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Posted on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Michigan basketball recruit's father defends son's transfer from Willow Run to River Rouge

By Kyle Austin


Former Willow Run player and Michigan basketball recruit Jamal Poplar Jr., right, is having his eligibility questioned. file photo

Jamal Poplar Sr. is defending the transfer of his son from Willow Run High School to River Rouge for the 2012-13 basketball season that has drawn scrutiny from Willow Run’s athletic director.

Jamal Poplar Jr., a 6-foot-9 junior forward being recruited by Michigan, played in his first game of the 2012-13 season Friday for his new team, when River Rouge beat Willow Run 81-27.

Thumbnail image for jamal-poplar-willow-run-basketball.jpg

Jamal Poplar

After the game, Willow Run athletic director Matt Seidl contacted the MHSAA to question Poplar’s eligibility. Poplar transferred from Westland John Glenn to Willow Run before last season, when he moved from his mother’s home to his father’s.

Seidl contended that moving back in with his mother to attend River Rouge violates the MHSAA transfer rule. Transfer students must sit out until Martin Luther King Jr. day,

But Poplar Sr. said his son moved in with his mother in January or February of last year, satisfying the MHSAA’s requirement that a student live with a parent for 30 days during the school year before transferring the next school year.

Poplar Sr. said he told the same thing to the MHSAA when asked during an inquiry this fall. The MHSAA eventually declared Poplar eligible.

But Seidl continues to challenge the legitimacy of the transfer, saying Wednesday that “we believe we’ve discovered information that would contradict” Poplar Sr.’s claim.

Seidl declined to say what the information was, but said he forwarded it to the MHSAA.

“Last I heard they were going back to River Rouge with the information we provided,” Seidl said.

Seidl said he didn’t have issue with Poplar leaving Willow Run and wished him well, but took issue with what he called questionable means by River Rouge to make Poplar Jr. immediately eligible this season.

“They made up information to get their superstar on the court,” Seidl said. “There’s false information out there that allowed that kid to play, and it’s not right.”

Poplar Sr. said his son moved in with his mother last season for reasons unrelated to basketball. He said the decision to transfer was made in part because Willow Run did not retain interim coach Anthony Davis, who led the Flyers to a district title last season.

Seidl said Davis was given consideration for the permanent head coaching job, before Tim Cain was eventually hired.

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.


Marqus Anthony

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

smh..willow run won district championships from 97 til 01..went to the final 8 in 01, the 95 comment is inaccurate..furthermore poplars father should stop moving the kid around so much..hes a talented kid, but no chance at Michigan..possible eastern..

Prep Junkie

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

Guys are tweeting that Poplar did not dressed in Cody game tonight. So what happened? What did they find out that they did not know before? If the got caught trying to play him when he should be out River Rouge and Poplar should be kept out of the state tournament. The MHSSA should set an example with them. Then maybe some of this recruiting and cheating might stop for once.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

Sitting at Romulus right now and watching River Rouge and guess what, Poplar is not dressed for the game. Maybe Willow Run knew what they were talking about.

Robert Granville

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 9:16 a.m.

Gotta say... I actively follow Michigan hoops recruiting and I've never heard of this player. He's not on the short list to be offered a scholarship by Beilein that's for sure. Beilein would have to miss on Trevon Bluiett, Sean Sellers, Darius Austin, and Vincent Edwards before this kid would even get a serious look. Not going to happen given the success of the current team.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

