollettieri. It then grew and has changed ownership four times,” Lipman said. “They now have eight sports on 550 acres in Florida. It has 1,000 student-athletes, half of them are from overseas. They are now owned by the William Morris Agency, they’re for-profit, because not only do they develop the stars of the future, they handle their contracts and endorsements and everything else. “So it’s become a big business. I think over the next 5-10 years, the way we look at basketball at all levels is going to change and we hope to be at the forefront of that change.” James Watson is intrigued by what the Academy has to offer his two sons. He said several elite basketball schools in the state have already reached out, but he likes the idea of being part of a trailblazing program that could eventually challenge the Montverdes and Oak Hills of the world.
They also have a Junior Olympic pool here at the Princeton Academy. pic.twitter.com/RLUHLOw9eL— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) January 28, 2019