SAN ANTONIO - St. Anthony Catholic High School has relieved Jeff Merritt of his basketball head coaching duties weeks into regular season, and only months after he got the position.
St. Anthony principal Dr. Rene Escobedo released a statement on Thursday that read in part:
“This action follows a decision made Tuesday night by Coach Merritt to allow a student to play who was recently ruled ineligible by the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS), at the boys’ basketball game versus Beeville Jones High School. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
The student who played in Tuesday’s game is reportedly sophomore Charles Bassey. On Nov. 17, TAPPS ruled that Bassey and three other players were ineligible to play for the St. Anthony’s boys basketball team.
Bassey is 6 feet 10 inches tall, and one of the highest-rated sophomore recruits in the country. ESPN ranked Bassey the No. 2 overall for the class of 2019.
A source tells KSAT that Merritt played Bassey in part because Bassey wanted to stay at St. Anthony’s this year, despite an opportunity to play for another area prep school.
That coincides with a tweet sent by the St. Anthony’s Admissions Twitter feed on Nov. 22 that quoted Bassey saying: “I’m going to stay…because I love this school…”
Merritt’s dismissal is the latest turn in the St. Anthony’s basketball saga. Merritt was hired in July to lead a St. Anthony’s team that went 32-6 last season with Bassey in the lineup and advanced to the TAPPS Class 5A finals.
The team has struggled this season to make up for the loss of those players. As of Thursday, Bassey was still enrolled at the school.
In response to the TAPPS’ ruling, a petition was filed on Change.org that requests St. Anthony’s Catholic High School leave TAPPS.
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