Class of 2018 point guard Jaden Lee is transferring from defending state champion Gilbert Christian to the Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix.
The academy recently joined forces with StarShine Academy to give the program an accredited academic status. The program’s goal is to become a national prep basketball power like Nevada’s Findlay Prep or Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy.
“I feel like it’s going to be better for me because it’s a prep national team,” Lee said. “I think it would be good for me because they are about to come up and, with a young cat like me, I can fit into that program really well.”
Lee isn’t the only one leaving Gilbert Christian for Hillcrest: senior Dontez Thomas and junior Nate Graville transferred earlier this month. The team is scheduled to face in-state teams as well as national programs like Findlay Prep, where former Perry High School guard Markus Howard recently transferred.
Lee said the lessons he learned from Gilbert Christian’s state title run, specifically incoming seniors Mitchell Lightfoot and Cameron Satterwhite, will help him develop as he becomes an upperclassman.
“A lot of it was leadership. I was a young kid on that team so they liked pushing (me), they had high expectations. I thank them for that and it helped me a lot. What I learned from them was to…push my teammates.”
And Lee is using this offseason to bring his game to the next level and leave his fingerprints all over the Hillcrest program.
“(My goals are) to get bigger and stronger and…try to lead this Hillcrest team even though I’m young,” Lee said. “When you think of Hillcrest, I want you to think of me.”