Shortly before MaxPreps released its preseason rankings Nov. 6, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
threw a wrench into things with a shocking early-season loss.
Quality Education Academy of Winston-Salem, N.C., broke in a new gym with a 20-point thrashing of the Warriors. But the team's response in recent weeks could suggest that this year's Warriors may still be capable of living up to a lofty preseason ranking.
Since the loss to Quality Education on Nov. 1, Oak Hill Academy is 5-0 and has won four of those games by 28 points or more. The Warriors knocked off national No. 25 Carlisle (Martinsville, Va.) on Friday night to improve to 7-1 overall and gave legendary head coach Steve Smith his 900th career victory.
"We should be much improved over last year," Smith told MaxPreps last month. "Not sure we will be where we were two years ago (when the Warriors went 44-0 and won a national title), but we'll have a chance every night out."
The point guard position is in good hands with
and returner Terrence Phillips
, the brother of Pistons floor general Brandon Jennings.
"They go after each other," Smith said. "It's good for each of them. We could start either one of them, probably go with Shelton as a senior but Terrence will play a lot."B.J. Stith
and the Martin twins Caleb
– all headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference – give Oak Hill an embarrassment of riches on the wings. They have experience playing with each other on the club circuit and will be a major matchup problem on most nights.Rokas Gustys
, a native of Lithuania, joins touted newcomers Rodney Miller
, Tony Anderson
and Trevor Manual
as options in the post.
Smith clearly likes what he sees in Miller, a St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) transfer who is every inch of 6-foot-11, according to the legendary coach.
"When we first saw him he was out of shape and had never lifted weights. I couldn't tell, thought maybe he was a year away," Smith said. "But he is out here working hard and we are excited about him. He's going to be a pro one day."View gallery of Oak Hill Academy preseason photo shoot
Oak Hill Academy last five years:
2012-13 (Steve Smith) – 33-6, No. 8 final Academy Top 10 national ranking
2011-12 (Steve Smith) – 44-0, Academy Top 10 National Champions
2010-11 (Steve Smith) – 29-4, No. 7 final Xcellent 25 national ranking
2009-10 (Steve Smith) – 29-4
2008-09 (Steve Smith) – 40-1, No. 2 final Xcellent 25 national ranking