Clover Park sophomore Ahmaad Rorie will not don green and gold for his junior basketball season this winter, but instead is transferring to Lincoln High School.
The 6-foot point guard, who helped guide the Warriors to their first state championship in school history in 2011, committed earlier this year to play at the University of California.
Rorie said Thursday that he and his mom moved from Lakewood to Tacoma a few months ago and that distance and gas prices make it unfeasible to stay at Clover Park.
“It’s really hard,” he said, “especially when I realized how much support people have for me. But I had to make the change.”
Rorie said he first considered transferring after the 2012 state tournament, in which Clover Park finished fourth, and formally announced his intent to play for Lincoln earlier this month.
Staying at Clover Park is fellow guard David Crisp, with whom Rorie has played most of his life. Crisp, who will also be a junior next year, said he is committed to the Warriors.
“It’s going to be a little different,” he said, “but I’m just going to step up more in my leader role and really be a captain.”
In May, Rorie was named to the elite ESPN list of the top 60 players in the Class of 2014.
He scored a tournament high 46 points in a 79-49 win against Ellensburg in the consolation semifinals of the 2A state tournament this year and 101 total points in the three games Clover Park played at the Yakima SunDome.
Rorie said he is looking forward to playing Class 3A basketball.
“It’s definitely going to be fun,” he said. It’s a lot more competition than 2A, and it will better prepare me for college, too.”
Rorie said it was hard to tell Clover Park coach Mel Ninnis that he was leaving.
“He’s been one of the best mentors in my life,” he said, adding that he intends to keep in touch with his former teammates. “I still plan to go to their games, and hopefully they’ll come to mine – if they’re not too mad.”
Still, Ninnis said that the team will continue on without Rorie.
“I have to develop a team that is at Clover Park next year during basketball season,” he said. “That’s my job. Players and families come and go, but Coach and Mrs. Ninnis stay the same. We’re constants.
“Every year, it’s a different team, but we stay the same.”
Crisp was more succinct in his assessment of next season.
“I still plan on going to state.”