Kanye West Opening Donda Academy Prep School in California
By Wajih AlBaroudi, CBS Sports
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From The College Dropout to Late Registration and Graduation, Kanye West's first three album titles referenced higher education. Now the GRAMMY-winning rapper and fashion icon is helping high schoolers reach those exact heights. West is reportedly opening Donda Academy -- a prep school named after his late mother, Donda West -- just outside Los Angeles in Simi Valley, California.
Donda Academy, under West's leadership, hopes to build a basketball program strong enough to rival local powerhouse Sierra Canyon. It's quickly moved toward that goal, securing a partnership with Adidas -- the brand of West's famed Yeezy sneakers -- and landing five-star prospects Jalen Hooks, Robert Dillingham, and Jakhi Howard despite having no coach yet.
"It's just one of those things you can't pass up," Hooks told the Indianapolis Star. "It was more of a family decision, too. All of us just felt like it was a chance to reach my full potential and grow and get ready for the college level."
Hooks and his future Donda Academy teammates could have a strong opportunity to reach their potential by playing against the area's best. According to Yahoo Sports, Donda Academy and Sierra Canyon -- home of LeBron James' son, Bronny James -- are discussing a potential Staples Center meeting in February.
Hooks, Dillingham, and Howard are far from the only high-profile recruits West hopes to lure. West reportedly followed and direct messaged two top recruits on Instagram to try and get them to Donda Academy.
"It's crazy that he reached out," one player told Yahoo Sports. "But he's building a good team with players that I want to play with and it's out in L.A. in a good market so it's something me and my family have to think about."
A 22-time GRAMMY winner, West is coming off his 10th No. 1 album in Donda. The album was released Aug. 29 and sold 309,000 equivalent album units its first week, the biggest debut of 2021 until Drake's Certified Lover Boy.
West can only hope Donda Academy succeeds to the level its similarly-named counterpart reached.
This story was originally published by CBS Sports on Oct. 6, 2021.