Principals deny hardship transfer

The unique transfer case of Derrick “Deejay” Brown hit a roadblock when the principals of the Marmonte League decided to deny the Thousand Oaks senior a hardship transfer, thus preventing him from playing basketball.

Brown, a 17-year-old basketball standout from Brooklyn, N.Y., was the subject of an ESPN E:60 story in 2009. His stepfather stabbed him leaving a 10-inch scar on the left side of his face. Brown’s mother, Treena Hunter, was also stabbed by her then-husband, Derrick Hunter, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2008 for the attacks.

Brown ended up at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley in November of 2010 to pursue his basketball interests. But he left Stoneridge Prep in June and moved in with Rich Endres, the basketball coach at Thousand Oaks High School, and his wife.

Endres applied for a hardship transfer with the CIF for Brown. After nearly four weeks, the CIF decided to let the Marmonte League principals decide if Brown would be granted a hardship transfer. They unanimously denied it.

Endres was disappointed with the way the CIF handled Brown’s transfer request. When Endres went to the principals meeting, he was not given the opportunity to present Brown’s case.

“Their (CIF’s) purpose is to rule on things of this sort,” Endres said. “I went to the meeting to explain Deejay’s story. They didn’t even let me speak. This young man’s been through a lot. The biggest thing they’re upset about is he’s living with me.”

Brown is practicing with the Thousand Oaks team and traveling with the players to tournaments and games. There are rumors swirling, Endres said, that Brown has already played for Thousand Oaks. There are also rumors that Brown is a 6-feet-7 guard who would make Thousand Oaks unbeatable if he were allowed to play.

In reality, Brown is 5-10 and looking for a way to continue playing basketball in college.

“He’s the biggest basketball junkie I’ve ever met,” Endres said. “Nobody has stepped in to help him academically. I don’t care what they think. I know why my wife and I are involved in this.”

Brown’s mom still lives in Brooklyn and Endres said she is supportive of her son’s decision to live in California.

“She’s in contact all the time,” Endres said. “She wants him here with me. She’s told me, ‘You’ve helped my son more than anyone else has.’ ”

As far as the Marmonte League principals changing their minds and granting Brown a hardship transfer, Endres said it’s not very good.

“The principals had their chance to do this right and they all passed on it,” Endres said. “We’re going to fight for him and do the best we can. I was very insulted. At least they could have let me be heard and let me tell the story.”