By Joe Henricksen

Hales takes hit, Armsteads leave for California

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By Joe Henricksen

When the preseason rankings come out in November, it was expected that Hales Franciscan would be among the top 10 teams in the Chicago area. But the news that star Aaric Armstead will not be returning this season to help the Spartans defend their state championship will be a major blow.

Armstead, who is among the City/Suburban Hoops Report's top half dozen senior prospects in the Class of 2012, will be headed to Bullard High School in Fresno, Calif., along with up-and-coming junior Adam Armstead and talented freshman, 6-1 Austin Armstead. The Armstead boys are in California living with their aunt, while the rest of the family will soon be joining them.

"This was not a basketball-related thing at all," said Phil Armstead, Aaric's father. "No, this had nothing to do with basketball."

Although Phil Armstead did say there were some "philosophical differences" the family had with Hales Franciscan, those differences were not a reason for the family's move to California. Phil Armstead said the biggest reason for the move was to "seek a better, safer environment for his sons."

Both Aaric and Austin lost friends recently to senseless murders this past summer. And 16-year-old Adam Armstead was recently in a scary situation at a Dollar Store as the store was held up at gunpoint.

"That was pretty much the last straw," said Phil Armstead of the news one of his sons was in danger at the Dollar Store during a hold-up. "There is a growing safety issue in the city. The violence has gotten too close. It's crazy. The boys are going to be able to experience something entirely different in California. Just the other day they returned from the ocean and then jumped into the swimming pool."

A year ago Aaric Armstead averaged 14.1 points and knocked down 84 three-pointers in helping lead coach Gary London's team to a 29-4 record and Class 2A state championship. The 6-5 senior scored a game-high 18 points in the title game win over Murphysboro.

Hales, which finished third in the state two seasons ago, was expected to be one of the favorites again in Class 2A this coming winter. Although the Spartans lost leading scorer Aaron Armstead, Aaric's older brother who is now playing at Wisconsin-Green Bay, a nucleus of Aaric Armstead, highly-regarded Eddie Alcantera and junior guard Shaquan Alexander was expected to keep Hales among the top teams in the Chicago area.

Armstead's college recruitment remains open, with a host of schools at various levels involved with the highly-athletic wing with terrific size. Armstead is planning on taking a visit to Manhattan. He was offered by Loyola on Tuesday. He also remains very interested in playing with his brother at Wisconsin-Green Bay, with Northern Illinois making a very strong push of late.

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I applaud the Armstead family!!!!! Get out of here and if it all possible make a life for those kids in a safe environment (and a beautiful state to boot!). Good luck to them.

So he couldn't take his family and move to a safer place in the suburbs somewhere? The safest place he could find was in California? Where, like in Compton????? Unbelievable. There had to be more to the story.

I agree with Ttio wholeheartedly.

Yup the violence in this city is getting crazy and if you have the chance to get your kids out of here do so. Some of these kids who are highly recruited I would send to a prep school offering them a scholarship as well.....take advantage of your god given skills to get out of the cesspool in this city.

I did the same for my kids. But I did move to the burbs. Too many jobs here to leave. Just got to a safer place. Huh, could be kids getting involved with a gang caused him to move out of state. Could be alot of different reasons to go that far.

To Huh: Why is it anyone's right to question why or where a family moves and takes their children under these circumstances? Plus, there is family out there already. I just hate when people question other families for how they handle situations when they have no idea of the situation. Why not California? Why not be close to other family members? We don't know all the circumstances. My children have never even been near that kind of danger, so I can't imagine what I would do in the same situation.

Saw he's going to a school in California that is expected to win the state championship this coming year according to So maybe there is more to the story? Or just an odd coincidence?

"This was not a basketball-related thing at all," said Phil Armstead, Aaric's father. "No, this had nothing to do with basketball."

I dont buy it.

Just like Jaylon Tate transferred to Simeon for 'academic reasons'

Its ALL about basketball. Plain and simple.
The Armsteads wenent getting scholarships from Kansas and Kentucky, so they moved to a state title contending team somewhere else.

It's very interesting that a few people even care enough to make a comment on the Armstead family's move. If you know any thing about the Armstead brothers their possible involvement with gangs at best would be observations like most kids in the city. Most definitely there's probably more to the story, but everybody doesn't need to know everything they have a right to some privacy. that's definitley how I would handle my family's business.

Anyone mentioning the Armsteads being involved in gang activity is clueless and obviously never met the kids.

I've known Phil Armstead since we were both 10 years old. He is an incredible father and his sons are some wonderful young men with impeccable manners. We grew up in that neighborhood where several of our friends and family members have died in homicides. I applaud him for being so involved in his sons lives and pray for immense prosperity for his family.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on August 24, 2011 8:22 PM.

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