By Jeremy Balan
(Developing story. Updates will be posted as we get them.)
Update (Friday, 6:30 p.m.): We still haven’t received any information from Georgetown or any other sources on how Domingo is enrolling early without a high school diploma, but we were able to catch up with one of his teammates, Albert Waters. Waters, who will be a senior in the fall and played on the varsity football and basketball teams last season, is not only a classmate and a teammate, but first played with Domingo on an AAU team in seventh grade.
Waters: “We found out from Stephen yesterday. He told a couple of friends and we talked about it in practice. There was a little bit of shock at first, because I’ve never heard of skipping your senior year to go straight to college . . . He’ll be missed as a player and as a friend, but I’m happy for him. It’s a great opportunity and Georgetown is a great school . . . As a team, we’ll have to work to fill the void of his scoring and everything else . . . No matter what, we’re trying to do our best, but we will use this as motivation. Not in a negative way, like we have to prove everybody wrong, but so that we can get the younger guys to grow and so that our class, as seniors, can set an example about overcoming obstacles.”
Update (2:40 p.m.): The one remaining facet of this story that still undetermined is how Domingo is able to enroll early at Georgetown without a high school diploma from St. Ignatius. We are still waiting to hear back from the Georgetown Sports Information Department, but we were able to confirm that he does not have enough credits to graduate from St. Ignatius at this time. We spoke to Carole Nickolai, the assistant principal for academics at St. Ignatius, on this topic.
Nickolai: “We’re not exactly sure [how he is enrolling early] on our end. He hasn’t met the high school graduation requirements for St. Ignatius, but I don’t know if he hasn’t fulfilled others at a different institution or received other qualifications to enroll at Georgetown . . . On June 11, he emailed me to confirm the courses he was interested in taking [for the upcoming school year] . . . We’re curious [how he is enrolling] on our end as well. We wish Stephen the best of luck, but we were quite surprised.”
Update (2 p.m.): Domingo’s greatest criticism throughout his high school career was a perceived reluctance to play in the post and in the paint. Many have intimated and explicitly stated that he essentially played high school basketball like he was going to play college basketball, rather than molding his game to have the most success at the high school level. Doug Benton, a sports analyst at NorCalPreps.com, spoke with us earlier today on this issue.
Benton: “Stephen was surrounded by controversy about his game during his high school career. His skill set, which earned him high national rankings, never matched his high school numbers. In the end, with the goal of playing Division I basketball and beyond, he achieved the first step in enrolling at a high-level university like Georgetown.”
Update (1 p.m.): We just got in contact with St. Ignatius athletic director John Mulkerrins. Here is his statement.
Mulkerrins: “The news came as a surprise to us, as SI was not included in the family’s decision to enroll early at Georgetown, but we wish him the best of luck . . . The decision is bigger than SI and/or Stephen. It effects schools locally and nationally. I feel that students should finish their senior years, because it is best for their development as a student and an athlete.”
Update (12:30 p.m.): We could only speak to St. Ignatius head coach Tim Reardon briefly this morning because of his summer-school schedule, but had an extended talk with him early in the afternoon. Here are his expanded thoughts on Domingo leaving for Georgetown.
Reardon: “Stephen’s goal has always been to play in the NBA and I wish him the best on that. I’m guessing that played a part in how he treated his high school career . . . It would have been fun to see if he developed into the kinda player everybody thought he was going to be. We are not going to get that chance now, at the high school level, at least. That part is sad. Him and Trevor [Dunbar] could have done exciting things in his senior year . . . The one thing that we were always told by his parents was that he was going to graduate from SI. I haven’t talked to his parents or to Stephen, but I didn’t know [enrolling early at Georgetown] was even in the conversation. I heard that rumor, but I had always dismissed it, because I didn’t think it was possible . . . I’d hate to see it become a trend, because I think most kids are not mature enough to step into that world before their senior year. I’m not saying that’s the case with Stephen, because he’s traveled the world with Team USA, and if anyone is ready and mature enough, it’s him . . . We’ll be smaller now, not that Stephen was a big force as a rebounder, but he was a 6-7 guy in the middle. We can be a guard-centered team now. [Albert] Waters is back and Trevor is back. We ran all summer long and we’ve changed the tempo of the game. Not to say we would use that against everyone, but it’s nice to have that option . . . In a way it will free players up to utilize their strengths, unlike before, when they would worry about getting Stephen enough shots or touches. They can worry about running the system and doing what you need to do to win, rather than worrying about a superstar, even though he didn’t put that label on himself . . . On the teams I’ve had that have won [Central Coast Section] championships, it hasn’t always been with guys who have NBA aspirations. It’s been with guys who just want to be good high school players and win. Sometimes those teams are the most successful.”
Update (11:10 a.m.): We’re still waiting to hear back from the St. Ignatius athletic department, but here are some reactions from Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach Darrell Barbour and Riordan head coach Rich Buckner.
Barbour: “Today’s culture is different in high school basketball. That’s why this decision doesn’t surprise me. Reclassifying, going to prep school and all of that has changed the culture . . . As a coach, I was really curious to see how we were going to do against him, with [Taylor Johns and Joshua Fox] gone. I was looking forward to that, to see how our kids would respond and play against his size. The same thing goes for [Mitty’s Aaron] Gordon. In one aspect, it gives you nightmares, but I want to see how my kids compete . . . Being a realist, this is what we have to deal with. Would I like it to happen to me? No, as a coach, I wouldn’t. You want your best players to stay, but at the same time, I can’t say it’s good or bad, because every person has to make the decisions that are best for them. Does it hurt high school basketball? Yeah, but I’m not in his shoes or his parents’ shoes. I tip my hat to him and wish him the best.”
Buckner: “First off, congratulations to Stephen and his family. This shows what hard work on and off the court can do for you . . . That being said, I don’t know if I should do a cartwheel or what right now. He was a Riordan killer . . . He’s a special talent and these things happen every 10 or 15 years, but on the flip side it does set a precedent. It’s good for him, but its bad for everyone else, especially SI. It’s bad that we’re losing the best player in San Francisco. We want to hold on to those guys.”
(Original story posted at 9 a.m.)
Stephen Domingo’s exit from St. Ignatius has been rumored for at least a year and the San Francisco native made it official yesterday, when his parents told the school’s administration that he would be enrolling early at Georgetown University, where he committed to play in in May.
Originally reported by PremierBall.com and confirmed by St. Ignatius head basketball coach Tim Reardon, Domingo is already in Washington, DC.
“From what I understand, he’s going to Georgetown next year and playing for Georgetown next year,” Reardon said. “I don’t know how that works, considering he didn’t graduate from high school, but that’s what his mother told our principal.”
Rumors of Domingo leaving have been pervasive all season and ranged from his early enrollment at Georgetown to him joining a prep school like Finley Prep in Nev. or Oak Hill Academy in Va.
He didn’t help the rumors when he made a non-committing comment on the issue in May.
“Right now, I’m a student at SI and spring workouts are going great,” Domingo said in May. “I’m excited and looking forward to playing summer ball with my guys.”
Domingo, a 6-foot-7 wing and three-year varsity player, led the Wildcats in scoring (13.3 points per game) and rebounding (five per game) in his junior season. He was named first-team All-West Catholic Athletic League in his junior season and was named second-team All-City by this publication.