As school started back at Oak Hill Academy, the chatter around campus consisted of summer activities, class schedules, and plans for a new school year. Not lost in all of the chatter was the excitement for a new Red Team season and questions of who will make the team. Every school year the Red Team holds open tryouts for any student enrolled at Oak Hill Academy. Typically a tryout consists of physical conditioning tests while also being evaluated for live game basketball skill. This year the tryouts took place over a two-week period which allowed the coaching staff to thoroughly evaluate each potential player. After much deliberation the Red Team coaching staff would like to announce the 2016-2017 Oak Hill Academy Red Team.
Name Position Grade
Oliver Lynch-Daniels Guard 12th
Graeme Majors Guard 12th
Aidan Stenner Forward 12th
Alex Stenner Forward 12th
Umberto Brusadin Guard 12th
Camden Hughes Guard 12th
Shamar Henry Guard 12th
Michael Odiana Guard 12th
Donovan Saine Forward 11th
Sean Oberman Forward 11th
Akrum Ahemed Guard 11th
Idrissa Sow Forward 11th
Damani McEntire Forward 11th
Bryce Radford Guard 10th
Josh Hall Forward 10th
Logan Houle Guard 9th
The 2016-2017 Red Team will kick off their season on November 1st, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. at Turner Gymnasium in Mouth of Wilson, VA. Good luck to the Red Team during the long season that is Oak Hill Academy Basketball.
Each year about this time, Head Coach Steve Hebold goes through the very intentional act of removing all press clippings, photos and accolades from the previous Red Team season and the returning and new players are greeted in the coach’s classroom with a blank wall. Each year’s version of the Red Team is challenged with the idea that, while there is a building tradition, “You write your own story of the upcoming season.” For the Red Team, that story starts right away in preseason conditioning and the tryout process during the first weeks of the school year. Today, Coach Burns updates us on what some of the returning players have been up to this summer.
“Oak Hill’s Red Team Returning Players Are Hungry For Success” – Guest blogger, Michael Burns, Red Team Assistant Coach
With at least six players returning in the fall, the Oak Hill Academy Red Team looks toward continued success next season. After The Red Team won a NACA National Championship, the underclassmen who will return could have relaxed and “rested on their laurels” this summer. However, most have been hard at work elevating their game through individual work and full AAU seasons. I was able to catch up with six of our returning players for an update.
Between AAU Tournaments, camps, and training, Oliver Lynch-Daniels has literally been living out of a suitcase. Oliver plays AAU with Juice All-Stars North Carolina but has spent most of the summer attending different camps around the country. So far this summer, Oliver has attended the Princeton Elite Camp, Brown Elite Camp, Colgate Elite Camp, Dartmouth Elite Camp, Scout Focus All-American Camp, PowerAde All-American Camp, and National Phenom America camp. Oliver returns to the Red Team for his senior year as the leading scorer, 2-year Captain, and a NACA All-American.
Graeme Majors has spent his summer playing with the Wale Prep Raiders AAU Organization, while working with a trainer in his free time. Graeme returns to the Red Team for his senior year after starting 24 games at point guard for the Warriors. The Red Team looks for Graeme’s sharp shooting, crafty guard play and veteran leadership to aid the senior floor general in “running the show” for Warriors during the 2016-2017 season.
Aidan and Alex Stenner also will be returning to the Red Team for their senior year. During the summer, Aidan and Alex play with the USA United AAU Organization out of Chapel Hill, NC. While Aidan and Alex are twins and are often seen together off the court and are considered the team comedians, they also work well together on the court. Aidan and Alex provide high-energy defense combined with rebounding, and also can be called upon to spark the offense.
Umberto Brusadin will be returning to the Red Team for his senior year. Umberto has spent the summer in his home country of Italy, and continues to play basketball in the Latina Basket organization. Umberto also participates in personal training but states he still finds time to visit the beach, work on his tan, and enjoy his family. We look toward the bulldog-like defensive intensity Umberto provides and he will be relied upon to bring that lift every day.
While returning five seniors would make any coach happy, the Red Team also returns its youngest member–rising sophomore Bryce Radford. During the summers, Bryce plays for the Pittsburgh Storm AAU Organization and this summer Bryce has led the Storm to 2 AAU Championships: Big Shots Spooky Nook and Big Shots Myrtle Beach. Bryce was also awarded a Big Shots All-Star spot for his performance in the Big Shots Myrtle Beach tournament. After being injured much of his freshman season, Bryce will be called upon to stretch defenses. The running joke is that, if both feet are across half-court, Bryce is in range.
