Written By: Zain Motani
In this era, it seems like transferring programs for top high school basketball prospects from local schools to top academies has become ubiquitous.
Reasons for transferring include a desire to win a national championship and the need to be challenged in practice and games in ways their previous schools cannot provide.
The summer of 2018 set off shockwaves in the high school basketball community – not because of the number of high profile transfers, but the number of transfers to high profile programs that already had a slew of high profile recruits.
Oak Hill Academy Basketball vs. IMG Academy Basketball Teams
On July 9th, Armando Bacot announced he would transfer to IMG Academy.
Then on July 29th, Cole Anthony announced he would be transferring to Oak Hill.
Next, on August 7th, Jahmius Ramsey followed suit to Oak Hill.
Finally, on August 22nd, Jaden Springer again set the high school basketball community into a frenzy by announcing he would be transferring to IMG Academy.
Quite simply, the rich got richer.
IMG and Oak Hill will be two of the top high school basketball programs in the country and will meet on January 20th, 2019 at the Hoop Hall Classic.
After the flurry of transfers this summer, many on social media have speculated how the game will unfold between these two powerhouses.
Here’s a preview of how a game between Oak Hill and IMG might transpire:
- Cole Anthony, 6’3 184lbs, #3 player in Class of 2019
- Jahmius Ramsey, 6’4 180lbs, #32 player in Class of 2019
- Cam Thomas, 6’1 150lbs, #53 player in Class of 2020
- Noah Farrakhan, 6’1 160lbs, #40 player in Class of 2020
- Jaden Springer, 6’4 195lbs, #16 player in Class of 2020
- Josh Green, 6’6 190lbs, #9 player in Class of 2019
Anthony is the likely the best prospect on either team and also has the best professional potential. He scores at all three levels and is capable of many LeBron-esque chase-down blocks.
Anthony is most effective as a scorer attacking the rim and finishing with either hand through and around defenders. Ramsey (transfer from IMG) is a terrific slasher with enough of a three-point jumper to keep the defense honest.
Thomas is a methodical point guard with a dead-eye three-point shot. With Anthony attacking the basket and hitting Ramsey in the paint area with Thomas spotting up, this backcourt can do it all.
For IMG, Farrakhan is a do it all floor general and Springer is a terrific athlete and slasher with one of the best mid-range jumpers in all of high school basketball. Green might be the best athlete on the floor and can play the one, two, or three effectively.
IMG is slightly more athletic in the backcourt but Oak Hill has a more perimeter shooting. Given the girth that exists in the frontcourt, slashing and backdoor cuts are going to be more at a premium than in traditional settings in which teams play five players who can play the perimeter.
Oak Hill gets the advantage in the backcourt.
- Chandler Lawson, 6’8 205lbs, #73 player in Class of 2019
- Kofi Cockburn, 6’10 255lbs, #26 player in Class of 2019
- Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, 6’8 235lbs, #17 player in Class of 2019
- Armando Bacot, 6’10 240lbs, #23 player in Class of 2019
Lawson and Robinson-Earl are very similar players – both are versatile long wings who can bring up the ball with ease on fastbreaks and can run the court as slashers.
Lawson has the slight advantage over Robinson-Earl in athleticism while Robinson-Earl is slightly more offensively skilled down low. Cockburn and Bacot are traditional back to the basket bigs.
Cockburn is more of a bruiser who will try to dunk everything when he is within a few feet of the basketball but can step and hit an elbow jumper while Bacot is longer and a slightly better passer than Cockburn, particularly out of the post.
I give the slight advantage to IMG over Oak Hill in the frontcourt – Bacot’s high/low passing skills which were on full display this summer with Team Takeover on the EYBL Circuit will allow him and Robinson-Earl to effectively flex between the free throw line and low block.
- Lynn Greer III, 6’1 160lbs, #124 player in Class of 2020
- BJ Mack, 6’7 250lbs, #300 player in Class of 2019
- Chol Marial, 7’3 218lbs, #51 player in Class of 2019
- Jarace Walker, 6’4 170lbs, #9 player in Class of 2022
- Dior Johnson, 6’3 160lbs, #10 player in Class of 2022
Greer III is a smooth crafty guard who despite a somewhat diminutive stature finds crevices in the defense effectively. Mack is the only returning Oak Hill varsity player and is a skilled back to the basket big despite being slightly undersized.
Marial is long and has worked hard over the last years to add some girth. He is not only a rim protector but can also step out to hit mid-range jumpers with an impressive feathery stroke.
Walker is a bouncy wing who is a willing rebounder and more impressively, a willing passer. Johnson is a smooth true point guard who like Springer can get his spots seemingly at will even when telegraphing his upcoming move ever so slightly.
Walker and Johnson are incoming freshmen so how much they’ll play is still up in the air.
Marial’s 7’11 wingspan would be the difference and be problematic for the Warriors around the basket, and if Walker/Johnson can stay composed on the big stage, I give IMG a slight advantage in reserve play.
- Steve Smith, nine-time National Champion with 17 NBA Draft picks
- Sean McAloon, led IMG to a 25-8 record in 2017-2018
Both rosters are primarily made up of key players new to the school and will endure a challenging travel schedule. Steve’s Smith resume and experience with coaching NBA talent in big-time games on the national level give him the advantage here.
My prediction – this game will be a relatively down up-and-down affair with scoring in the 70s. In high caliber high school games I give the edge to the team that can consistently knock down the three, and for that reason, I give Oak Hill the slight advantage.