Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Preseason Team to Watch: Oak Hill Academy

We are less than a month away from the start of high school basketball season in some parts of the country. That means in less than a month the first National Prep Basketball Poll of the season will be released.

Over the last several weeks, PrepNation.com Basketball Contributor Jeremy Plowman and I have been analyzing top teams and players, and collecting information from high school coaches across the country.

Today, we continue giving readers a sneak peak at the preseason rankings with the first of several "Team to Watch" capsules.

Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
Coach: Steve Smith (718-44, 23 years at Oak Hill)
2007-08 record: 34-4, No. 14 in final National Prep Poll
Top players: F Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Sr. (6-9); G Lamont "MoMo" Jones, Sr. (6-0); G Doran Lamb, Jr. (6-5); F Glen Bryant (6-7); G Pe'shon Howard, Jr. (6-3); G Byron Allen, Jr. (6-2); C Baye Moussa Keita, Jr. (6-10).
Team strength: Depth, four returning starters
Question mark: Inexperience at point, perimeter shooting
Outlook: No team in the nation comes close to matching the Warriors' 20 consecutive finishes in the national Top 25. But Oak Hill's No. 14 final ranking last year was its worst finish since 2003. It was also just the third time in 12 years that the Warriors lost four or more games. One of the reasons the Warriors took their lumps in 2007-08 (if you call losing four games taking lumps) was the number of young players who saw significant minutes. Four underclassmen started one or more games. The residual chemistry and experience gained in 2007-08 should pay off this season, as should an infusion of talent from a three heralded transfers. The Warriors should feature a strong inside game with the return of Gallon, a 290-pound space eater with surprising agility and soft hands. He figures to become Oak Hill's unprecedented 24th McDonald's All-American pick. Joining him in the paint will be Keita, a talented but raw native of Senegal. In the back court, a quartet of juniors will attempt to replace the 35-points per game production lost when national player of the year Brandon Jennings graduated. Much will be expected from Lamb, a transfer from Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.) who is rated the No. 2 shooting guard in the country for the Class of 2010 by Scout.com. Jones, another New York City native who is with his third school in three years, gives the Warriors another scorer at the two-guard position. Howard and Allen are expected to share duty at point guard. As usual, Oak Hill will challenge itself with a tough national schedule. The Warriors will travel to Hawaii for the Iolani Classic in addition to stand-alone matchups with several national powers including Chicago Whitney Young, Christ School (N.C.), St. Patrick (N.J.), and Montrose Christian (Md.). Oak Hill also expects to participate in a still-in-the-planning-stages national tournament that would be held the first week of April and involve top teams from around the country who do not participate in state playoffs.

No comments:

Search PrepNation.com