Being able to return at least six players for the Red Team is a great foundation to build on as the school year begins in August. This is not a conclusive list of the all of the possible returners for the Red Team, just the ones with which I’ve easily been able to keep in touch. In order to complete the roster, Oak Hill Academy’s Red Team will host tryouts for Oak Hill students once the school year begins. One thing is for sure; all of the returners are hungry for repeated success and the chance to defend the National Championship. Stay tuned for more updates as the school year begins.
Eight years ago, multi-certified strength and conditioning coach Micah Kurtz began working with Oak Hill Academy’s athletic program in developing protocol and best practices in our weight room alongside OHA full-time strength coach, Bryan Meagher. What began as a sport-specific (basketball) workout has blossomed over the years into a full-fledged program that athletes across multiple sports at OHA, as well as students in advanced P.E. classes, have come to know as “The Oak Hill Way.”
This past June, Coach Kurtz was recognized as the nation’s High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association). He is also a two-time South Carolina Strength Coach of the Year for his outstanding work with A.C. Flora High School, his full-time job. Along with his consultancy with Oak Hill Academy, Coach Kurtz serves as P.E. teacher and sports nutritionist for A.C. Flora’s entire 38-team athletic program. Coach Kurtz is also a highly sought-after presenter and has worked clinics in China and throughout the U.S. as a Subject Matter Expert for the NSCA.
Coach Kurtz is originally from Buffalo, NY, and has worked in public school in Baltimore and as a graduate assistant at the University of South Carolina. During his association with Oak Hill, the Warriors have won 3 National Titles. Coach Kurtz’s A.C. Flora Falcons have won multiple state titles in baseball, basketball, boys’ golf, boys’ tennis and soccer, along with having a very successful run in football–for which he is also an assistant coach.
Coach Kurtz is a National Board Certified Teacher, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a USA Weight Lifting Certified Sport’s Performance Coach, a National Association Speed and Explosion Specialist and a Level II Functional Movement Screen Certified Coach.
We are fortunate to have the best working with our athletic department. Coach Kurtz is on campus frequently throughout the year and works all of our summer camps. His fingerprints are all over the athletic success we’ve had recently at OHA and many of our students have transformed their bodies through programs he and Coach Meagher have implemented in our Advanced P.E. classes.
For more on Coach Meagher and Coach Kurtz, visit their website here: http://www.theathletemaker.com/
Last week, the Director of the National Association of Christian Athletes, Dave Sekura, announced the Boys’ National Div I and II All-American team on their website http://www.nacasports.net/ . Oak Hill Academy is proud to have two members selected from our Red Team, Junior Oliver Lynch-Daniels and Senior Will Watkins. Both are members of the Oak Hill squad that won the Division II National Championship at last month’s national tournament held in Dayton, Tennessee.
Will Watkins (l), and Oliver Lynch-Daniels (r)
Full list of the 2016 NACA All-American team:
The National Association of Christian Athletes would like to announce its 2016 All-American boys’ basketball team. Congratulations to the following young men:
DIVISIONS I and II
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Hamilton Heights
Nikiel Alexander-Walk – Hamilton Heights
Udoke Azebuto – Potter’s House
Jethro Tshisumpa – Mountain Mission
Tyrik Dixon – Southwest Christian
Oliver Lynch-Daniels – Oak Hill Academy
Oscar Tshiebwe – Mountain Mission
Will Watkins – Oak Hill Academy
Mohammed Mubarak – Lighthouse Christian
All pre-season, the new players on the Oak Hill Academy Red Team heard a lot from the coaches and returning players about the end of the year tournament, held at Camp Fort Bluff in Dayton, Tennessee. The National Association of Christian Athletes http://www.nacasports.net/ hosts this annual event (Feb. 24-26 this year), and because our basketball program doesn’t belong to a conference, this tournament represents the post season. All season long, the N.A.C.A. event is held out as the both the goal and the measuring stick. It is a tough tournament to win for several reasons: it is a marathon of 4 games in 3 days; it means 4 days of living out of a suitcase and eating on the road; oh, and the competition is fierce.
For private Christian schools with hungry and outstanding basketball programs, who often have to travel great distances to sporadically get stiff competition, it represents a buffet of sorts. Junior Noah Thomas, a first-year player, got the message. He explains, “You could tell with Coach Hebold, heading into the tournament that it was serious – practices had become more intense, details became more important. We were prepared to have to step it up.”
