Denver Prep Academy is closing after less than a year as an alternative pathway for elite high school boys’ basketball players.
DPA won’t offer classes in the fall or participate in the Grind Session, a national prep basketball circuit, as the school ‘regroups’ following a reshuffle of its leadership team . DPA co-founder Jonathan Barnett — CEO and president of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning — has stepped down as the school’s top benefactor.
“Jonathan Barnett is no longer involved with the Denver Prep Academy,” a spokesperson for Barnett told the Denver Post. “He resigned earlier this month due to philosophical and operational differences with other members of the organization. Additionally, Jonathan has put the gymnasium and dormitories he originally purchased in July last year up for sale.
“Jonathan’s passion for basketball and his desire to empower student-athletes remains constant despite these recent developments. Looking ahead, he has every intention of continuing to ensure that young basketball players have the opportunities they need to be their best, both on and off the court.
DPA’s remaining co-founders – Ray Valdez and Domonic Martinez – are tabling the project for at least a year, they said, with the expectation of a future reopening with new investors.
School is NCAA certified with coursework and proof of degree all required “in the initial eligibility certification process.” The DPA also received a three-year national accreditation in May from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which sets academic standards globally for approximately 5,200 public and private schools. according to its website.
“It is not the sad story that we are closing. It’s a story that needs to continue,” said Martinez, a longtime Denver Public Schools administrator and athletic director. “We will do nothing to jeopardize our accreditation. We can slow things down, recalibrate, reschedule and reopen. »
DPA is part of a growing trend of private schools in Colorado offering specialized basketball training that mimic the college experience. Class time is organized around early morning practice, afternoon practice sessions and games played on the national circuits to maximize exposure. Many DPA players lived together in a house next to the team’s training gymnasium. DPA rented classrooms from August to May in the Westwood Community Center with a team of five certified teachers.
The two most recruited players in the program both left the team in February: Baye Fall and Assane Diop. DPA added mid-season transfers who signed Division I scholarships to Keyshawn Hall (UNLV) and Juan Sebastian Gorosito (Portland). But several additional players were transferred from the team as well.
“With a limited number of students, that incoming capital was relatively low,” Martinez said. “We had a lot of local support. Jonathan Barnett’s outreach made this year possible where we didn’t have to cut corners. It was awesome. But, in the second year, in order for us to take the next step, we were going to need additional human capital. We were a small group running and doing everything.
DPA finished the basketball season with a .500 record (8-8). The school is now helping its remaining underclasses find new teams, said Valdez, DPA’s head basketball coach. There are currently no Colorado-based players on the roster. DPA still maintains an ambitious vision despite the setback.
“Where we want to go, it will take a bigger team,” Valdez said.
The school does not envisage the model of the academy – like Colorado Prep’s partnership with Belleview Christian — and plans to resume with its own curriculum, faculty and campus within “two to three years,” Valdez said. DPA operates under the non-profit association Building the future and is seeking new investors to provide funds to support DPA’s mission statement of “Inspiring achievement in our young people so they can dream bigger, grow stronger, and reach their true potential.” according to its website.
“It would take a big endowment by a group of people who believe in what we’re doing,” Martinez said. “Not just to operate next year, but to ensure that we operate for years to come.”