Powerhouses Oak Hill and Patterson set to duel


LENOIR, N.C. -- The third annual "Battle of the Blue Ridge" hoops scrimmage featuring perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and Patterson School Prep (Lenoir, N.C.) will be played Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at the Mulberry Street Recreation Center in Lenoir.

Oak Hill Academy posted a 40-1 record last season, and was again rated the nation's No. 1 high school team by USA Today. This was Oak Hill's fifth national championship since 2000, and coach Steve Smith's Warriors have compiled an amazing 248-8 record in this decade.

Last season Patterson School finished with a 36-4 record and was rated No. 3 nationally in the final prep school rankings. The depth of talent on this year's Patterson squad is again outstanding. This scrimmage will include seven players already committed to Division I programs, and, perhaps, a dozen or more others likely to sign in the future.

Oak Hill Academy will again be led by the nation's No. 1 senior, 6-2 PG Brandon Jennings (Arizona), who averaged more than 13 assists and made four game-winning shots for last year's No. 1 team. He will be joined by high scoring 6-5 2G Willie Warren in what should be the best backcourt duo in high school hoops. Warren has trimmed his list of colleges to Oklahoma (where he will visit this weekend), Kansas, Connecticut and Cincinnati.

Other standouts for the Warriors include Southern California recruit, 6-5 WF Malik Story, rugged Staten Island, N.Y., native, 6-9 C Danny Jennings; and impressive 6-7 junior P/WF Glenn Bryant from Roseville, Mich.

Coach Chris Chaney's Patterson Bulldogs feature the nation's No. 1-rated post graduate prep school player, 6-6 G/F Nate Miles (Toledo, Ohio), a Connecticut commit. One of the most interesting matchups should be recent Arkansas commit 6-0 PG Courtney Fortson going against Jennings in a star wars battle of court rockets.

Other Patterson players impressive in early workouts include: 6-2 2G Varez Ward, who visited UTEP last weekend and will visit Arkansas; New Mexico recruits 6-9 C/F Isaiah Rusher and 6-8 PF Will Brown; 6-5 G/F Chris Turner (Maryland, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Charlotte and others showing interest); Serbian native, 6-8 junior. WF Nemanja Mikic; powerful 6-10, 260-pound, center Freddy Asprilla (Florida International); 6-8 PF Rodrigo Peggau from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and others on this deep, 19-player roster.

The scrimmage is open to the public, and admission is $5.00.

Bob Gibbons is the editor and publisher of the All Star Sports Report and is widely regarded as the recruiting guru of college basketball. Drop Bob a line in his mailbag.