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February 22, 2011

Notebook: Oak Hill dismisses two stars

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

After reaching the top spot in the RivalsHigh 100 in January, the Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy basketball team went into a tailspin.

The team lost three games in three weeks and dropped to the mid-20s.

The losses, however, were not the low point for the team. That came last week, when Arizona-bound forward Sidiki Johnson and five-star guard Ben McLemore were dismissed from the team. They no longer are students at the school.

Johnson, a 6-foot-8 forward, is originally from the Bronx will transfer back to the city and is expected to play at New York (N.Y) Wadleigh, a public high school in the Bronx where Johnson would have been zoned to play had he not transferred to the private-school power.

The incident is not expected to affect his eligibility or his acceptance to Arizona.

His entrance to the Pac-12 school is of the highest priority to his new coach, Mike Crump.

"I don't care why (he was dismissed)," Crump told NYCHoops.net. " I just want to help the kid get into college."

McLemore, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard and the No. 17 overall prospect by Rivals.com, has not announced plans for where he will finish high school. He is originally from St. Louis.

McLemore also has not chosen where he will play basketball in college. It is believed that he has narrowed his choices to Kansas and Missouri.

Like Johnson, the incident is not expected to affect his eligibility nor his acceptance to any of his potential suitors.

Oak Hill, currently No. 15, has not suffered in their absence. In its first game without the pair, it routed previously No. 11 Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day, 103-76, behind 28 points from Duke-bound Quinn Cook.

The next RivalsHigh Top 100 will be released next week.


Entering last weekend, the Chicago (Ill.) Simeon Wolverines still had very high hopes to challenge for a RivalsHigh 100 national title.

That's no longer the case.

After a stunning 64-50 loss to Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young and a subsequent 58-54 loss to Lisle (Ill.) Benet Academy, Simeon may not even finish the year inside the Top 25.

Benet, which entered the game ranked No. 62 nationally, was led by Wisconsin-bound center Frank Kaminsky, who scored 19 points and added 10 rebounds, five blocks and four assists.

Kaminsky was complementary of the Simeon team telling the Chicago Tribune that he was impressed with the athleticism of the Wolverines.

"We were able to make the clutch plays," he told the paper. "They crushed us on the boards (33-23); they are so athletic. But we were able to get it done."


The playoffs in Texas tipped off and by the time the season is officially over, there finally may be some clarity with which teams belong in the top spots.

Entering the week, four teams from the Lone Star State were ranked inside the RivalsHigh 100's Top 20.

Led by No. 11 Flower Mound Marcus and closely followed by No. 12 Garland Lakeview Centennial, No. 14 Dallas Lincoln and No. 19 Dallas Kimball, the state is as highly regarded as any in the nation.

Some questions were answered, and the rankings held true, with Lakeview Centennial holding off Kimball, 76-69, in the pair's last regular-season game.

Other questions, however, were posed when a rankings-buster came across the wires as No. 42 Lubbock Estacado upended Lincoln, 69-56.


The first ranked team has been sent packing as the postseason does what it always does: whittles out the contenders and pretenders.

No.99 Gaffney (S.C.) High was unable to advance beyond the first round of the state playoffs, losing to Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes 61-54 in overtime.

Byrnes, much more known for football than basketball, entered the game with an 8-16 record but knocked out the defending state champions after a put-back at the buzzer sent the game into overtime.

The win is believed to be among the biggest in the history of the school.

"I'm a pretty good historian of Byrnes basketball. I'm not going to say this is the greatest win ever, but it ranks up there," Byrnes coach Layne Fowler told the website GoUpstate.com. "It's an unbelievable feeling knowing what (Gaffney coach Mark Huff) has done winning all those state titles. But I'm going to give my guys a lot of credit. They worked really hard and fought. I told them we had yet to play four quarters all year long, and we finally did tonight."

MORE: Joran Brand donates $150,000 to school for hoops improvements

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