We traveled to Danville, Virginia last night to watch the annual pre-season scrimmage between the Oak Hill Warriors and Hargrave Military. Last year, the contest was the first step in Oak Hill marching to an undefeated and national championship season. After a surprisingly tough contest with Massanutten Military that ended in a 90-90 tie, this contest would be a telling sign of what Coach Steve Smith could expect from this year’s team. The game would feature two 20-minute halves and the score being reset to zero for the second half.
The game featured many of the top players in the country and a jam-packed crowd witnessed an entertaining “up and down” game that pleased the fans with many highflying dunks in transition. That being said, the first half was dominated by Oak Hill as they stretched a lead to 17 points before winning 51-42. Both teams struggled to find any rhythm in the half court offense, but the domination by Oak Hill on the defensive glass led to countless transition points for the Warriors. The underlying story for the first half was the overall team balance displayed by Oak Hill. 6’5 senior RJ Curington and 6’8 Rokas Gustys chipped in 10 points apiece. Others that got into the scoring act was Nate Britt (UNC) with 8, Sindarius Thornwell (USC) with 7, Troy Williams and Lennard Freeman both chipped in 6. On the other hand, it was a one man scoring show for Hargrave as 6’1 PG Terry Rozier (Louisville) simply put on a clinic. He tallied 17 first half points and got little to no support from his teammates. Midway through the first half, the game turned into a “dunk a thon” for Oak Hill as 6’6 Troy Williams was simply Mr. Windex as he was cleaning the glass and leading the break for crowd pleasing dunks.
The second half started like the first half, but the Warriors from Oak Hill got careless and sloppy with the ball and made too many turnovers that allowed Hargrave to make a run and eventually take the lead. Hargrave was unable to hold onto the lead in the last few minutes of the contest and Oak Hill pulled out a 45-42 second half win. The total score for the two halves was 96-84 in favor of Oak Hill. 6’1 Terry Rozier (Louisville) was as good in the second half as he was in the first half. He tallied 16-second half points and finished with a game high 33 points. 6’1 Shannon Evans (Buffalo) knocked in four 3 pointers and finished with 13 second half points and was Hargrave’s second best performer for his team. While Rozier had little support, Oak Hill found no shortage of scoring options as six players finished in double digit scoring. Nate Britt led the way with 20 points while Troy Williams had a monster game of 16 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists. Sindarius Thornwell finished with 16 points while RJ Curington and Rokas Gustys both finished with 14 points and Lennard Freeman chipped in 10 points.
Top Performers For The Game
6’1 PG Terry Rozier (Louisville): The improvement in Rozier’s game has improved immensely and is highly undervalued nationally in the majority of the national rankings. We believe Rozier is a legit top 40 prospect and should continue to rise with national scouting services. He has good size, strength and athleticism combined with an excellent skill set. One of the top plays of the game was when he stripped Nate Britt at half court and finished it off with a “rim punishing” dunk. Rozier finished with 33 points and scored from all areas on the floor. He was knocking down 3 pointers and was simply impossible to stop going to the rim.
6’6 PF Troy Williams (Undecided): Without question, Williams was the most explosive athlete in the gym last night. He dominated the game on both ends of the court as he tallied 16 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists. He was the game’s leading assist guy and rebounder. His best position on the court may be the PF position and is at his best in transition. The acrobatic Williams has narrowed his list to 4 schools. He mentioned Indiana, Louisville, UNC and Ohio State. IU Head Coach Tom Crean and UL assistant coach Kevin Keatts were in attendance to watch his outstanding performance.
6’1 PG Nate Britt (UNC): By all standards, Britt didn’t enjoy an outstanding AAU summer season and his stock dropped in many of the national rankings. That being said, Britt looked like the player two summers ago at the NBA Players Camp when many pundits were touting Britt as the top lead guard in his class. Britt was solid in his performance as he finished with 20 points and 4 assists. Britt and Rozier had their own personal battle on the court, but Britt is also excellent in transition and is crafty in using his “off hand” in finishing many layups in transition. The southpaw knocked down back-to-back 3 pointers in the second half and used his open court speed repeatedly to get into the lane. We believe Britt has a newfound confidence and should see his stock to rise once again.
