This will be the first in a series of blogs leading up the widely anticipated high school basketball match-up between Omaha Central and national power Oak Hill Academy from Mouth of Wilson, Va. This game may very well approach being the biggest hoops event in the history of Nebraska high school basketball for the simple fact one of the most elite hoops programs in the United States will be playing a Nebraska team IN Nebraska.
Grand Island businessman, promoter Tino Martinez has arranged the Central/Oak Hill game as the headliner of the 6th Annual Heartland Hoops Classic. The event will take place next February 9 at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island. Courtside seats at 70 bucks a crack sold out in 15 minutes on August 23rd, but tickets for the monumental game still remain. The game will headline an 8 game slate and is set to tip off at 9:00 PM. I'll guarantee you without reservation, things will approach a fever pitch before this baby is even a month away. Omaha Central will get a prior taste of big time basketball when they play in the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Florida December 18-22. It took a special waiver by the NSAA to allow the Eagles to participate during the mandatory moratorium that runs in Nebraska December 22-26. Normally teams in Nebraska are not allowed to practice or play during this period.
Oak Hill Academy is an co-educational, boarding, Baptist affiliated school of about 155 students located in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, an unincorporated community in Grayson County just north of the North Carolina state line. It is indeed a school with high academic standards and lists a current tuition of $25,527. With additional fees such as tuition insurance, Allowance account deposit, expense account deposit, uniform fee and computer/sofware fees, the total tuition amounts to approximately $31,630. Pretty exclusive school with a pretty exclusive basketball program.
Although the school was established way back in 1878, they did not start playing basketball until the 1976/1977 season. Since that time the program has never recorded a losing season, winning 1,091 games while losing just an unimaginable 88 times. Since the year 2000, Oak Hill has compiled a record of 436-23 and has had a staggering 24 players drafted by the NBA. Almost more mind boggling is that Oak Hill has had 153 players nail down Division One scholarships since 1976.
Last season alone the school had 6 of it's players awarded D-1 scholies. Jordan Adams went to UCLA, Darien Clark to UNC-Charlotte, AJ Hammons to Purdue, Tyler Lewis to North Carolina State, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera to Georgetown, Damien Wilson to the University of Memphis. Check these stats out:
Adams is the second in scoring thus far for UCLA, Clark helped his Charlotte win the Great Alaska Shootout by scoring 10 points and grabbing 8 boards in the championship win over NortheasternHammons is the 2nd leading scorer on his Purdue team, and Smith-Rivera came off the bench in his Georgetown debut to fill in for the injured Otto Porter (pre-season All-American) and scored 19 points in a little over a half to led the Hoyas to a win over Duquense. Impressed yet? Some of the former Oak Hill Academy players that are currently in the NBA are Nolan Smith, Carmello Anthony, Stevie Blake, Rajon Rondo, Ty Lawson, and Marcus Williams. Venson Hamilton and Jerry Stackhouse are also Oak Hill alums, along with many others.
Oak Hill's splendid coach, Steve Smith, has been at the helm the past 28 seasons and is widely recognized as one of the best in the business. Smith has been named USA Today National Coach of ther Year 4 times, incuding last year. Smith's Oak Hill teams have been crowned Virginia State Champions 8 times and won that title a year ago.
Thus far in 2012, Oak Hill is 12-1 and rated 6th in the country according USA Today. The Warriors just had a 56 game winning streak snapped Saturday in Washington DC by Paul VI high school. The team will currently take a week off for semester finals before heading to Hawaii to play in the Iolani Classic in Honolulu December 18-22. The final road trip this team will take for the 2012/2013 season is to Grand Island and high school basketball fans from around the state are chomping at the bit to see this team.
In the upcoming weeks, you will learn more about this national powerhouse, it's current players, coaches, and history. In case you're not counting, the game is 54 days, 9 hours, 2 minutes and 38 seconds away. Are you ready for this?