MLK Day at the Greensboro Coliseum

I made the trip to the Greensboro Coliseum on Monday and the the crowds were not great but the basketball action was solid with the #1 team in the nation on hand to put on quite a holiday show.  The MLK Day tradition of high school basketball goes back to the LeBron James game a couple of years back and this year’s featured guest was Oak Hill Academy from Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

The press row was filled with coaches including Skip Prosser of Wake Forest, Billy Donovan of Florida, Tom Palumbo and staff from Guilford College(currently 11-1), Aaron Denton from Louisburg College(AD coached at SWG, SEG, assistant at Guilford and Miami Dade and in his first year as head coach at Louisburg his team is 12-3), and other coaches were rubbing elbows along the sidelines as well.

Oak Hill at 22-0 is the nation’s top team for a reason.  Nolan Smith has 25 points and is considered by many to be the top HS player in the country, even better than OJ Mayo.  Smith is headed to Duke and his teammate Alex Legion had 33 and he is going to Michigan.  Brandon Jennings only put in 6 points but he is on his way to join OJ at Southern Cal, and that doesn’t even include Howard Thompkins who hit for 20 and Julian Vaughn with 11.  Thompkins and Vaughn are both 6’9 and are surely are on somebody’s list.

I was very impressed with the effort turned in by High Point Central.  The Bison stayed with Oak Hill during the first half and Jermaine Armstrong can play with the Oak Hill guards.  JA had 20 and he had help from Chris Applegate, as Chris hit several inside baskets set up nicely by his fellow-Bison and Applegate made some key moves to catch Vaughn, Thompkins, and Terrence Boyd off guard on a number of occasions.  You have to be proud of the job that High Point Central did, but in the secnd half Oak Hill just took the game over and showed off their #1 talent.  Coach K and HPC are currently ranked #2 in the state of NC and they may play for the 4-A title if they can keep Armstrong rested and healthy.

Greensboro Day School, the Guilford Great Eight’s #1 team battled and defeated Mount Zion 62-56.  Not that it’s that big of a deal but the score of the Oak Hill-HPC game was 108-74 and those Bison did represent us well.  Bruce Woodall represented the GDS Bengals well with 20 big points and at least 15 of those points came from 3-point range.  Woodall also rebounded the ball strongly and his defense was steady.

Brandon Davis, whose dad Russell Davis is one of the top 3 all-time laeding scorers at Louisburg College, had 16 for GDS, and N.C. State-bound Johnny Thomas had 10 after a slow start offensively but JT along with Josh Lanham played great “D” and they had their hands full trying to keep up with future Wolfpacker Tracy Smith who had 22 for Mt. Zion.  I was very impressed by Lanham’s rebounding and Josh is a sleeper for some of the DII and DIII coaches out there.  The kid can play on the college level.

High Point Central and Greensboro Day played in the two highlight games but I also watched the Smith Golden Eagles fall to Charlotte Christian 63-48.  Seth Hawkins had another steady game for Smith with 19 and many of those came from outside the arc by the little junior guard who keeps the Eagles ticking.  Charlotte Christian had Seth Curry, son of former NBA star Dell Curry, and they had Adrian Branch son of the former Maryland Terrapin of the same name.  Greensboro Day School beat Charlotte Christian last year for the state independent title and GDS plays them again in the next few days and it will be a tough matchup for the Bengals.

In other action at the Coliseum on Monday, High Point Andrews defeated Page 45-37, the Glenn Bobcats topped WS Reynolds 65-60, and Durham Riverside knocked off Rusty LaRue’s Forsyth Country Day Furies 68-44.  I spent much of the day talking to Robert Kent coach of Page HS and to Aaron Denton coach of Louisburg Junior College and I always learn a lot of new things hanging out with the coaches. 

One thought on “MLK Day at the Greensboro Coliseum

  1. I enjoyed your coverage of the high school basketball. I was at the coliseum and even though Smith lost I was proud of the Eagles and their effort. My son played for them a few years back and we were good friends with the Marvin Webster family. It is good to see someone give good local coverage. We really can’t get it anywhere else with the details on local schools you have here. Keep up the good work and I will keep pulling for my son’s old school Ben L. Smith and coach Peace is doing a good job. He has some good young guards out there and you will hear more from Smith. I plan to be a regular here at your web site.

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