Prolific Prep Academy, a nationally ranked, Napa-based boys basketball team, has pulled out of an international game in March over fears that one of its foreign-born stars might not be able to re-enter the country.
The game was to be played in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, but Philippe Doherty, co-founder and director of operations for Prolific Prep, said Tuesday that the Crew is trying to move the game against Athlete’s Institute, originally scheduled for March 18 at the University of British Columbia, to either Portland, Oregon or Napa.
Abu Kigab, a 6-foot-7 small forward for the Crew, was born in Sudan and holds dual Canadian and Sudanese citizenship. Sudan is one of seven nations included in a temporary travel ban imposed by the Trump administration this week. The administration said it was necessary to review security procedures for travelers from countries with significant histories of terrorism.
The order, issued Jan. 27, suspended travel from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya for 90 days and suspended admission of refugees for four months. There has been widespread confusion, even among border agents, about whether the order forbids people from those countries from reentering the U.S. even if they are already lawful permanent residents.
Prolific Prep officials say they worry Kigab might be stopped at the border when he tries to return from Canada.
“Too many things at stake,” said Doherty. “With all of this uncertainty, I just don’t want to put any of my kids at risk.
“We don’t want to put Abu in a position where we go play one game, in Vancouver, Canada, even though he’s Canadian, and then for some unforeseen reason, he’s not allowed back in the country since he was born in the Sudan. If Abu is not allowed back in the country, and he can’t graduate high school, that affects his college eligibility.
“And if that’s because of this government’s policies with this new (presidential) regime of the United States, I just don’t want to take any chances, especially with Abu.”
Kigab is a senior and attends Justin-Siena High School.
Robert Jordan, president and CEO of Justin-Siena, said: “It doesn’t surprise me that there’s concern. Colleges and universities all over the country have had incidents where international students have been detained. I’ve seen letters from university presidents commenting on this.
“The majority of our international students have not been impacted by this. Given the way this policy has been enacted, and the reaction across the country and internationally, I can understand why people would be concerned.”
The University of Oregon announced that it signed Kigab, a two-year starter for Prolific Prep, to a national letter of intent in November. Kigab is a four-star recruit and is rated as the second best small forward in California, according to Scout.com.
Before joining Prolific Prep, Kigab played for St. Francis Phoenix. He is from St. Catharines, Ontario and played for Canada in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship last summer.
“He’s really talented,” Doherty said. “Abu is a major player and a good kid.”
Doherty said Kigab is disappointed that he will not be able to play in front of family and friends in Canada.
Prolific Prep (19-1 overall) is listed No. 4 in this week’s CBS MaxPreps Independent Top 10 Boys Basketball Rankings. The Crew won each of its three games last week during the “Crush in the Valley” at Napa Valley College.