All Connor MacDougall ever wanted to do was play basketball for Desert Vista.
He lived across the street and could see the school from his bedroom. His dream was to play in the Storm Center wearing the blue and gold of the Thunder.
He got that chance as a freshman and sophomore, but it abruptly came to an end and because of it his senior year of eligibility at Corona del Sol is in doubt.
According to his father, Lonny, the decision to leave Desert Vista for Westwind Prep before the 2012-13 school year wasn’t a basketball decision.
Without getting too much into the details, the MacDougalls decided being treated with respect by a member of the staff was much more important than finishing his career in a Desert Vista uniform. When their concerns were not addressed efficiently in their minds after meeting with the school’s administration, it was time to cut ties.
“Basketball is not who he is; it is what he does,” Lonny said. “We weren’t going to let someone do the some of the things that were said and done without saying something. When nothing was done we had a decision to make.”
MacDougall decided on Corona del Sol after considering Mountain Pointe and Hamilton. It is unclear whether or not he will be eligible this winter and won’t find out until a meeting with the Arizona Interscholastic Association in October.
The hang up is his time at Westwind Prep, which had its AIA membership rescinded around December 11. MacDougall was only enrolled for one semester before it was clear another change needed to be made.
“It was a combination of things,” the elder MacDougall said. “The least important thing in his life is basketball, character is more important. He needed to be re-awakened to the idea. The long term idea is about integrity and character.
“I saw a direction he was going and I didn’t like it. I knew how to fix it and it meant putting him in a different environment.”
That place was Corona and the family’s hope is the AIA will make him eligible so Connor can finish his high school career with the Aztecs, but I am guessing the organization wants to distance itself from Westwind as much as possible.
MacDougall might be used as an example.
The eligibility questions don’t end there as the NCAA has decided not to accept any of the core courses took during his 2012-13 school year by the players on the Westwind national team.
Former DV guard John Marshall was impacted as he was ruled ineligible at Southern Utah because his senior classroom work wasn't accepted by the NCAA, according to Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic.
MacDougall, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound highly-touted front court player already committed to Arizona State, took summer classes and took advantage of zero hour to retake three classes to make sure there is no question about his eligibility when it comes time to play for the Sun Devils.
He should be OK there, but whether or not he plays for the Aztecs is a different story.
Especially since the program he should be playing for has always been right across the street.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.