t Decatur all-league point guard will give Eagles another weapon
The future already looked bright for the Federal Way High School boys basketball team. The Eagles finished second at the Class 4A State Boys Basketball Championships last month.
It looks even brighter now.
The Eagles, who lost to Ferris High School in the state championship game in Tacoma, have reportedly added former Decatur point guard Michael Hale, according to Gator head coach Kevin Olson.
Hale has played the last two seasons at Decatur, earning All-South Puget Sound League first-team honors as a junior and second-team as a sophomore.
This season, Decatur tied with Kentridge and Kentwood for the SPSL North title and finished sixth at the state tournament, after losing to Federal Way in the semifinals. Decatur has played at the state tournament the last two years and won the West Central District title in 2007.
Hale informed Olson of his decision to transfer to Federal Way on Thursday, just hours before the Gators’ season-ending banquet.
The Eagles and longtime head coach Jerome Collins were already set to return four of the five starters from the state runner-up team, including guards Jeff Forbes, Isiah Umipig and Andre Barrington, along with 6-foot-6 post Cole Dickerson. All four averaged more than eight points a game.
Hale was the floor leader the past two seasons for the Gators. The 5-7 junior averaged 14.2 points, three rebounds and five assists this year and will be one of the top returning point guards in the state next season.
The Gators are set to lose All-SPSL first-teamers Marcus Tibbs and Darious Walker to graduation, but will return starters Cameron Schilling and Jerron Smith next season.
Federal Way and Decatur will also be playing in opposite divisions of the SPSL in the fall. Federal Way will remain in the SPSL North Division, along with Jefferson, Tahoma, Auburn, Auburn Riverside, Kent-Meridian, Kentridge, Kentwood and Kentlake. Decatur will be moving back to the South Division with Beamer, Curtis, Bethel, Graham-Kapowsin, Emerald Ridge, Spanaway Lake, Puyallup and Rogers.
Hale is the latest in a long line of accomplished basketball players to transfer to Federal Way High School after playing for other district programs earlier in their careers.
Since the 2001 basketball season, 10 student-athletes have played varsity games at either Decatur, Jefferson or Beamer before transferring into the Federal Way High School program. Hale is set to be the 11th.
A bulk of the transfers have moved over from Decatur, including players like William Reece, Elon Langston, Jon Flood, Michael Brooks, Anwar Asadi and Trey Williams.
Beamer also lost a pair of varsity players to Federal Way in 2006, when Marques Hollins and Daniel Young transferred into the Eagle program after former Titan coach Jarrett Mentink resigned.
Jefferson also lost a pair of players to Federal Way in 2002, when Myron Hennings and Dominique Degrate withdrew from TJ the day after the Raiders’ final game of the season.
The transfers are able to happen because the Federal Way School District employs Choice Enrollment. The policy was introduced more than a decade ago to give students a chance to attend a school that allows the best flexibility to succeed in their overall educational experience. Choice Enrollment is used by nearly 3,000 students within the school district.
Despite all the usage across the district, the policy has drawn a lot of attention over the years because of several high-profile athletes transferring from school to school using the Choice Enrollment policy.
All student-athletes requesting transfers must meet the eligibility requirements of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and Federal Way Public Schools.
Students in high school applying for a Choice Enrollment school that is not in the same “feeder” area as the school they currently attend are allowed to transfer one time during this four-year period without penalty. After each additional transfer, a student loses interscholastic eligibility until one calendar year after the student first attends the new school, according to the district.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org