St. Patrick Aims to Stay Open and Keep Aquille Carr (UPDATED)

Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of this story. It originlally mentioned that a St. Patrick player was considering transferring to Peddie, but that was an error. It is a another player –DeAndre Noble Haywood of Paterson Eastside  –who is considering Peddie.**

NEW ORLEANS — St. Patrick basketball coach Chris Chavannes believes his school will be open next season and that the basketball team will feature Seton Hall commit Aquille Carr.

“We sent a letter to parents, the student body and to alumni that we are going to be independent of the Archdiocese [of Newark] and we are in the process of putting that together,” Chavannes told SNY.tv Sunday in confirming a report by The Star-Ledger. “We’re very confident that we’ll be able to get that done in the near future.”

Chavannes, who just completed his first season at the Elizabeth (N.J.) school since taking over for Kevin Boyle, also said the 5-foot-7 Carr, a 2013 point guard nicknamed “The Crime Stopper,” would remain at St. Patrick next season if the school is open and would not return to Baltimore, as he had previously mentioned. Carr transferred to St. Patrick for academic reasons.

“Yes, that’s definite,” Chavannes said of Carr’s plans to stay at St. Patrick. “Yes.”

If that happens, Carr could help save and restore the storied St. Patrick tradition that includes five Tournament of Champions titles. Seton Hall fans would be able to watch their future guard play a variety of games in the Garden State.

Chavannes said that none of his current players had yet talked about transferring.

“As far as I know the team is fully intact and everyone is planning on staying,” Chavannes said.  “They haven’t made any requests for transcripts. I speak with the parents on a daily basis.”

Chavannes and St. Patrick principal Joe Picaro confirmed that the school is seeking to reclassify as a private school and move to one of three locations in Elizabeth.

“We’re just trying to open as a private school,” Picaro told SNY.tv, adding that he would likely serve in another capacity besides principal.

“First we got to find a place and then we’ll go from there,” Picaro said.

Asked if there was a timetable on the change of location, Picaro said, “We hope by the end of April we’ll have a place.”

Both Chavannes and Picaro declined to specify where the financing for the new school would come from, but Picaro said: “It’s going to come from alumni and friends.”

St. Patrick has several current NBA players, including Kyrie Irving, Al Harrington and Sam Dalembert.

As first reported earlier this year by SNY.tv, Harrington and Dalembert have been reluctant to help the school financially in recent years.

Speaking here at the Final Four, former St. Patrick star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky, who led the Celtics to the mythical national championship game last season before losing to arch-rival St. Anthony, said he hopes the school remains open.

“I was raised there basically, but yeah, it’s going to mean a whole bunch for me and Kyrie and stuff like that [if it stays open],” he said. “It’s going to mean a whole bunch.”

Photo: The Star-Ledger

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