Phenom's Open Gym Tour
Oak Hill Academy (VA)
By Rick Lewis
Phenom Hoop Report traveled to Mouth of Wilson, Virginia to check out National powerhouse Oak Hill Academy coached by legendary Steve Smith. Entering his 33rd season at Oak Hill, Coach Steve Smith has complied an amazing 1064-70 record. That is an unheard of 94% winning percentage. Coach Smith has coached Oak Hill to eight mystical national high school championships and won the prestigious Dick’s National High School Invitational in 2016.
Like every year, Oak Hill simply reloads and this season is no difference. As a matter of fact, Turner Gymnasium was graced with the presence of Kentucky’s John Calipari, Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner, NC State’s Kevin Keatts, Texas’s Shaka Smart, and Maryland’s Mark Turgeon. In today’s report, we will take a closer look at the standout players during open gym.
6’7’ 18 Keldon Johnson
Length, strength, athleticism, skill set and academics! Johnson has added additional strength and has an imposing game and tremendous basketball frame. He has a unique game of strength plus finesse, but we were most impressed with his unselfish play throughout scrimmage. Rarely do you find such a talented and gifted prospect that plays so well within the team structure. That being said, Johnson can score from all three levels. While he is such a smooth and fluid player, Johnson is also a fierce competitor on the court and in the classroom. Johnson has enjoyed an impressive 4.0 GPA.
6’5 ’19 Josh Nickleberry
It’s really hard to believe he’s just a junior. One thing is for certain; he has gained additional strength and showed little to no side effects of a broken finger on his shooting hand. Nickeberry showcased outstanding range and the ability to attack off the dribble. At our 2016 NC Top 80 camp, we stated, “Josh Nickleberry, in our opinion will be in the national conversation as one of the higher tier players in his class.” Like Keldon Johnson, he is blessed with tremendous athleticism, an advanced skill set and a model student in the classroom. Nickleberry can also score from all three levels, but has outstanding range on his 3-point shot. In addition, Nickleberry is exceptional off the bounce and can easily create his own scoring opportunities.
6’4 ’18 Will Richardson
In our opinion, Will Richardson has a tad of Kendall Marshall in his game. The southpaw is a silky smooth ball handler who is exceptional off the pick and roll. Richardson has terrific court vision and simply makes his teammates better on the court. We were impressed with his poise and overall command of the game. He has a high level feel for the game and will be the engine of this year’s high-powered offense. Richardson is a solid shooter and can pull up and hit the midrange jumper, although he has a low release point and his shot is flat at times. That being said, he’s has a high basketball IQ and his size will create a lot of problems for opposing point guards.
6’10 ’18 David McCormack
McCormack is simply a gifted and physically mature big! He has done more to transform his body in the past two years and his sheer strength and size will be unmatched at the high school level. While McCormack is blessed with tremendous size and athleticism, but we were equally impressed with his work ethic and competitiveness on the court. One thing is for certain; David McCormack doesn’t relax and rest on his reputation. He clearly puts it on the line each and every game.
6’5 ’18 Keyontae Johnson
Without question, Keyontae Johnson has freakish athleticism and he didn’t mind putting it on display during open gym. He has an enormous wingspan and has a ridiculous 41-inch vertical. That being said, very few players can match his intensity and sheer high level of effort and energy. In our opinion, Johnson will be the sleeper player on this stacked and loaded Oak Hill team. He rebounds extremely well for his size/position and has impeccable timing for rebounds on both ends of the court.
6’8 ’19 BJ Mack
Since being at Oak Hill, Mack has lost 13 pounds according to the coaching staff. He still has a ways to go in terms of conditioning and toning up his body, however he has excellent hands and is an excellent passer out of the post. At open gym, Mack was knocking down perimeter jumpers with consistency and even stretched the defense out with several 3-pointers. Currently, he is better facing up to the basket rather than his back to the basket. He will need to add some vertical lift to his game to be more effective on the interior, but his perimeter shooting can be utilized as a dangerous offensive weapon.