The Marmonte League rejected the transfer of 17-year-old student Derrick “Deejay” Brown after his coach had taken him under legal guardianship, prohibiting him from playing basketball.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Derrick Brown is originally from Brooklyn, New York and moved to California two years after his stepfather stabbed him and his mother in the face in a horrific 2008 attack.
The boy, who was once the topic of an ESPN story in 2009, enrolled in Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley but eventually left Stoneridge Prep and was taken in by Richard Endres and his wife. Endres is the basketball coach at Thousand Oaks High School.
Endres applied for a hardship transfer for Brown which was unanimously denied by the California Interscholastic Federation's Southern Section, known colloquially as CIF. He told The Times that Brown was a "very special case" for him.
“Their (CIF’s) purpose is to rule on things of this sort,” Endres said. “I went to the meeting to explain Deejay’s story. They didn’t even let me speak. This young man’s been through a lot. The biggest thing they’re upset about is he’s living with me,” Endres said, according to ESPNLA.
Endres says that rumors are swirling that the 5’10” teen already played very successfully for Thousand Oaks and if he joins another team, they will be unbeatable. He believes this has impacted the CIF’s decision, which is hurting a 17- year-old who has already had a rough life.
Brown’s mother is still back in Brooklyn and Endres says she keeps in touch and just wants her son to pursue his basketball dreams.
“She’s in contact all the time,” Endres said. “She wants him here with me. She’s told me, ‘You’ve helped my son more than anyone else has.’”
Endres also does not believe that the league or the CIF will approve the decision.
“The principals had their chance to do this right and they all passed on it,” Endres told ESPN. “We’re going to fight for him and do the best we can. I was very insulted. At least they could have let me be heard and let me tell the story.”
Nonetheless, Brown is practicing with the Thousand Oaks team and traveling with the players to tournaments and games.
There is a currently a petition for Derrick Brown called "Let Derrick Brown Play" on thepetitionsite.com. The site is seeking 5,000 signatures and has four as of Friday morning.