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Stone Bridge pair transfers to Middleburg Academy

photoStone Bridge’s high scoring guard Nik Brown, with ball, will suit up for Middleburg Academy in his senior season.—Times-Mirror File Photo/Raymond Thompson

Reigning AAA Liberty District Player of the Year Nik Brown, one of the Washington area’s top scorers last season with an average of 22.2 points per game, recently announced his transfer from Stone Bridge High School to Middleburg Academy.

Bulldog teammate Jimmy Paige will also transfer to Middleburg.

Brown, a rising senior, and Paige, a promising rising sophomore, are the first two high-profile transfers to Middleburg—formerly known as Notre Dame Academy—since former Herndon High School coach Gary Hall took over the Middleburg boys’ basketball program in April.

“I felt like at Stone Bridge I did all I could do ... the move is nothing against Stone Bridge or coach [Sonny] Green,” Brown said July 23 from Las Vegas, where he was preparing for a showcase basketball tournament.

Brown, a 6-foot-3 guard, said Middleburg’s strong schedule was a major factor in his decision.

“The competition we will be playing will give me a chance to play against the best guards, not only in this area, but in the entire D.C. metro area,” he said. “Jimmy is like my little brother so it makes [the move] easier.”

Hall said the 6-foot-5 Paige will benefit from getting three full years at Middleburg. Hall, who coached Villanova University’s All-American guard Scottie Reynolds at Herndon, said the two Bulldogs remind him of Reynolds – not only because of their basketball skills but also because of their character.

Hall admitted that the transition from public to private high school coach has had its ups and downs for him.

“It has been exciting and at times frustrating. It has been a roller coaster of emotions,” Hall said. “The relationship between the public and private schools ... that is tough.”

Hall envisions Brown as a point guard at the college level, and thinks Paige has NCAA Division I potential as well.

“They had to weigh the pros and cons, and the families made the decision that Middleburg Academy gives their sons the opportunity to reach their goal,” Hall said.

Paige, along with two returning sophomores at Middleburg—Drew Henry and Stephen Sheppard—give Hall something to build on, but Brown immediately gives the school scoring power.

“This gives the program some legitimacy and credibility,” Hall said.

While the former Notre Dame Academy athletic program was at odds with the public high schools in Loudoun, Hall, who was an assistant at Briar Woods for several years after stepping down at Herndon, stressed that he hoped to have a good relationship with the local public schools.

Middleburg Academy will play in a Briar Woods holiday tournament this winter. Hall said an effort to schedule defending AA Division 4 state champion Potomac Falls did not work out but that his team will open at Herndon next season.


What is wrong with transferring for both athletic and academic reasons or only for athletic reasons, IF THE ACADEMICS DON’T SUFFER?

On the other hand athletics improve the profile of schools so what’s wrong with a private school trying to better their program’s notoreity through sports?

$18k per year tuition at MA could go a long way for any college.

WHY spend the money on MA that is very behind with their Technology.  It’s an old school that is charging way to much for what they provide.

Private vs public—- at the end of the day, it’s the parents’ decision.

Small class sizes, individual attention,subpar athletic facilities for $18,000+ vs $1500 a year (fees, dinners, uniform extras, PTOs, etc.),  15 -35 students per class, tenured teachers, the big pond, better than average atheltic facilities.

Each school option offering valuable life lessons. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s right for your child, family and you. 

Why bemoan the loss of a public school athlete?  or question the value of a private school education? It’s a very personal decision—one each parent should make carefully.

My daughter a sophomore also transferred to MA. So did some other gorls. Why? Not for sports. She was a varsity Volleyball and Basketball player at her old high school. MA doesn’t have a Volleyball team. We hope that she will benifit from the smaller class sizes.

Mohamed Alie-Cox power forward from south county Lorton also trasnferred in to MA and reclassified as a Jr.  Dropped SoCo from district favorite to middle of the pack.

I don’t think there is angst over this matter, because it’s blazingly clear, at least for Brown, that this was a transfer for athletic purposes. And there is nothing wrong with that, if as you put it, his dreams and aspirations are of playing college and/or professionial b-ball, and academics are something that may come along for the ride with that. Ultimately, and statistically speaking, he will need his education to get through life far more than his b-ball skills. I support Brown for trying to improve his athletic exposure and get the best scholarship he can get. I hope he goes to Duke, and graduates from there and has fond memories of his b-ball days as he parlays his Duke connections to get a nice job and becomes a regular joe tax-payer.

