Nationally ranked sophomore Jeremy Fears Jr. leaves Joliet West for La Lumiere

A decision had to be made. Stay at Joliet West or head to a nationally ranked prep school that could pretty much guarantee a full season?

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Joliet West’s Jeremy Fears, Jr., (11) works around the defense of Hillcrest’s Javery Johnson (15).

Joliet West’s Jeremy Fears, Jr., (11) works around the defense of Hillcrest’s Javery Johnson (15).

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Jeremy Fears waited and watched the news. His son, Jeremy Fears Jr., is one of the top sophomores in the country, recently ranked No. 21 by 247sports. com.

“Nothing is looking good,” Fears said. “It doesn’t look like there will be much of a season or a season at all.”

A decision had to be made. Stay at Joliet West or head to a nationally-ranked prep school that could pretty much guarantee a full season?

The decision was made late Wednesday night. Fears is leaving Joliet West for La Lumiere, a prep school in La Porte, Ind.

“Jeremy did not want to go for so long,” Fears said. “He wanted to stay and win a state championship for Joliet. But the more he read and the more he saw he thought there wasn’t going to be much here. He already missed his freshman year playoff run. These are years he can’t get back. He just wants to play. That’s it.”

Fears expects the season to be delayed sometime next week.

Fears had a tremendous summer, piling up offers from Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Mississippi, Ohio, Kansas State, Creighton, and DePaul.

“We needed to secure a spot for Jeremy,” Fears said. “We waited as long as we could and dealt with the uncertainty for as long as possible.”

Joliet West was expected to be a top ten local team this season. But due to the COVID-19 restrictions the Tigers, if there is a season, will only be able to compete against teams in their COVID region. The area isn’t particularly strong.

La Lumiere will play against some of the best teams in the country, Oak Hill, Montverde, Sunrise Christian and more. The school’s games are often televised on ESPN.

Fears has a younger brother, Jeremiah, currently in eighth grade in Joliet.

“La Lumiere is just an hour and a half away,” Fears said. “Jeremy is only 15 so if I sent him far off I would have had to go with him. Now I can focus on Jeremiah and get to Jeremy whenever I need to in a matter of hours. It makes sense.”

Expect Fears to be the first of many highly-regarded prospects to transfer out of state.

“It’s crazy but I do think more people are going to start leaving,” Fears said.

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