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December 6, 2007Oak Hill Academy in tiny Mouth of Wilson, Virginia sits atop of the prep basketball world. The Warriors have won six FAB 50/National Prep Poll national titles since the 1987-1988 season with another five No. 2 finishes.
The Warriors opened the 2007-2008 season ranked No. 2 in the preseason Rivals.com FAB 50 national rankings behind Duncanville, Texas. Oak Hill, however, is definitely No. 1 in something as they recorded the top Team SPARQ Rating on the 2007 NIKE SPARQ Team Challenge (NSTC) national tour.
On the 2007 NSTC tour, 3,336 boys and girls basketball players from 215 different schools in four regions of the country were SPARQ Tested as their school challenged for the best Team SPARQ Rating. In regards to the NIKE SPARQ Team Challenge, every athlete within a school's program was encouraged to test. In order to win the challenge, however, the top team ratings were generated using the cumulative average of the five top individual SPARQ Ratings.
Of the 135 male programs tested, it's no surprise Oak Hill finished on top as coach Steve Smith's program annually produces some of the best basketball talent in the country, many which are top-flight athletes such as the Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith. As the NSTC tour went along, the SPARQ representatives on the tour and the folks that helped create the proprietary formula that produces a numeric value to gauge athleticism quietly felt the Warriors might record the highest Team SPARQ Rating.
When the NSTC East region truck rolled through Southern Virginia, their quiet reservations were confirmed as Oak Hill topped the SPARQ team charts with a 83.17 SPARQ Rating. The "Road Warriors" easily topped the 81.65 Team SPARQ Rating of defending Louisiana Class 4A state champs Peabody of Alexandria and the 81.58 of perennial California L.A. City Section power Taft of Woodland Hills.
The national high school basketball power had four of its student-athletes grade out with individual ratings over 83.00. Leading the way for Oak Hill was 6-foot-7 Michigan native Glenn Bryant, a junior whose excellent 85.67 SPARQ Rating* included a 34.5 inch vertical jump. The team's highest vertical jump, however, went to 6-foot-1 point guard Brandon Jennings. Considered the nation's top point guard prospect and the nation's top overall prospect by some talent evaluators, Jennings also recorded the top NSTC East region marks in the 20-meter dash (2.76), the Agility Cone Drill (5.32) and the 30-Second Endurance Jump test (74). A second team EA SPORTS All-American as a junior for an Oak Hill squad that he helped capture the FAB 50 national title, the Southern California native is a strong EA SPORTS National Player of the Year candidate this season as a senior.
On the 2007 NSTC tour, the four trucks SPARQ tested 11 defending state champions from nine different states, but the top SPARQ rated actually doesn't belong to a state association. They are often referred to as the "Road Warriors" because they barnstorm the country to play the best competition possible with the goal of a FAB 50 mythical national title each season.
So far this season, the nation's No. 2 team is 10-0 and looking to prove they are indeed No. 1 in both the NSTC and on the hardwood, but it won't be easy by any means. They are playing well so far, but have a brutal stretch of games coming up starting with No. 11 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) on national television at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Kentucky on December 13. The Warriors will then take on Ed Davis and No. 44 Benedictine (Richmond, Va.) four night later before taking on No. 1 Duncanville (which is currently 11-0 after going 39-0 last season) on December 19.
Although extremely talented, Oak Hill is not an extremely deep club and will have their hands full against a stacked Duncanville squad led by junior Shawn Williams. The game will be played in Texas, but the "Road Warriors" are used to playing on the road in hostile environments in their quest to prove they are not only the 2007 NSTC champions, but the best high school team in the country.
To learn more about the NIKE SPARQ Team Challenge CLICK HERE.
To read more blogs from the NSTC tour, CLICK HERE.
Read below to see which other Oak Hill athletes recorded individual SPARQ Rating in the national top 25:
*The goal of the SPARQ Basketball Rating is to give coaches, trainers and athletes the tools to assess the overall athleticism of a basketball player with tests that are designed to reflect the specific physical demands of the game. The SPARQ Rating is not designed or intended as a measure of basketball skills or an athlete's potential success on the court. SPARQ realizes that the intangibles of desire, hard work, teamwork and knowledge of the game all contribute to ultimate success in a complex skill sport like basketball. To learn more about the SPARQ Basketball Rating and compare SPARQ Ratings with teammates, training partners and competitors, go to www.sparqtraining.com.