Signing Day Showdown
Oak Hill Academy (VA) vs. Flora MacDonald Academy recap.
While many of the top ballers in the nation were busy signing their lives away for the next four years, there was a matchup of two of the better prep schools on the Atlantic coast going on in tiny Mouth of Wilson, VA.
Located deep in the forests of Virginia, Oak Hill Academy can be a bit of a nightmare for GPS-dependent travelers looking to catch a game. The back roads that take you to this perennial power offer no street lights, have more curves than a playboy bunny, and boast blazing 25-35 mph speed limits for the majority of the ride. Thankfully for us, Oak Hill coach Steve Smith’s wife (Lisa) was gracious enough to give us a short cut, noting that our GPS likely wouldn’t work in the area.
Once we got to the gym, we were immediately taken back by the mystique of the walls completely filled with championship banners and college jerseys of former Oak Hill stars. The shoebox of a gym offered an intimate environment to catch a game and was at full capacity with a blend of die hard hoops fans, college coaches and faithful alumni.
The game started off close early on, but Oak Hill was able to pull away by the half. The frantic pressure defense by Oak Hill resulted in tons of highlight plays for fans in attendance and ultimately proved to be too much for Flora MacDonald. Maintaining a 30-point lead throughout virtually the entire second half, Oak Hill got the W with a final score of 105-76.
Here’s a look at some of the top players from both teams:
Roscoe Smith | 6-7 | SF | Oak Hill Academy | 2010
Baltimore’s finest came in to his matchup with Luke Cothron with a chip on his shoulder, playing every possession out there like it was his last. He used his crazy length to put tons of pressure on the ball, forcing turnovers from both forward positions and finishing with 28 points and 16 rebounds. The activity and energy that he provided on the hardwood made him a monster on the glass, also showing the intangibles that have made him one of the elite forward prospects in the country. Roscoe is still transitioning to the small forward position, but his handle and jumper looked much improved from the summer. Smith told SLAM that he’s down to Duke, UConn, and Georgetown…and that Harrison Barnes’ looming college decision (Barnes is considering Duke) had zero effect as to why he’s waiting til the spring to sign.
Luke Cothron | 6-8 | PF | Flora MacDonald | 2010
Though his FMA squad did not have the best showing as a whole, Cothron got his with a 42-point, 12-rebound performance. It was clear that he was equally as hyped for his matchup with Smith, demanding the ball from the second he stepped on the floor. Not a crazy athlete, the Alabama native showed the game of a skilled four man who has the ability to step out beyond the arc. He converted on a number of unorthodox moves in the paint against bigger defenders, while also showing an improved perimeter game, drilling five three-pointers. The NC State commit told us that he’s still firmly committed to the WolfPack, despite the fact that he will not sign in the early signing period. When asked if his decision not to ink had anything to do with State’s recruitment of freak show CJ Leslie, Cothron gave us a laugh and said, “Nah, I’m just not ready yet.”
Doron Lamb | 6-4 | SG | Oak Hill Academy | 2010
Lamb led the way for Oak Hill with a sick 33-point, 9-rebound, 7-assist outing. The combo guard has continued to prove time and time again that he is one of the best pure scorers in his class, but also showed better playmaking skills from when we last saw him. Lamb appears to be working hard to improve the consistency of his shot beyond the arc and also told us that he’s been putting in some serious time in the weight room. The NYC native was rocking a KU shirt (for all you Jayhawk fans), but said that he’s still nowhere near ready to commit and is still looking at Kentucky, Kansas, UConn, Arizona and Oklahoma.
Juwan Staten | 5-11 | PG | Oak Hill Academy | 2010
After winning three straight AAU national championships with All Ohio Red and reaching the Ohio D-2 state championship game with Thurgood Marshall HS, Staten opted to take his game to Oak Hill for better competition on a daily basis. Playing for arguably the top high school in the country, he sure got that and you can see it in his game via his 22 points and 12 assists. The Dayton native still showed us the same scoring ability that made him one of the nation’s finest small guards but also proved that he can run the show at a high level, which he didn’t have the chance to do playing off the ball in AAU and for his old high school. Staten is the top recruit headed to the A-10 for next year at the moment, and should make an instant splash at Dayton from the time he steps on campus.
Baye Moussa Keita | 6-11 | C | Oak Hill Academy | 2010
As if Syracuse didn’t already have enough length this year for their renowned 2-3 zone, they’ll be getting 7 feet more of it in Moussa Keita. He’s definitely still a work in progress, but the native of Senegal is making strides in the right direction. Baye did a great job running the floor and established himself as a forced to be reckoned with in the paint defensively, despite his slender build. Moussa Keita had a number of dunks en route to his 11 point, 15 rebound performance, but still needs a ton of work on his hands before he can even possibly be considered a consistent threat on the offensive end.
Derrick Martin | 6-9 | PF/C | Flora McDonald | 2010
The second Alabama native to make the move to FMA, Martin showed a nice amount of long term potential against Oak Hill. He’s got a wiry frame that will certainly need to add weight, but owns the length and athleticism that you look for in a big man at the high major level. Martin stepped out and drilled a pair of three pointers, ran the floor exceptionally well, and blocked a handful of shots. He’s a bit under the radar now, but could very well be one of those late signees that show up at a high major program near you.