Hoop Raiders

Is a Christian academy in Kansas City stealing St. Louis' high school basketball players?

Not long afterward, St. Louis families with high school basketball players began to inquire about Milestone. Richard Anderson found the school after a lengthy search. His mother, Patricia Carter, says she was desperate to get him out of St. Louis public schools. "He was getting D's at Beaumont," she says, "but I felt that he was just being passed through, not deserving the grades. Everybody was looking at him as a basketball star, and I thought, 'OK, great,' but he needs something to fall back on if basketball doesn't work out. I wanted him to go somewhere with smaller classes where he could earn his grades."

To accommodate his out-of-town students, Flournoy had two of his players live with him and the other four stay with a player's mother, who relocated to Kansas City.

Still, Milestone didn't work out for many of the St. Louisans. To play ball, the students must memorize and perform weekly recitations of scripture. There's no swearing, no unexcused absences and no talking in class.

The Beaumont Bluejackets miss their star player Richard Anderson, a 6-foot-8-inch forward who is now thriving at Milestone Christian Academy, a high school in Kansas City.
Chuck France
The Beaumont Bluejackets miss their star player Richard Anderson, a 6-foot-8-inch forward who is now thriving at Milestone Christian Academy, a high school in Kansas City.

"This place is stricter than what a lot of kids are used to," says Flournoy. He adds that in early December he was forced to kick four players off the team for disciplinary and academic reasons. According to Flournoy, a total of five St. Louis players have left Milestone and four of them plan to enroll in a Shawnee Mission, Kansas, high school.

Richard Anderson, though, is thriving at Milestone, much to his family's delight. His lowest grade is a B+, and he's earned a starting spot on the traveling squad. Beaumont coach Richard Hamilton is happy for his former player, but admits he was sorry to see him go.

"We had spoken to Rich and said this year we felt Beaumont was going to go as far as he was able to carry us," Hamilton explains. "I tried to stress that here he was on a team where he was going to be the man, and now he's going to some other school where I don't know if he was going to be the man, so to speak." Contact the author: kristen.hinman@riverfronttimes.com

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