Future college hoops stars to hit the court at North Surry on Monday


By John Cate - jcate@civitasmedia.com



For the second year in a row, local basketball fans will have the opportunity to see some of college basketball’s future stars, and likely a few future NBA standouts, without even having to leave Surry County.

North Surry High School will host an exhibition game between two of the nation’s top prep schools, Oak Hill Academy and Hargrave Military Academy, on Monday night at 7 p.m. Admission for the event is $10.

The Greyhounds have had the honor of hosting the teams the last two seasons in part due to Lee Martin, a former North Surry athlete who serves as Associate Head Coach for the Tigers. Martin played for Hargrave in 2009 when it advanced to the national championship game for post-grad prep schools, and later starred at Catawba College before returning to the Tigers as an assistant coach.

The two teams do not compete in the same tier of competition, but do have comparable levels of talent. Oak Hill’s team is made up entirely of high school players, most of them highly-ranked recruits.

Hargrave fields both a high school team and a post-graduate team, the latter of which plays at a higher level. Oak Hill will be competing against the post-graduate team, made up mostly of players who have already completed high school, along with a few seniors.

“They normally play each other at some point of the year,” said North Surry athletics director Shane Slate. “They do this at different places every season.”

The Oak Hill roster is dotted with players who are ranked among the nation’s best collegiate prospects, and the school, located a couple of hours away in Mouth of Wilson, Va., is frequently sought out by promising prep basketball players wishing to compete alongside and against a higher level of competition.

Oak Hill’s top player is Harry Giles, a 6’10” post player who is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 prospect nationally by 247Sports.com. He is undecided on his college choice, with the leaders being Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Wake Forest. Next up is Mario Kegler, a 6’7” forward ranked 32nd nationally. Among the leaders for his services are Arizona State and Mississippi State.

Oak Hill’s third-best prospect is 6’8” small forward Braxton Key, 247’s 68th-ranked prospect, who has already committed to the University of Alabama. Key is rated as the 13th-best small forward prospect in the nation.

Their fourth and final prospect rated in the top 100 is 6’11” center Rodney Miller, No. 97 overall in the 247 top 100 and 15th overall among centers. Miller is headed to the University of Miami next year.

Five members of the Hargrave team have already made college commitments, led by 6’9” senior forward Derek Funderburk, who will attend Ohio State University next fall. Funderburk, a native of Cleveland, is a four-star recruit and the No. 8-ranked big man in the class of 2016, by a consensus of the nation’s top scouting services.

Joining him as Division I commits for next year are De’Riante Jenkins, a 6’6” post-graduate guard from Santee, S.C., who is headed for Virginia Commonwealth; Braxton Beverly, a 6’0” senior guard from Vicco, Ky., who will attend Miami of Ohio; Seth Losure, a 6’9” forward from Watertown, Conn., who is bound for Army; and Evan Wieck, a 6’9” forward from Amarillo, Texas, who is headed for Navy.

Jenkins and Beverly, like Funderburk, are nationally prominent recruits. Jenkins is projected as a small forward at the collegiate level. He is rated as the nation’s 14th-best prospect at that position by 247Sports. Beverly is a three-star recruit and this year’s 47th best point guard prospect according to 247. He transferred to Hargrave this year from Perry County Central High in Hazard, Ky.

This is the final exhibition game for both teams before they start official competition. Hargrave opens its season on Oct. 28, and Oak Hill on Nov. 3.

Slate said he expects a heavy turnout for the game, even if it’s officially an exhibition.

“We had a good crowd last year,” he said. “I expect the same thing this time, maybe a little bigger.”

By John Cate

jcate@civitasmedia.com

Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.

Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.

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