Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Gallon, Oak Hill Knock off Montrose Christian; Sooners, Wildcats Getting Stud Big Men
In the last regular-season high school game this year on ESPN, Keith “Tiny” Gallon put up 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to lead unbeaten Oak Hill to a 69-63 victory over Montrose Christian at Georgetown (Md.) Prep.
The 6-foot-9, 290-pound Oklahoma-bound Gallon battled it out in the paint all night with 6-10, 240-pound Villanova commit Mouphtaou Yarou, who finished with 24 points and 10 boards for Stu Vetter’s team. Gallon called Yarou a “beast” in his post-game interview with ESPN.
Steve Smith’s Oak Hill team, No. 2 in the RivalsHigh 100, improved to 38-0, while No. 8 Montrose Christian dropped to 20-2.
“It means a lot,” Gallon told ESPN. “Three years ago Montrose had beat us. and just to take it back, it means a lot. That’s how we want to do it, is just win.”
The top three teams in the nation — Mater Dei, Findlay Prep and Oak Hill — are a combined 97-0.
Virginia Tech commit Lamont “Momo” Jones of Oak Hill added six assists and 12 points, including two late clutch free throws, with Hokies coach Seth Greenburg in the front row. Doron Lamb finished with 15 points for Oak Hill.
Montrose’s Terrance Ross, one of the top juniors in the country, tallied 14 points and Villanova-bound forward Isaiah Armwood added 10 points.
As for Gallon, he was inspired to lose more than 50 pounds after talking last summer with Shaquille O’Neal, John Lucas and Chris Wilcox in his hometown of Houston. He weighed nearly 350 last year but is now dieting, working out harder and devoting himself to following in Blake Griffin’s footsteps to Oklahoma.
Now he’s a McDonald’s All-American and playing like it.
In this game he was tremendously agile and mobile while showing a soft touch. On one play he talk the ball off the bounce from the high paint and knifed in for a layup. On another, he spun around Yarou and dunked it with a flourish.
On the other side, Yarou, a native of Benin in West Africa, and Armwood also looked very impressive. Yarou, the No. 5 among power forward in the Class of 2009, was nearly unstoppable in the paint, especially when establishing position on the low block.
The 6-7, 178-pound Armwood showed a good motor and a willingness to shoot it from 12 or 15 feet.
When the offiicals seemed to lose control of the game briefly at the end, Armwood was called for a technical foul after shouldering Pe’Shon Howard (who then belly-flopped) on a walk to the Montrose huddle.
As you can read here Villanova coach Jay Wright, who visited Yarou’s family in his native Benin, is getting a tremendous recruiting class in Armwood, Yarou, Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek.
“Isaiah we recruited for a long time,” Wright said earlier this year on ESPN. “He’s going to be a really versatile player. He’s a wing player that’s 6-8, 6-9 and is athletic. He puts it on the floor, he’s got great quickness and he’s another competitive kid. This summer he stayed around didn’t play a lot of AAU ball. He worked on his game with Coach Vetter at Montrose, and he worked on his academics.”
In Armwood and Yarou, Wright is getting a power duo down low who will have already played a whole year together before they ever set foot on Villanova’s campus.
“Mouph was in D.C. for the summer and came there and worked out with those guys and all of a sudden, bam they’re playing together,” the coach said. “Mouph actually committed to us before he went to Montrose. Now they’re playing together and they’re the two best players on their high school team and they’re going to have a year together.
“So to bring them in here in this class and have them play together for a year is going to be a great advantage for us.”
On the other side, Glenn Bryant also flashed athleticism for Oak Hill. On one play, he jumped straight up several feet and blocked a shot by Armwood in the paint.
Both teams could meet again in the ESPN/Nike National Invitational April 3-5 back at Georgetown Prep.
“Another win. National champs, that’s all we’re looking for,” Gallon said.
PREP CALENDARMarch 21 – PSAL Boys AA championship, Madison Square Garden
March 23 – New Jersey Tournament of Champions final, Izod Center
March 27-29 – New York State Federation Tournament of Champions, Glens Falls, N.Y.
April 1 – McDonald’s All-American Game, Miami
April 3-5 – ESPN/Nike National Invitational, Washington, D.C.
April 18 – Jordan Brand Classic, Madison Square Garden
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.