There’s been a lot of Hollywood-like controversy this week in Illinois high school basketball regarding whether the tiny school of Mooseheart violated recruiting rules when it brought three Sudanese students — Akim Nyang, Makur Puou and Mangisto Deng — into the school that’s part of what’s known as the Child City, a place that provides an education and safe housing for at-risk youth. The Big Three (Nyang is 7’1”, Puou is 6’9” and Deng is 6’7”) sat out from athletics last year per IHSA transfer rules and a fourth Sudanese student, Wal Khat, received a medal at state cross country this year with nary an eyebrow raised until this week when the IHSA revealed it was investigating claims of recruiting violations and suspended the players from competition.
The court system got involved and granted a restraining order against the IHSA and rescinded the suspension until a hearing next week, allowing them to play in last night’s game at Hinckley Big-Rock, which happens to be the alleged source that filed the recruiting violation complaint that got this all started.
Hinckley Big-Rock went on to win the game and it remains to be seen what happens at next week’s hearing, but here’s a couple images from the news story surrounding this game, which drew so much attention the school had to turn people away from its 1,500 person capacity gym a full hour before tipoff in a town that has a population of 2,000.
For some more great photos surrounding the Big Three, here’s a post from my buddy Brian Powers from earlier this week, and check out Scott Strazzante, who’s been following these kids for more than a year.