Young Men and Boys both have desires and career aspirations.  (Women and Girls too).

I have a few children, and they all have different needs, wants and desires.  Some want to be professional athletes, and some want to be dentists.  Isn’t it a parent’s desire to give their children all the possibilities available.  If (MA and Hall) offer an athlete an opportunity that may (or may not) be better for acquisition of the dream; why is it for others to criticize the athlete’s dream.  If the student athlete is also talented academically, then more/better/greater (:)) ...possibilities..  I don’t know why the angst and the tainted discussion..

MA may be better at providing visibility for an athlete, and it may be better academically.  Let the parent decide and de done!!

M, agree w/ all your points, thanks for explaining another past local experience. Can I ask, were any of those girls who transferred to ND seniors? That’s what makes Nik Brown’s transfer appear to me to be largely for athletic reasons (again, nothing wrong w/ that IMO, I’m over the fact that this coach recruited these players from a public school to come and do something special at a private school. Outside the state HS federation rules, MA can make their own rules basically, which can be advantageous in spotlighting your players and gaining notoriety. In basketball, 2 stud players can go a long way in carrying a team to success. A kid scoring 35 a game gets press, invitations to AAU and all-star contests (McDonalds AA), all of which gets the MA name out there. All that is well worth the price of whatever type of scholarship Nik may get for his one year of service, er attendance, at MA. But good for him!! 

Anyone know - has he chosen a college yet? What schools have offered scholarships? What are his AAU stats like this summer? Has he been offered a spot to all-star type events after the HS season (ie, 2011 winter/spring)?

It is an interesting conversation though I don’t know why anyone would be vilified for whatever reason he transferred. Let me ask this. When the Broad Run girls transferred to Notre Dame several years ago, including Nik Brown’s sister, the Broad Run principal called the Brown family and talked about the pros and cons of going to public vs. private school. Would the principal have called Jane Doe if Jane Doe had transferred to Notre Dame and was not an athlete. At that time Broad Run fans and parents of players were a little miffed that two star players left and potentially deprived Broad Run of being a potential 3-year contender for the state championship. And you know what Kristen Brown parleyed her experience at Notre Dame into? An academic scholarship to UNC. I am not saying Nik is looking to parlay his time at Middleburg into an academic scholarship. We know of many people around the country who go to high school or college with certain goals. In this day and age, many athletes make choices based on trying to get an academic scholarship and this is likely to be the case. So what. He has to retain his academic eligibility and will.  Middleburg is not a sports factory like Oak Hill is. There was a stretch at Notre Dame when the boys program didn’t have accountability and the girls program was run with a blank check by Mike Teasley. But now there is greater scrutiny so he will continue to have an academic background along with his athletic experience.

It is simply interesting to see the reactions from the public schools population. For some it is like a betrayal when someone leaves. And there is talk about academics and going to a private school for athletic reasons. But 99% of the reasons the public school reaction is the way it is is not because they bemoan the loss of a academic student. They bemoan the loss of an athlete who could help the athletic program.

The reality is that exposure and recruiting to the collegiate level is not very good within loudoun county public schools for any sport.  The athletes that have gone on to make it collegiatley have had their parents act as their agents because public school coaches and ADs will not for the most part do this.  There are exceptions (Coach Thompson/SB Football).

These two athletes probably felt they needed the assistance of a prep school with coaches and an athletic department that actually work to help stident athletes find great opportunities.

Sorry y’all, I’m not convinced. I see no over-riding academic benefit for an already 3.0+ student to - just 2 months before the start of his senior year of high school - ‘announce’ his transfer to a private academy, except for the increased athletic exposure from being able to play teams outside the confines of VA scholastic, Dulles District league play, and to play for this Coach Hall, who has connections and a reputation beyond those of most H.S. coaches. MA is independent, and thus doesn’t have to play by the State rules, and go wherever to play whoever.  You watch, they’ll now go somewhere ‘warm’ for a holiday tournament, sponsored by an athletic company.  A lot of top tier college (& subsequent NBA) players end up at private schools (ala Oak Hill Academy - http://www.oakhillhoops.com/records_stats/ncaa.html , http://www.oakhillhoops.com/records_stats/nba.html - ) - so they can do just this, gaining personal exposure and accolades as they build their own hype so as to get the best scholarship possible. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with it-but we should recognize this for what it is. And it’s nice to hear he’s already a good student, so just maybe, he’ll parlay this b-ball skills into an education he otherwise might not have been able to get.

