— Herald-Mail Sports (@HMMediaSports) February 21, 2017
(3-30-17) Just when you think you’ve heard it all, another wild and crazy transfer keeps making headlines. This is the story of 6’2 Point Guard Austin Boucher.
- Norwell Middle School – 8th grade
- Bellmont Middle School – repeated 8th grade (Norwell does not allow students to be held back a grade unless it is due to academic issues.)
- Ft. Wayne South Side – Freshman and Sophomore season
- Ft. Wayne North Side – Start of Junior Season
- St. James School (Hagerstown, Md.) – Junior season – late fall until March (left after second trimester finished)
- Ft. Wayne North Side – Junior Season (as of this writing)
So how did Boucher end up in the BIG city after living in the smaller communities outside of Ft. Wayne?
His dad Joel told the News-Sentinel:
“He wanted to play in the SAC, he wanted to go prove he could play. We wanted to send him to a diverse school and he wanted to play against high-level competition in the area.”
After his freshman year, he was named to the all-conference team, at South Side. Boucher told the Indy Star about his first season with the Archers:
“It went very well. I think I probably exceeded some personal expectations. After that first game, everything seemed normal. I felt like I belonged.”
His Sophomore year turned out to be a highlight season, averaging 25 points a game and a record breaking game against Muncie Central when he scored 54 points.
Turmoil started after the school year ended when Boucher decided to transfer across town to rival North Side. However; South Side school officials would not sign-off on the transfer and the IHSAA would rule him ineligible for varsity play at North Side.
IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox ruled:
“There are several provisions under Rule 19-6.1 (regarding eligibility and transfer) where your son might have achieved full eligibility under these circumstances however as I review the transfer report information, your son meets none of these qualifiers.”
That’s when Boucher and his parents decided to remove him from North Side in the late fall and have him transfer to a nationally regarded prep school in Maryland, St. James School. The Saints who play some of the top-ranked schools in country finished 12-14. Boucher played in all 26 games, scoring 209 points (8.0 average), 122 rebounds (4.7 average) and 88 assists (3.4 average). Just recently, as the second trimester ended, Boucher withdrew and is now enrolled and back to finish his Junior year at North Side.
Saints assistant coach Don Shopland told the Herald Mail after a recent game:
“(Austin) is a pure competitor. We’ve been playing him both behind the point and in the two spot. He was all about passion tonight.”
If Boucher remains with the Legends, this year’s Indiana Class 4A runner-ups, his teammates will be Keion Brooks Jr., who is getting lots of looks and many consider one of the top prospects in the class of 2019 and Brandan Johnson, who will be a Senior next season. If the chemostry is right it could bring a State Champion to the Summit City.
Although this situation seems out of the norm, it’s not, more a more student-athletes are making changes to play at the ‘right situation’. Time will tell if it is a good thing for high school sports and the future of these athletes.