Battle of Virginia

by October 27, 2012

by Rodger Bohn / @rodgerbohn

The annual showdown between Oak Hill Academy and Hargrave Military not only serves as a battle of two of the nation’s top boarding schools, but also ends much of the debate as to who the top team in Virginia is. Always held on a neutral site, the game moved to Danville after being held in Roanoke for 2011. George Washington high school played host to what was ultimately a sold out crowd of basketball aficionados packed like sardines into the sold out gym to get a glimpse at the best that the state has to offer.

The scrimmage was played in two 20-minute halves, with the clock going back to zero at the end of each. An extra 15-minute session was thrown on at the conclusion in effort to give the reserves a chance to get a little shine.

Oak Hill swept all three sessions, though they were all contested. Oak Hill won the first half 51-42 and the second 45-42, with both sides playing this like it was their biggest game of the year. They completed the sweep by winning the third session with their reserves, where Brandon Jennings’ baby bro (Terrence Phillips) put in work against Hargrave’s second team.

All in all, it was a highly competitive evening of basketball that offered fans a glimpse of nearly a dozen high-major players. Here’s a look at five guys who really caught our eye:

Terry Rozier, 6-2, Point Guard, Hargrave Military Academy, 2013

The best senior that the Class of 2012 had to offer from Ohio was forced to spend an extra year at the prep level to get his grades right, but has taken his game to another level in the process. The Louisville commit showed this against Oak Hill en route to 33 points and put the ball in the bucket in just about every way imaginable. Rozier shot the ball well from deep, finished in traffic when he got to the lane, and threw up a number of creative finishes when he was in between the two. Terry’s point guard skills are still a work in progress, but the Cleveland native was good coming off of high ball screens and showed the sold out crowd why Louisville is so excited to have him next year.

Nate Britt, 6-1, Point Guard, Oak Hill Academy, 2013

A fixture among top-100 rankings since he entered high school, Nate Britt has continually shown improvement in his game and that continued against Hargrave. Though he only finished with 20 points and 4 assists, his impact on the game went far beyond the box score. The ambidextrous playmaker not only finished in the paint with both hands, but made difficult passes for scoring opportunities with both as well. Heading to North Carolina next year, Britt’s poise and ability to play the game at different speeds should help ease his transition to the collegiate level.

Troy Williams, 6-6, Small Forward, Oak Hill Academy, 2013

Tom Crean was in the building to watch Troy Williams, and Williams did not disappoint. Finishing with a stat-stuffing 16 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists, he showed the way his all-around game has evolved over the years. Troy was great in transition (both as a finisher and ball-handler), got off the floor blazingly fast with his second leap, and showed some growth on the defensive end. Williams appears to be down to Indiana, Louisville, Ohio State, Alabama, North Carolina and Georgetown with a decision to come sometime this winter.

Rokas Gustys, 6-8, Power Forward/Center, Oak Hill Academy, 2014

The biggest surprise for us (both literally and figuratively) at the scrimmage was Rokas Gustys. Standing 6 8 and a solid 260 pounds, Gustys was a wall for any Hargrave player who looked to bring the ball in the paint. Not just a sheer enforcer, he showed off a pair of great hands, utilized pump fakes, and finished nearly everything around the cup. It’s still early in the recruitment process for Rokas, but expect him to get mad love as more people begin to see him.

Sindarius Thornwell, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Oak Hill Academy, 2013

Scoring machine Sindarius Thornwell didn’t have it going against Hargrave and only finished with 16 points, but within those 16 showed fans why he was one of the most coveted shooting guards in the country. Thornwell drilled a pair of threes, attacked the rim mercilessly, and used his physicality on both ends of the court. South Carolina has a lot to look forward to in Sindarius, who is their highest ranked recruit in recent memory.

Video courtesy of CityLeagueHoops.