As a local area coach, I can't ignore some of the comments here. First off, portraying Matt Seidl as a Saline guy is totally inaccurate. He coached 1 year at Saline and has been a teacher at Willow Run for years. And, the last time Willow Run was a powerhouse in basketball--back in the 90's--guess who was their coach? That's right, Matt Seidl. This man knows more about basketball and coaching than just about anyone outside of John Beilein around here. Second, I have to weigh in on Mr. Poplar. He approached me about Jamal transferring to Pioneer over a year ago. Jamal Sr. is a very nice man and I enjoyed talking with him. He definitely wants the best for his son--no question. But, he has definitely "shopped" the young man each year. At the time of our discussion, I told him the only way he could come to Pioneer is to move into our district. All of our athletes are on the up and up. Well, young Jamal ended up at Willow Run instead. He transferred again to Rouge. He should sit a semester. That is the intent of the rule. However, there is a bigger issue here and maybe this situation leaking out will finally pull back the curtain. High school basketball is a mess. AAU coaches are showing up as assistant high school coaches and recruiting kids to come with them. Kids are jumping all over the place and using fake addresses. It is really sad and something needs to be done because it is ruining the game. I am proud to say that 12 of the 15 players on the Pioneer varsity are either Slauson or Tappan kids and the other 3 legitimately moved from other cities/states. This is not the case at most other elite programs and it is getting out of hand. It is time for the MHSAA to step in and do something about it!


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

Not many intelligent comments on this article but, the Pioneer coach definitely has some. The Poplar and Davis people need to get a clue!


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 12:14 a.m.

Karma has defiently come back to bite the Willow Run AD. After Davis wasn't offered the Head Coaching position, several kids transferred out. We all know if Willow Run would have won the River Rouge game there would be know problem. Now why did these kids leave? Hiring your friend isn't illegal. But, what happened in the process of not hiring Davis as the Head Coach, a man who deserved it and was clearly qualified, is defiently unethical. Now what parents choose as the correct path for their children is up to them. What a shame that this team has suffered. Live with the choice you made and let the kid PLAY!

King Solomon

Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

@FlyerPride89 - kind of obvious, Anthony.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

when you transfer you are ineligible until found eligible, you should know that if you are really coach davis. poplar was called eligible but that was because of lies. you got sour grapes coach davis because you didn't get job. time to let it go.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

No one else transferred out because you guys threatened them. Seidl isn't friends with Davis, I can guarantee that. It doesn't matter who was on the interviewing committee, Seidl made the final decision on who gets the job, and you know this. As far as the Poplar situation, what happened to innocent until proven guilty? You said the information may be inaccurate yourself. So just send Jamal through all this mess is the right thing to do? Any kid his age is gonna play if they tell him he can play. This sounds like the Principal.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Dear Leslieo: We want to know who transferred out besides Poplar. The answer is nobody. We want to know what proof you have that Willow Run wouldn't have challenged the eligibility of Poplar if it had won the game. The answer is none. We want to know why you think Davis is less of a friend to the Willow Run A.D. than the new coach? Can't wait to hear your response. We want to know if you know who was on the boys' basketball interview committee. The answer might surprise you. We want to know if you understand that Willow Run's issue is not with Poplar transferring but with the fact that the information presented to the MHSAA by the Poplars and River Rouge may be inaccurate. The answer is obvious.

James Smith

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

It is sad when you have a bunch of adults talking bad about a kid playing sports. Kids transfer all the time and none of you know whats going on with this kids family. Why wouldn't his father defend him that's his father. People grow up and understand life is about choices his family made the choice to send him to another school just like Siedl made the choice to leave Saline. All of this negative energy and comments are going to fuel a fire in this kid I just feel it in my heart. Ive watched this kid play and yes he has the tools to make it to the next level. He needs to get bigger but overall no one in his class has the skill set he has and that is the reason for all the negative feed back. Willow run has bigger issues at hand that should have been addressed years ago. How many parents have taken their children out of the Willow Run District case closed. This is bigger than a 16 year old boy playing basketball just maybe if they had their act together over there then most of their students would not have left. Hiring a Principal with several Drunk Drivings doesn't help none either. The bottom line is the District is Falling apart and nothing is being done about it. I went to Willow Run class of 1995 and I am proud to say we had Flyer Pride but that Pride doesn't exist any more. That is because they hire people that are not passionate about that Pride, they bring in people that cant relate to the kids or community. When you have people that were Flyers trying to give back to the school and community rather through coaching or mentoring they are never given a fair chance. Anyone that is from the community knows this is true there are several guys that have Coaching experience that run legit AAU programs and were not even considered for a coaching job at Willow Run. Didn't they win a District Championship last year first one since 1995 the year I graduated from the Run. Why didn't they keep Anthony Davis.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

