Who: No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) vs. No. 7 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)
When: 2 p.m. ET, Thursday
Where: Christ The King, Middle Village, N.Y.
PREVIEW: Newcomers look to buck trend
About Oak Hill: This isn’t, of course, Oak Hill’s first rodeo. No, the powerhouse out of Virginia has made six appearances at DICK’s Nationals, having reached the title game in each of the last two tournaments, losing both times. to Montverde Academy. This year’s team, which has lost just once and beaten three teams in the current Super 25 rankings, is led by five D-1 commits, including 6-11 center Rodney Miller, who will play next year at Miami, and Braxton Key, who’s headed to Alabama. Mario Kegler, another big, will play next season at Mississippi State. The Warriors are big, deep, and athletic. They will, as in past years, be a very tough out.
About Wasatch Academy: Not only will this be the Tigers’ first appearance at the DICK’s Nationals, it will be the first time a team from Utah has been included in the field. Wasatch (No. 15 in Super 25 rankings) has played three other DICK’s Nationals contenders this season, defeating La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.), but getting blown out by both Montverde (Fla.) and Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). The Tigers’ only other loss this season came to Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), who’s led by McDonald’s All American Frank Jackson. Wasatch is led by guard Koby McEwan, a Utah State commit, and a couple of big, athletic underclassmen in Emmanuel Akot (6-7), Josip Vraknic (6-9) and 6-7 senior forward Jackson Rowe.
What to expect: On paper, this looks like Oak Hill, a perennial powerhouse in high school hoops, against some team out of Utah. But don’t be fooled: Wasatch has the athleticism to compete in this game, though it will be difficult to overcome Oak Hill’s overall pedigree and experience.