Tuesday, June 24, 2014 | 2 a.m.
The local basketball players in the class of 2015 would rival almost any national group of area talent in their class. However, in recent weeks that group got a little smaller.
Nate Grimes, ranked No. 119 in the class according to Rivals, decided to transfer from Desert Pines High to Quality Education Academy, a public charter school in North Carolina.
“It’s a better move for him all the way around,” said Lamar Bigby, Grimes’ coach on the Las Vegas Knicks. “It’s better for him athletically, and it’s also going to help prepare him for college.”
Quality Education plays teams like Oak Hill Academy, one of the most consistent prep programs in the country. Because of NIAA rules that ban local entrants, transferring to Findlay Prep was not an option.
Grimes, who has more than 20 scholarship offers including USC, New Mexico, San Diego State and Minnesota, played one year of varsity basketball in the valley. Listed at 6-foot-8 and 190 pounds, he played on the ninth grade team at Cheyenne High and then was academically ineligible as a sophomore. He transferred and had a solid junior season that, combined with his performance on the Knicks, gained him attention.
He averaged 13.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for Desert Pines, helping the Jags reach the Division I-A state semifinals.
The remaining local class is still full of talent with Bishop Gorman’s Stephen Zimmerman (No. 4) and Chase Jeter (No. 17) leading the way, followed closely by Las Vegas High’s Ray Smith (No. 32). And as always, Findlay Prep is loaded again with class of 2015 players like Allonzo Trier (No. 38) and Horace Spencer (No. 79).