Marcus LoVett, Jr.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Marcus LoVett, right, averaged 31.7 points per game last season, best in the nation among freshmen according to MaxPreps.com. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Staff Photographer)

Marcus LoVett Jr., one of the most highly touted sophomore boys' basketball players in the country, has left Providence High, head of school Joe Sciuto said Friday in a statement.

Earlier this month, LoVett, the reigning All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year and Burbank Leader Male Athlete of the Year, left the team and didn't compete for the Pioneers in Wednesday's 72-66 loss to Lancaster Desert Christian in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA playoffs.

"Marcus LoVett Sr. and I have been working together in support of his son's academic progress," Sciuto said in a statement. "Marcus, Jr. will be enrolling at Opportunities for Learning in Pasadena for this semester. Providence High School and the LoVett family will remain in close communication and continue with our mutual support of each other."

Along with heading Providence, Sciuto is a former high school boys' basketball coach. He said LoVett's talents on the court are unmistakable.

"I was a high school basketball coach at Harvard-Westlake and Campbell Hall and the head baseball coach at Campbell Hall and I have been an educator for over 25 years, so I have seen a lot of high school athletes," he said. "Marcus, Jr. is the most talented guard I have ever seen. He is a terrific leader for us on the court and he is an outstanding representative of our school.

"More importantly, Marcus Jr. is one of the kindest and most respectful young men that I have encountered in my career, and his family is very supportive of our community and our school's mission. It is refreshing to see a family and school community work so well together in the best interest of a young student."

As a freshman last season, LoVett put up monster numbers, broke several Pioneers school records, paced Providence to its first-ever CIF Southern Section championship game, led the state in scoring and earned national recognition.

As well as being named the Southern Section Division V-A Player of the Year, he was also the Liberty League Player of the Year. He averaged 31.7 points a game, which was best in the nation among freshmen according to MaxPreps.com. In addition, he poured in 1,035 points last season — breaking a school record — and put up 35.8 points a game in the playoffs.

However, with LoVett sidelined earlier this season after suffering a reaction to an insect bite and his departure from the squad, the Pioneers struggled. Providence placed fourth in the Liberty League and ended the season with a 10-17 record.