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Saturday / December 15.
  • At Marshall County Hoopfest, Oak Hill Must Defend Tatum Without Giles

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    When the organizers of the Marshall County Hoopfest first announced their schedule in October, they promoted the fact that Harry Giles, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2016, would play twice in three days.

    Oak Hill Academy’s first game at the Kentucky event on Thursday also held out the appealing possibility of the 6-foot-10 Giles playing against his close friend Jayson Tatum. The two players are the projected top two picks in the 2017 NBA Draft — with Tatum at No. 1 and Giles at No. 2 — according to

    Now that game will go off Thursday night on ESPN (7:30) with the Duke-bound Tatum but without Giles, his future Duke teammate. Giles tore his ACL in his first game at Oak Hill last month and is no longer at the school.

    “Harry is rehabbing at Duke three days a week and taking online classes through a school near his home in Winston-Salem,” Oak Hill coach Steve Smith told

    That means Oak Hill — which last month had six players sign Division 1 Letters of Intent — must defend the 6-foot-8 Tatum without its top rim protector. Tatum is coming off a 30-point performance with five 3-pointers in St. Louis (MO) Chaminade College Prep’s 97-46 win over McLuer North on Tuesday.

    “Tatum is the type of scorer you hope to contain, you’re not going to shut him down,” Smith said. “We will mix up our defenses and hope to make him think a little. We don’t have a rim protector with the loss of Harry Giles. Tatum is a great finisher at the rim. We are going to have to show a lot of early help on him and trust our rotations will not allow other players to hurt us.”

    Oak Hill is also missing 6-8 Penn State signee Joe Hampton, also out with an ACL injury, but features a slew of Division 1 signees and commits who can help offset the losses of their two big men: small forward Mario Kegler (Mississippi State), small forward Braxton Key (Alabama) and big man Rodney Miller (Miami).

    In addition to Tatum, Chaminade College Prep features 6-8 Iowa signee Tyler Cook.

    As for Tatum and Giles, the two close friends won’t meet up on Thursday, but Duke fans can look forward to them making an impact beginning in 2016-17.

    “They both should start from day one at Duke and have a tremendous impact,” Smith said.

    Former Duke star Justise Winslow, now a rookie with the Miami Heat, cautions that both Giles and Tatum need to continue to work hard to progress.

    “They should help [Duke] a lot if you just wanna go off [their draft projections] but they gotta stay hungry, they gotta stay humble, gotta continue to get better,” Winslow told

    “You see a lot of guys that are ranked that high that fall off. If they continue to work they can be 1 and 2 in the draft.”



    In another highly anticipated matchup set for Friday, Josh Jackson and Prolific Prep (CA) will take on Miles Bridges and Huntington (W.V.) Prep.

    The 6-7 Bridges is already committed to Michigan State and would surely love for the 6-8 Jackson, a Michigan native, to join him. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo watched Jackson last month when he went for 30 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks as his team lost to Victory Rock Prep (FL), 98-91, at the Cornfield Classic in Ames, Iowa.

    Jackson, who did not sign in the early period, is considering Michigan State, Arizona, Kansas, and Maryland among others.

    Prolific Prep coach Billy McKnight said recently on The 4 Quarters Podcast that he expects Jackson to sign during the spring.

    “Josh is the finest high school player I’ve ever seen,” McKnight said. “He is just a super talented player and not just physically, but mentally. He picks things up so quick. His physical attributes are phenomenal. He’s an extremely unselfish player, phenomenal passer. And he really just makes the game look easy, even against guys that we have right now that are high-level plays. He just does things that are incredible. He’s a treat to watch as a basketball fan and obviously we’re excited to have him, and he’s going to go on and do some unbelievable things.” 

    **Click here for the ESPN High School Basketball schedule that includes two games on Thursday from the Hoopfest.

    **Here is the the full schedule for the Marshall County Hoopfest (courtesy Check back on ZAGSBLOG for updates this week.

    Thursday, Dec. 3
    4 p.m. – API (Texas) vs. Sunrise Christian (Kan.) (ESPNU)
    6:30 p.m. – Oak Hill Academy (Va.) vs. Chaminade (Mo.) (ESPN)
    8:30 p.m. – Marshall County vs. Massac (Ill.), girls

    Friday, Dec. 4
    4 p.m. – Marshall County vs. Dyersburg (Tenn.)
    5:30 p.m. – Athlete Institute (Can.) vs. Curie (Ill.)
    7 p.m. – Huntington (W.Va.) Prep vs. Prolific Prep (Calif.)
    8:30 p.m. – Graves County vs. Bowling Green

    Saturday, Dec. 5
    Session 1
    9 a.m. – McCracken Co. vs. Massac (Ill.)
    10:30 a.m. – Marshall Co. vs. Hopkins Central, girls
    12 p.m. – Marshall Co. vs. Pope Co. (Ill.)
    1:30 p.m. – Paul Laurence Dunbar vs. Madison (Ala.)
    3 p.m. – Hopkinsville vs. J.O. Johnson (Ala.)
    Session 2
    5 p.m. – Huntington (W.Va.) Prep vs. Quality Ed (N.C.)
    6:30 p.m. – Oak Hill (Va.) vs. Athlete Institute (Can.)
    8 p.m. – Prolific Prep (Calif.) vs. API (Texas)
    9:30 p.m. – Victory Prep (Texas) vs. Sunrise Christian (Kan.)
    (All times Central)


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    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.