R-smitt, Believe me he's over it. But the comments that he ruined the girls program and left the boys with no talent were bias fallacies. I'm not worried about the coaching position. I think his objectives has more to do with just River Rouge using an ineligible player. I'm not the one who put coach Davis in the discussion. I don't want to see any bad come to Jamal over this, that's my position. Now I can't get over that.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

When did this debate become a Davis against Seidl debate? I thought it was about River Rouge using a ineligible player. Get over it coach Davis, you didn't get the job and this isn't about you. Seidl's doing the right thing putting River Rouge in check. All the power to to him.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

@Reelin, I'm not hating on Seidl, it is what it is. If Jamal is not dressed to play against WR last week I don't think we would even be having this discussion. I am full of flyer pride. I graduated from WR. I played on the Varsity Basketball Team for 4 years under Ron Tarrant, The last coach who had a power house program. I do feel Seidl is and was a good coach for WR before he abandoned them to coach elsewhere. I just do not think being fair is his only objective. I feel this way because he threatened to contact the state about a few players back in the summer before he knew what their reasons for wanting to leave were. He had his own reasons. I know this first hand because my son was one of the players. I have true Flyer Pride, I'm just not for ruining a kid whether he plays for Rouge or the Run. You couldn't be from Willow Run, because if you were you wouldn't speak about Anthony Davis the way you do. You couldn't know him because you said he wouldn't feel this way, and he does. I know because I've been Anthony Davis for 42 years now. Just like Seidl speaks his mind, so do I. Question, how can someone who graduated from Lincoln, coached basketball at several other schools while teaching at Willow Run, when he could have easily been the coach at WR have true Flyer Pride? You tell me.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

flyerpride89, why you hatin on siedl. i never heard anyone around the run talking like this about him. i doubt you are coach davis because he wouldn't think like this. seidl speaks his mine but he keeps it real and has alot of support. the people on this page just mad because he snitched on rouge. you bet i'm friends with siedl, i support willow run and will always be true flyer pride you should be the same if you gonna use that name.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

Just for the record, this is Anthony Davis


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 1 a.m.

@Reelin, Like I said before know what your talking about before you speak. The games that THE BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM WON, NOT DAVIS was against schools of the same population as Willow Run. That's why the state schedules them that way, duh! This sounds like Seidl or one of his friends, like the one he hired as his coach. Let's not forget how Seidl, the same guy that quit at Willow Run to go and coach somewhere else is there hiring friends now. The guy was his assistant @ Saline. No one else had a chance regardless of what he says. Davis is all about WR, is Seidl or does he just collect a pay check. The principal and the Athletic Director and lords knows who else are all in cahoots. Bottom line. The last year that WR will probably exist he wants to come in and change everything. Wow! I give you one thing, Seidl was a good coach but, right is right and wrong is wrong. Dirty is dirty and a snake is a snake flat out!


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

james, this seems like you have big problems with willow run but, willow run run snitching on river rouge for cheating don't have any thing to do with what your talking about. isn't willow run joining up with ypsi next year sounds like that they are trying to fix the problems. but we talking hoops here, river rouge cheated and willow run caught them. and your wrong about the district championship, siedl won 5 or 6 when he was coach and maybe even got to the final 4 a couple times. the guy after siedl won a few distrcts around 2000s also. davis didn't do anything but win a few games versus little schools.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

These articles are the best thing that could happen for this kid. Any coach that google's this kid's name is going to immediately find stuff that talks about what a "star" he is. This is the best free advertising this basketball player could ask for. I hope he gets even better college offers for them. For him and his mother and father. Good luck to him.