6’5 WF Sindarius Thornwell (South Carolina): Thornwell didn’t enjoy the dominating performance as he did against Massanutten Military where he exploded for 30 plus points. He finished the game with 16 points. While he did the majority of his damage attacking the basket, he did knock down two 3 pointers. Thornwell has a physically mature “college ready” frame and is nearly impossible to stop when he is in attack mode. Oak Hill utilized Thornwell at the high post on offense and his strength, speed, quickness and skill gave him an advantage over the taller opponents from Hargrave.
6’5 WG RJ “Microwave” Curington (Uncommitted): Like death and taxes in life, there is also another thing one can expect from Curington! He absolutely brings it every time he steps onto the court. His full throttle approach to the game is exempfied by 100% effort/hustle 100% of the time. He has a knack for having his hands on loose balls and is excellent in scoring “garbage points.” The next step for Curington is to tighten up his handles. That being said, Curington finished with 14 points and 100% effort (something we just expect from him)
6’8 JUNIOR PF Rokas Gustys (Uncommitted): Without question, Gustys is one to put into your SIM card, especially mid majors. While Gustys will not wow you with athleticism, but he does seems to be at the right place at the right time! He has good footwork in the post, but more important he has “Charmin” soft hands. Once he puts his handprint on the ball, no one is going to gain possession. He has strong hands and has advanced post moves in the paint. Gustys finished with 14 points in about 20 minutes of action. He was highly productive and gives Oak Hill a legit scoring option on the interior.
6’8 PF/C Lennard Freeman (Uncommitted): Freeman has a physically mature “college ready” body and is active on the interior. He set the tone early for Oak Hill by his hustle and rebounding by getting his hands on many loose balls. He anticipates well off missed shots and has a knack for being in position for many offensive rebounds for easy put back points. Currently, his strength and athleticism is further ahead of his skill, but will be a late recruiting target for many D1 schools.
6’1 SG Shannon Evans (Buffalo): Evans ended up being the surprise player for Hargrave as he tallied 13 second half points and kept Hargrave in the game. He hit four 3 pointers and benefiting from the driving ability of Rozier as he kicked out to Evan repeatedly for open looks. He gave Hargrave an added lift and provided scoring help, which was desperately needed for Hargrave.
6’3 SG Anton Gill (Louisville): Simply put, it was just a bad day at the office for the talented SG committed to UL! We have seen Gill as a “quiet assassin” and has the knack to make shots, especially clutch and game winning shots. Against Oak Hill, Gill simply couldn’t find his rhythm but did manage to knock down two late 3 pointers and finished with 11 points.
6’7 WF Greg McClinton (Wake Forest): McClinton started out strong the first few minutes by tallying 6 points and getting missed offensive rebounds. He went 4-6 from the free throw line but McClinton didn’t get involved much in the offense and played sparingly in the second half.
6’4 SG Donte Clark (Virginia Tech): We saw Clark many times over the summer and he just seemed more comfortable having the ball in his hands. At Hargrave, he is used primarily as a shooting guard and just didn’t seem to be in the flow of the game. Sometimes, it is difficult making the adjustment from being the main ball handler on your AAU team to being an “off guard” on the high school team. Clark possesses tremendous athleticism and was expecting more. We’re sure the ACC commit will bounce back in his next game.
6’2 PG Ike Iroegbu (Washington State): Without question, Iroegbu is physically gifted and may have as much athleticism at the PG position in the country. He makes it look easy getting to the rim, but had a tough day at the office finishing in traffic. Iroegbu has the physical attributes, but just seems to be stressing at times on the court. Once his mental outlook matches his physical attributes, he is going to be a strong PG at the collegiate level.
Others To Watch
5’10 sophomore PG Terrence Phillips of Oak Hill Academy entered the first half and gave the Warriors a spark off the bench. He is super quick and the ability to make things happen on both ends of the court. 6’3 junior SG Chris Tang was instant offense in the extra 10-minute segment. He knocked down four 3 pointers and may be more important as an effective perimeter shooter for Oak Hill as the season progresses. 6’10 Neville Fincher of Hargrave is a strong and physical center that is a willing rebounder. While somewhat raw offensively, he should be a target for lower tier to mid major D1 schools.