John Ese Orogun has confirmed he has enrolled in The Park School for his senior year.
But will the 6-foot-11 center with seven Division I offers be allowed to play basketball for the program he helped propel to the state Class A Federation Championship two years ago?
Orogun played last year for St. Benedict’s Preparatory in Newark, N.J. That came after helping Park as a sophomore win the New York State Class A Federation championship.
The Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association has a rule that prohibits student athletes who transfer into schools as seniors from participating in athletics, barring extenuating circumstances.
“I just wanted to be closer to my family and friends and finish it up where it started,” Orogun said of his reason for returning to Park. He didn’t respond when asked via direct message if he’d be allowed to play basketball.
Regarding Orogun’s eligibility status and whether Park applied/was applying for any eligibility waiver, the league was tight-lipped Friday.
“No comment,” said Pete Schneider, the Association’s Executive Director.
Park Athletic Director Marcus Hutchins hasn’t returned a message left for him.
Section VI Boys Basketball Chairman Larry Jones was asked about the situation. He said: “I think it’s no different than if your dad changed jobs and your dad went to Cleveland and then came back to the area. The Catholic league will have to decide if there’s an exception to the rule. If not, he would be eligible to play at a public school (in a district where he lives).”
One example of a senior at a private school transferring and maintaining athletic eligibility happened earlier this decade when Holy Angels Academy closed before basketball star Jont’ay Walton’s final season. She was allowed to play basketball at Cardinal O’Hara because circumstances out of her control deemed it necessary for her to transfer to another Catholic school. She helped the Hawks win the Class A Federation title that season.
Also, when Immaculata shut its doors a few years ago, the senior-to-be athletes were allowed to transfer to another Monsignor Martin school.
Orogun was a part of Park’s rotation of game-changing big men in which two of the three 6-foot-8 or taller players on the roster were on the court at the same time during the championship run. Orogun averaged 5.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
He heads into his senior year with offers from Big 12-school Oklahoma, University at Buffalo, UMass and Robert Morris.