It is very sad to see that in this day and age that there are soo many people who would rather talk trash about a kid (kids) who see an opportunity for something they and their families believe is going to help them reach the next level instead of focusing on what they themselves need to do to reach greater things.  I have always found it funny how quickly people will turn on one another as soon as someone does something to help themselves better any situations.  I believe people are called

BOTH men have trememndous talents on the court but are even more gifted in the classroom with 3.0s and above. What teenager do you know that in an interview about a sports related issue will bring up academics without being asked about. With seeing them both play I know that coach Hall one of the best coaches ever in Virginia Public School history has the right players. Brown going into his senior year is making a choice “not for the spotlight” but the exact opposite if he wanted that then he would not decide to make a decesion like this. So unless you have walked that walk your self before then dont talk the talk like you have.

Coach Hall is the most overrated coach in Virgina history. How many State Championships does he have? His claim to fame in Reynolds is a kid who couldn’t even get drafted in the NBA. I’ve seen these two kids play too, they are overrated and deserve Coach Hall. A paper Champion match made in heaven.

I just happen to know the situation quite intimately. Bottom line…Great Academics + Great Coach = Wonderful situation for any talented student athlete.
      ~The End

Well, well, well…after hearing I needed to do some “research”, I did just that. Guess who transferred to Stone Bridge for his junior year from a private school - Nik Brown.  So it seems he’s doing a “1-and-done” at SB, and taking the next offer and going back to private school. Very interesting. I don’t know the young man’s situation, history, reasoning, family, etc., so all I can do is look at the surface of all this. And it says this guy is playing the star athlete game of going where the spotlight will be on HIM. Not the team. Then he and the younger kid decide to transfer to MA. Does this not sound a little like LB/DW/Bosh colluding to end up in Miami? Come on RG - I’ve got to assume you knew this much about the young man, and you probably know more, but this is now a trend of athletic transferring if I’ve ever seen one.


Our student went from a 3.6 GPA to a 4.0.  I attribute this to the smaller class size and the excellent teachers.  Communication between teachers and parents and all the staff at MA far exceeds any from a public school where students tend to fall through the cracks daily. And how many public HS coaches are even going to help an athelete get noticed and possibly get a scholarship?  Not many from what I have seen and dealt with.

Pay2Learn - if you are correct, then these boys families will be paying 100% of the approx. $18,000 tuition themselves. That is fine. I’m just trying to add things up and see how this is purely for academic reasons (as RG wants to make it out as), while clarifying the financial impact of going from public to private school. Especially the senior - if only for academic reasons, that’s a huge amount of money to pay for the last year of school, when traditionally, a college application and choice is made sometime in the fall of that senior year (ie, in the next few months) at the latest. RG says “these guys are outstanding students academically”. If they are outstanding at SB, why transfer, esp. the senior? I would bet that many students of high academic standing from SB go on to Ivy League schools and the UVa / W&M class of universities every year. Why the need to go to a private school (which RG says can provide “a superior education” from that at SB).

Apologists to the truth should just admit this is about athletics and leave it at that. Next, you’ll tell me John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are going to continue taking college courses at UK as they start their pro basketball careers :).

“my my” get a life - you were probably part of the problem years ago which is why you are so bent on slandering a great school.

Pay2learn….not bitter.  Nice of you to tout the school line.  But, you do not know all you think you do.  Perhaps you should threaten to take your “exceptional”(your word not mine) athlete somewhere else and see what tuition deal you can make then.  Sounds like you haven’t done enough of your own research.  Same old, same old.

“Pay the lads” there are NO scholarships, there is limited tuition assistance based on parent ability to pay.  It is on awarded on a first come, first serve basis need basis.  Families re-applying for assistance do so in the spring - hence students transferring into MA during the year and applying/transferring during the summer months and are asking for assistance have little, if any, funds left in the pool to be awarded.

Pay2Learn - please tell us all then what type of scholarships are currently being provided student-athletes at MA, and what the 2 young men in the story will be receiving. They start school in a month or so, so their tuition situation should be pretty well settled one would think (after all, they “announced” their intention to attend to the public, for publication in the LTM (re: LeBron James “The Decision” ?!?@).

Wrong “my my”—as a parent of an exceptional athlete currently at MA maybe you should check your facts out first - no one is getting a “full ride” to play sports.  Sounds to me your just a little bitter.

