Last night, we covered the much anticipated matchup between Oak Hill Academy and Quality Education at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Oak Hill jumped out early on QEA and led 21-5 at the end of the first quarter and maintained a comfortable 41-23 margin at halftime. The final score was 84-67 and below is a quick wrap up on the top individual performances.
First of all, back in our in September, we wrote the following about 6’11 A.J. Hammons. “We first watched Hammons two summers ago at the Nike Top 100 camp in St. Louis, MO. Without question, Hammons has tremendous size. He is a wide body center that can occupy a lot of space on the low block. Hammons has a “super soft” shooting touch around the basket and has the ability to use either hand. In addition, one of his strongest attributes is his “soft hands.” Over the past two years, Hammons’ rankings have dropped due to his “perceived lack of effort” at times. It is very difficult to argue that this young man has a tremendous upside when he is motivated to being as good as his potential. Simply put, this young man is a “sleeping giant” and once the “light bulb” goes off on a consistent basis, Hammons has the ability and potential to be as good as he wants to be.”
Last night against Quality Education, Hammons (Purdue) looked motivated and played with the ability many expected out of this young man. He was dominant in the low post area and he had a stellar performance. Hammons tallied 6 points, but blocked 9 shots and altered many more and grabbed 9 rebounds. This performance reinforced my thoughts on Hammons and he could be the missing piece of the puzzle for Oak Hill this season. If Hammons can dominate a game defensively with his shot blocking ability and rebounding, it could be a banner year for the Warriors. It was evident that Hammons change the tempo of the game early with his presence defensively in the paint for Oak Hill.
Next up is 6’5 Jordan Adams! Adams (UCLA) continues to bring the Larry Bird approach to his game. Adams is in really good shape and he torched the nets for a game high of 23 points. He made 5 three pointers and went 4-4 from the free throw line. Recently, I made the comment that Adams is a legitimate top 40 guy and I may have to retract that statement. If he keeps this performance up, he is a definite top 30 prospect based upon his performance and productivity.
It was homecoming for 5’11 Tyler Lewis (NC State) and it was a sweet homecoming indeed for the floor general of Oak Hill. Lewis had 19 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 turnovers. It was no secret to the thousands in attendance that Lewis was in total control and simply ran the offense to perfection.
6’3 D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown) is getting use to playing the off guard position and this transition has been as smooth as silk. Smith-Rivera like Jordan Adams are two of the better perimeter shooters in the country and he tallied 18 points for the night and also knocked down 4 three pointers.
6’6 Darion Clark was again rock solid and steady has he chipped in 8 points and 7 rebounds as he continues to become a hot commodity in the recruiting circuit. He took an unofficial visit to Charlotte last weekend and is may be taking an official visit this coming weekend. At this point in time, Charlotte has jumped out and is the current leader.
On the Quality Education team, 6’11 Brandon Bolden (Georgetown) had a very quiet night and was a nonfactor in the contest. As a matter of fact, 6’9 freshman Ibrahima Diallo started in his place. Coach Pitts of QEA has been quoted as saying, “Diallo may be the best freshman” in the country. Diallo is a long and athletic post presence that does have big time potential. He is very active around the basket and runs the floor extremely well. While he is still a little raw on the offensive end of the court, Diallo does have a promising future. The biggest surprise of the night for QEA was 6’4 WG James Ford. Ford had high expectations several years ago and fell off the radar on the summer AAU circuit and this may have hurt his recruitment somewhat. That being said, Ford was dialed in from deep last night. Ford has good length and solid athleticism, but more importantly Ford has outstanding range. In the first half, Ford single handedly kept QEA in the game and while many people had him pegged as a solid mid major prospect, Ford gave a high major performance last night and should see his recruitment sky rocket. He looked the part of someone who could fall into the right situation based upon supply and demand and there always seems to be a demand on shooters with range.