The Rakeem Christmas era at North Catholic is over.

The highly touted basketball player got his release Monday from the Philadelphia Catholic League school. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward, who just completed the 10th grade, will attend the Academy of the New Church in the fall.

"My big thing was a better opportunity," said Amira Hamid, Christmas' aunt and legal guardian. "It's not that anything bad happened at North. We are just looking at more of a level of greatness."

Christmas was at the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., and could not be reached for comment.

"It's not just a basketball thing," Hamid said. "It's about wanting the best possible thing for a kid."

Christmas averaged 10.6 points, 7.32 rebounds, and 3.28 blocks last season.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029

or kpompey@phillynews.com.