Didn’t take Middleburg Academy to fall back into the very practice of poaching athletes that they claimed they wouldn’t do two years ago.  Lots of things said two years by the board and new headmistress—-apparently reality has set it and they now realize they need to resurrect the warped sports programs that existed there before.  Good luck to these players…pretty sure the parents aren’t paying much of anything…just like in the good old days.

And I do need to note a mistake, I originally stated the athletes were following their former coach, I was wrong (Hall was H.C. at Herdon, then asst. at Briar Woods). But Coach Hall knew these kids already, and transferring to a private school does not require a residency change (they couldn’t tranfer high schools w/in the LCPS system without moving to w/in that attendance boundary).  I fault none of them for any of it. But call it what it is. What senior tranfers after all the success he’s had at SB? To make a bigger name for himself, a last chance at a D-1 scholarship, where he can highlight himself even more. Good for him!! I hope he gets what he’s striving for.

RG - it’s clear you have a personal interest in these boys, so your opinion is certainly slanted toward defending them, and thus, a biased opinion from the get-go.

This article is 100% about them transferring to Middleburg for athletic reasons. Not one mention of academics. May I quote the article: “I felt like at Stone Bridge I did all I could do ... “, “The competition we will be playing will give me a chance to play against the best guards, not only in this area, but in the entire D.C. metro area”.  Did either boy say “man, the chem lab at Middleburg is so better than that at Stone Bridge, I’m looking to take my chemistry experience to a new level”. No. If your head is in the sand and you can’t bring yourself to admit that this was purely an athletic choice, meant to spot-light them for college recruitment, they YOU need to see one of your colleague therapists for a reality check.  Now, if in the pursuit of a college athletic scholarship, the boys then get a better college education than they could do based on their own academic credentials, fine, I have no problem, in fact, I hope that is why they are so in tune with furthering their basketball abilities and future.  Let us look at the financial aspect for a sec - unless these students are given scholarships TO Middleburg, which again is not mentioned, then the parents will go from essentially a free public eduation (they will continue to pay the same property taxes no matter where they live, as long as they own a home) to paying $18K a year ($54K total for the sophomore). If that ultimately translates to a full ride to college, that’s a great investment, saving the $60K+ (conservative $15K/yr for 4 years) minimum in tuition costs. So, it better be all about the academics.

I’ve been around a while, and I’ve seen students transfer around for athletic purposes many times. All it takes is the parents moving to a different district, and no one can question it. But sometimes, the students don’t live in the district, and somehow still do it. Lots of history of this. And we see it happen a lot in college too, coaches move, athletes seek transfer to follow coach. That athlete didn’t all of a sudden want a major their school didn’t offer and miraculously, the school the coach went to does. Grow up and realize what big-time sports is - business.

Hall did not coach these guys in the past. And even if he did isn’t it a good thing to present someone with a better opportunity.  When my boss leaves my organization or moves up to Senior VP, I only hope she will remember me.  I would do the same for any of my colleagues should I move up and/or on.

I disagree with “disgusted”—Academic wise Middleburg Academy has smaller class sizes and focus on acheivement.  Athletic wise there is a no cut policy.  If your son or daughter can get a better education AND excell in a sport it’s just the frosting on the cake.  You can not fault the the parents for having the extra money to enable their child a better education.  Stop your whinning—this article IS in the sports section - not the Schools section - not that it matters.

Hey Mr. /Ms Disgusted, 
Perhaps you aren’t aware of the fact that both of these guys are outstanding students academically looking for a superior education in addition to potentially great sports…they are in the perfect situation for what they have to offer and what Middleburg has to provide.
Perhaps you should have done your homework just as they have done theirs.  How ignorant do you have to be…? If you really knew what you were talking about you would understand that Coach Hall isn’t about non-sense.  He could have recruited talent much better that both of them, but he is looking for an overall student athlete—how atrocious is that???  Go look for a job and I’ll bet they also will be looking for the best overall candidates—how disgusting is that???  Amazing how haters can turn good things into bad.  You obviously are someone who has been affected by this situation.  Move on to better things because that is where they are going.
Ask anyone who knows either of them and you will find that you couldn’t meet 2 nicer young, responsible, bright and talented young men and role models—so why take such a cheap shot like this at youth.  Not as if they don

Purely for athletic purposes. High school coach recruiting and poaching from his former team. No mention of an academic reason for transferring. No mention of the average tuition of $18,000 per year. My eyes are wide open over what is going on here - are yours??


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