King Solomon

Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Or, they will realize he will be a hassle to deal with - so will his dad.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

just the opp, these articles are the worse thing that could happen to poplar. who will want to touch him when he's part of all this. any kid who goes to 3 places in 3 years will scare people off.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

Michigan recruit? Are you kidding? This kid is being recruited by Michigan like I am being recruited by Duke. IF he graduates high school, he'll bounce from one Juco to another just like he has from one high school to another. Watch, next year he'll be on the Milan roster. They are always picking through the garbage anyway. He wouldn't last one minute at Huron, Pioneer or Ypsilanti high. Coaches are too demanding and dad can't run the show there.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

You are right, why argue. We'll both find out soon if he is offered a scholarship to Michigan. Happy Holidays to you too.

Why Ask

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

I look forward to seeing your response (or lack there of) once he is recruited..No, I am not a family member, but 1 of our kids played against him in AAU ball this summer. My husband is a recruiter. Also, I have seen him play recently and he played smart and well much better than last season. We were at the game last week, you couldn't have been or else you would not have posted this comment. His skills are proper sir. Gotta give it where it is due. So any ways, happy holidays to you and yours.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

dont need google. I've seen him play. he is NOT even close to being a Michigan recruit. Stop believing the hype. Unless you are a family member, then I can see where you're coming from.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

The comments under this article are so crazy, no wonder this situation is a mess right now. Mr. Seidl is a smart guy so something tells me that he has something on this situation or he will not have said any thing. Its all to bad though because a kid is in the middle of all this. The father has a rep as a a stage dad who contacts high school coach's and tries to work out deals. If this is true its a shame. Its also a wrong for people to talk down the new Willow Run coach because he is known as one of the best young coach's around. HIs team may be losing games this year but, people know the game know that WIllow Run is coached better then they have been in the last few years. The real talk on here should be what happen when the player is ruled ineligible because of false info given to the state by both the parent's and the school.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

i don't think siedl wants poplar back, didn't he say he wished him well. willow run just wants river rouge to follow rules like them. willow run has transfers they want to play to but they are going by the book. its not a joke to go by the book, its a joke to cheat and teach kids to cheat.

Why Ask

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Dad contacts HS coaches and tries to"work out deals". Huh? I thought that the kid is in high school..This aint the NBA buddy. You should have saved your comment. Furthermore, you can tell you are super disconnected from the situation..You seem bitter, as if you are a coach that wanted this kid as You guys are FUNNY! Seidl may be a smart man, but what is trying to achieve? Poplar is not coming back..Apparently, this kid and any other kids with some sense transferred out of Willow Run while they had the chance. Their athletics department is a JOKE! Now they want to trump up allegations for what....Oh wait , I know, for some free publicity because they sure wont get it any other way.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

The bottom line here for Mr Seidl is that he had better be right. The MHSAA seems to have a reputation for not being able to enforce the rules, largely because they don't have any real investigative staff. They usually just have the athletic directors look into it, and they may not be the most disinterested parties to be relying on. If he has clear evidence that the rules were not followed, then he should present that evidence; he should not sit on it for fear of being called a poor sport. The difference between now and the other eligibility date is less than a month - probably 6 games or so with the break. The kid is a junior, so I would have to think that with the amount of basketball he probably plays year round, 6 games isn't going to make any difference in his development. All those worried about what's right by him can rest easy. He will not suffer either way. On the other hand, if Mr Seidl is incorrect - even if it is close - he will probably never be able to lose the poor sport reputation.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

The Child's Father has spoken. Frankly, its' none of anyone's business why they choose to move THEIR Child to another school district. But, since Mr. Poplar, Sr. has explained this situation to the media, seems to me to be end of story. Also it appears as if Willow Run's Basketball Coach is experiencing a bit of "Sour Grapes" syndrome. "They made up information to get their superstar on the court," Seidl said. MSHAA says he qualified Coach Seidi. This Kid by his Parents, made a decision choose to move OUT of Willow Run School District to River Rouge. Willow Run School District --soon to be merged School District with Ypsilanti P.S., and yet to be named-- in my humble opinion has BIGGER issues to worry about. Like: EMU building a Charter High School in Willow Run's soon-to-be former district, low academic achievement scores, which teaching staff will be retained, how to recruit kids/parents to choose a "newly merged school district" over two established ones (Lincoln, Belleville) and let's not discuss the competition from other Charter Schools. Again, Willow Run Public Schools, let this Kid play. Leave him and his family alone. Focus on YOUR own issues, instead.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

ypsigirl, the state make it's decision because of what river rouge told them, that doesn't make it right or fair. lets see what the state say once they hear the truth.

