DETROIT -- Romeo Weems had his options to play for various prestigious high school basketball programs this season. Schools like Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, La Lumiere in Indiana and SPIRE Academy in Ohio all made efforts to recruit Weems away from New Haven High School, the school he attended since his freshman year.
A 6-foot-7 forward that carries a four-star rating from 247Sports, Weems is the top-rated recruit in Michigan and signed to play at DePaul next year. He was also recently selected to play in the 2019 Jordan Brand Classic high school all-star game in Las Vegas this April. Weems certainly had the talent and credentials to be a prep school star.
However, Weems decided to say thanks, but no thanks to the prep schools and elected to spend his senior season at New Haven.
After being announced as the 2019 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball winner on Monday, it is safe to say his decision to stay home paid off. Mentioning that he wanted to win the Mr. Basketball award since leading New Haven to a Class B state championship as a sophomore, Weems said winning the prestigious honor played a role in him staying at New Haven.
“I wouldn’t it was a big part (in deciding to stay) but it definitely wasn’t a small part,” Weems said. “It definitely factored in. I really wanted this. This was a goal of mine ... It definitely factored in.”
As honored as Weems was to win Mr. Basketball, he mentioned that his main reason for choosing to stay at New Haven was one thing: loyalty. With his collegiate future already set, Weems saw no other reason to leave town.
“I mostly stayed for the loyalty with my coaches,” Weems said. “I love my coaches, my teammates. I pretty much stayed for them.”
New Haven could not have been happier that Weems stayed. After all, the Rockets are playing in the Division 2 state quarterfinals on Tuesday night against Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy and are just three wins shy of claiming the school’s second state championship. New Haven is 99-6 since Weems joined the team as a freshman.
“We were good before but he just took us to a whole new level,” New Haven coach Tedaro France said. “Just what he brings, he brings out the best in everybody -- his teammates, us as a coaching staff -- he makes us work harder. Just him being here has really transformed not just our school but the county and how he made history.”
Weems is the first Mr. Basketball winner from Macomb County and he was the first finalist from New Haven. The state championship that New Haven won in 2017 was the first in school history and only the second for a Macomb County program.
Although France knew about the schools trying to get Weems to transfer away, France also knew where Weem’s loyalties were.
“We were aware but we were just trying to build that bond,” France said. “Knowing him, he’s a loyal kid. He wanted to be a part of this program here and be a part of his teammates because they worked hard for four years and he wanted to finish what he started.”
Weems celebrated at the ceremony with his teammates, family and friends that made the trip into Detroit. However, Weems said he will not spend too long celebrating because he still has a state championship to go after. Before he wraps up his high school basketball career, he still has his teammates and the community of New Haven on his mind.
As much as New Haven appreciates Weems staying, Weems appreciates his community just as much.
“The community, it means a lot,” Weems said. “They come out to all our games, show love (and) support us a lot. They travel. They’ve been travelling everywhere with us. I really appreciate it.”