It brings smiles to both of the former Clemson teammates’ faces when asked the question, “Where did all of this start?” Jonah Baize and Trevor Booker became inseparable as roommates and teammates at Clemson University, and their bond has created a business portfolio that many can only imagine. One of their most accomplished companies is International Boarding School, Combine Academy.
What was once a basketball training academy for the two aspiring entrepreneurs, has now turned into an International Boarding School, Sports Performance Institute, and Commercial Real Estate portfolio next to none in the United States. Combine Academy sits on over 51 acres with over 100,000 square feet of buildings, just outside Charlotte, NC in the popular Lincolnton suburb. Offering 4 primary sports among the 9th Grade–Post Graduate enrollment, Combine is nationally ranked in Basketball, Baseball, and Soccer as well as ranked #1 overall in the state of North Carolina in each of those sports. A global powerhouse brand in the sports education space is what Baize and Booker have built.
“We did it through creating a culture. We used our experiences as student-athletes, and formulated offerings that each of us knew would have enhanced our careers at that age.” – Jonah Baize, CEO of Combine Enterprises LLC states.
Combine Academy has risen to national acclaim in the past 3 years as one of the only High Schools with 3 nationally ranked sports. Combine also prides itself on its rich diversity, hosting foreign students from over 40 different countries and all 50 of the United States.
According to former standout NBA Veteran, Trevor Booker, “Our enrollment is incredibly culturally diverse, which allowed for us to accumulate talent on a global level and quickly ignite a nationally competitive organization.”
It was important for Baize and Booker to give opportunities to young men that didn’t grow up with the best financial background or highest amount of collegiate exposure, as both of them had to grind their way to the ACC level of college basketball. Booker went on to have a standout career at Clemson University and was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, followed by 8 successful years in the NBA. Simultaneously Baize went on to ignite their business portfolio soon after graduating from Clemson with honors.
Combine Academy is their passion and one of their most successful companies, but it is only a piece of the entire puzzle that the 2 best friends deem as JB Fitzgerald Family Office, a play on Jonah’s initials and Trevor’s middle name and father’s name, Fitzgerald. Underneath their JB Fitzgerald portfolio, they own a minority stake in MLS Soccer team D.C. United, a Venture Capital Fund, a Mark Cuban backed cosmetic company in Nohbo, a household tech company in 2ULaundry, a sports technology business in Huupe, the Phenom Hoop Report, the Hoop State Network, 3 real estate development companies, and over 250+ single family, multi family, and commercial properties – just to name a few!
But what is their prized possession and most rapidly growing company? Combine Academy, of course. You may have seen them ranked 9th nationally on the latest Max Preps HS Basketball polls, but what is the claim to fame for the self-proclaimed GOATS (the school mascot)? College and career placement! Baize and Booker have made placing student-athletes in college scholarships and careers, their school’s number 1 priority. In addition, they launched the Future Leaders Initiative at Combine to encourage and cultivate different career opportunities for their graduates.
With great emphasis, Booker states, “If we can be successful in entrepreneurship and business, we can teach the youth of tomorrow how to follow a similar path and to exercise their passions in business. That’s what Combine Academy is. Our mission is bigger than just school or sports.”
Viewed as a more boutique style IMG Academy, Combine Academy is growing at a pace that is difficult to comprehend. “We have more students on our waiting list than are actually enrolled in the school” states Baize. “We are making growth plans to accommodate the heightened, exciting demand”
The next time you’re analyzing the top scholastic sports programs in the country, keep an eye out for the GOATS of Combine Academy, they are indeed, a trending topic.