Why Ask

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

Check out the comments from the previous article...As this one is an update.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

thinking the Willow Run AD needs to clean up his own house maybe the kid would not have transfered if they had a legit coach. also with school of choice why is this an issue? kids transfer to private/catholic schools for sports all the time.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

Its sad when you cant take a loss Seidl brought over his coach from Saline after Anthony Davis Coached Willow Run to their first district championship since 1995. Davis earned the right to Coach at Willow Run this clearly shows it is not what you know but who you know. They need to stop all the crying and get over it. I was at the River Rouge Willow Run game and Coach Thompson displayed excellent sportsmanship substituting players frequently I just wanna know what game was Seidl watching. The Coach at Willow Run shouldn't even have that job last year Anthony Davis did a good job with minimal talent and he should have been hired as the Head Coach. As far as Seidl saying negative things about River Rouge has Saline ever played Rouge he is going off of allegations not facts. The fact is he brought his friend over from Saline to Coach and didn't even consider Davis. What district Championship has the Coach from Saline Won Davis got black balled and now the Karma is coming back around. I wanna see what excuses Seidl will come up with next from the looks of things Willow Run wont win a game this year. No disrespect to the kids there but they had a great coach that proved him self but this is what happens when you hire you friends instead of the best qualified person. Tell Seidl to keep Ann Arbor news on speed dial because there will be plenty more Coaches giving them a spanking.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

Davis, that's a capital D did not ruin the girls program. When Davis coached at the Middle School level there where more girls than he had uniforms. It was that way the whole time he coached at that level. Once he made the transition to the High School level the girls stopped showing interest at the Middle School. So you should probably know what your talking about before you make such comments. He earned the right to coach there because he paid his dues. He's actually coached every team in the District at one point or another. At the time he was the JV boys coach, no one applied for the girls job so Davis stepped in so those girls wouldn't be left hanging. Willow Run has talent, they always have talent. The question is, do you know what to do with the talent? Again, know what your talking about before you speak.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

how did davis earn the right to coach at willow run? he ruined the girl's program and the boy's program is left with no talent. you can see when you watch willow run that they have never been coached very well before, the new coach is a real coach but he's up against years of bad coaching at willow run. coach cain was a good pick by Siedl, he doesn't have half the talent davis had.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Where is Ed Martin hen you need him?


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Does any of this really matter? It's high school basketball...Willow Run got slammed, get over it Seidl.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

i don't think the mhsaa views transferring as a little thing, it's actually probably one of the main things they worry about these days. i also would rather give props to a program that is loosing games and following rules then one that is bending the rules. i don't see willow run as jealous they are just making sure river rouge follows the rules like them.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

Not saying it's okay to cheat. What I'm saying is multifaceted. At it's simpliest form I'm asking why any of this matters to the world -- why is paying someone to write this story? What difference does this make in the life of 99% of readers? Futhermore - I am asking why the particular issue at hand here is really that big of a deal? It would be different perhaps if the young man was the wrong age to be eligible or if he didn't have the grades or if he was taking performance enhancing medications. But the issue at hand is just one of transferring schools...whether he plays before or after mlk day seems like a rather small technicality and that the willow run AD is only making such a deal of this because his program was in such a state of disarray that the young man chose to transfer. Seems more like an issue of childish jealousy than real concern for the intregity of the sport.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

Are u saying its okay to cheat. Because if the family and school cheated there should be a punishment.

Why Ask

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.