Curie opens the season tonight against Orr, but senior guard Maurice Commander won’t be on the floor and it is breaking his dad’s heart.
Commander transferred from Marist to Curie over the summer. Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois High School Association haven’t given a final ruling on Commander’s eligibility yet, so he can’t play in the game.
“I just feel like they are blackballing my son and it is personal,” Commander’s dad, Maurice Sr. said. “I’m trying to do it the right way. I think think it is personal with Marist and they are taking it out on my son for no reason. He shouldn’t be punished. I did the transfer the right way.”
Marist principal Larry Tucker says his school isn’t holding a grudge.
“That’s not who we are,” Tucker said. “We’ve had kids that have left and been eligible. I think the rules need to apply equally. I’m not exactly sure what the circumstances are. He’s a student at another school so I don’t know what else I can say. It’s absolutely not personal though.”
The Commanders say the move to Curie had nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with Maurice Sr.’s health problems. He has kidney disease.
“I’m a veteran and I’m disabled,” Commander Sr. said. “I worked for the Cook County Sheriff’s department. Our finances changed when we had to switch health insurance. I couldn’t afford my medical bills. I had to choose between my son’s education and living to see my son play. I made those sacrifices in the past for my son to go to Marist. But the financial situation piled up.”
The Commanders put aside their pride and submitted more than 40 pages of personal financial documents to the CPS.
“They said it wasn’t sufficient enough hardship, because we are making the same amount,” Commander said. “My income hasn’t changed but our bills have. And when we left Marist we struggled to pay them the bill so I could get my son’s transcripts.”
Commander went downtown to CPS headquarters on Thursday to get some answers. He didn’t want his son to miss the big game against Orr.
“I just wanted to talk to someone and I couldn’t get past the security guard,” Commander said. “They gave me the runaround. I turned in my paperwork, they waited until two days before the season started and then they blocked him. The season has started, the game is here and my son isn’t allowed to play.”
Commander is an excellent student, he has a 4.5 GPA and a scored a 29 on the ACT. He signed with Tennessee-Chattanooga earlier this month.
“I think it is a privilege to go to a Catholic school,” Commander said. “I did everything I could possibly do to put my son in a good situation. He’s an educated kid, we kept him off the streets, out of gangs. And now he hits a brick wall because a school is punishing him because he left the school.”
Commander said he understands that there are transfer rules, but said he’s done everything that’s been asked.
“My son should be allowed to participate and if they find something wrong, then they can sit him down,” Commander said. “I don’t think this is fair.”
Several basketball players left private schools for public schools this summer. The IHSA and CPS have investigated the transfers and so far most have been cleared to play. Marquise Walker, who transferred from St. Joseph to Curie, is playing in the game tonight, as is Chase Adams, who transferred from Marian Catholic to Orr.
The IHSA has not responded to a request for comment. The CPS says it is currently looking into the situation.Tags: Curie, Marist