As the tournament approached, the regular season schedule ramped up as well. Assistant Coach Mike Burns points out, “The last part of our schedule especially prepared us for this run by facing tough teams down the stretch (Wesleyan, Mountain Mission, Bull City Prep and New Garden Friends School).”
Winning the championship game against a stout Mountain Mission School on Friday afternoon 65-58 was the culmination of 4 tough games. In the first game on Wednesday, the Warriors defeated Central Park (AL) 65-53, a tougher first-round opponent than expected. Thursday, the Red Team had to lace them up twice as they defeated Lighthouse (TN) 56-50 – a team some pegged as the tournament favorite – and then had to turn around and play a scrappy Cumberland (GA) to a 72-50 win to set up the championship game.
The N.A.C.A. Division II National Championship game featured two teams very familiar with each other. The Red Team had faced Mountain Mission School (VA) twice already this season, wrestling victories away both times. Coaches say that beating a team three times is one of the most difficult challenges a season can bring. Although the game was played on a neutral site this time at Camp Fort Bluff, Senior Will Watkins shared the source of a bit of extra motivation: he knew that the Oak Hill student body was watching the game in the school Chapel on the live feed. “Knowing that we were getting that kind of support made it feel almost like a home game for us. We appreciated the love shown by our Oak Hill family back home – we could feel it.”
In a game of big momentum swings, this could have made the difference as the Red Team watched a 17-point first half lead shrink and then become a 6-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Using a combination of buckle-down defense and pressure foul shooting (along with a key three by Will Watkins late) the Red Team was able to get back on top for the National Championship win. The Red Team has appeared in 2 of the last 4 title games at N.A.C.A. Coach Burns explains, “This is a huge win for the program, we are happy to represent the Oak Hill tradition that everyone knows about and to carve out some tradition for the Red Team specifically.” In explaining what it took this year, Coach Burns points to several characteristics of this team. “It took a lot of grit. It is a grind to win this tournament so I’d have to point to the discipline developed all year and the chemistry that this group has forged as a big advantage.”
The players knowing each other well, a product of a long season in close quarters, was seen in the way that they were able to find the hot hand – which often changed through the course of games and the week. Coach Burns points out “Will Watkins’ explosion earlier in the week would not have happened without selflessness and team chemistry as he had one stretch of 7 consecutive trips in a tight game of six threes and a long 2 – a 20-0 run himself.”
Photo credit to NACA/Camp Fort Bluff http://www.nacasports.net/
In the scope of the week, the leading performers emerged. Seniors Will Watkins and Bushe Ramabu were solid selections to the N.A.C.A. All-Tournament team. Oliver Lynch-Daniels, as he has done all season, paced the Red Team and provided solid leadership en route to being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player.
It was truly a team effort. To see complete stats from the tournament, click here: NACA GAMES
Following is the schedule for Oak Hill Academy Red Team games at the NACA (National Association of Christian Athletes) 2016 Tournament at Dayton, TN:
Boys — Division 2
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 1:00 p.m. – Oak Hill Red vs. Central Park Christian School (AL) Oak Hill won 68-53!
O. Lynch-Daniels 23 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast; B. Ramabu 10 pts, 8 reb, 1 blk; G. Majors 8 pts, 3 reb, 4 ast.
Thursday, Feb. 25, 11:30 a.m. – Oak Hill Red vs. Lighthouse Christian High School (TN); live stream available here. Oak Hill won 56-50!
W. Watkins 14; B. Ramabu 11; O. Lynch-Daniels 11; N. Thomas 10; Alex Stenner 4; Aidan Stenner 3; G. Majors 3.
Thursday, Feb. 25, 4:00 p.m. – Oak Hill Red vs. Cumberland Christian Academy (GA) Oak Hill won 72-50!
W. Watkins 23 pts, 3 ast; O. Lynch-Daniels 22 pts, 4 reb, 3 ast; B. Ramabu 10 pts, 5 reb.
Friday, Feb. 26 Games
Oak Hill Red Team vs. Mountain Mission 2 (VA) for Tournament Championship – 2:45 p.m. Oak Hill won 65-58! Congratulations!
W. Watkins 19; O. Lynch-Daniels 17; B. Ramabu 16; Aidan Stenner 7; G. Majors 4; Alex Stenner 2.
All-Tournament Team: W. Watkins, O. Lynch-Daniels, B. Ramabu.
Tournament Offensive MVP – O. Lynch-Daniels
Repeating as champions of the Sportsmen for Christ Classic at Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Virginia, was a big goal heading into the season. The growth of the MMS program has turned this tournament into a measuring stick of sorts and Coach Mike Burns is pleased with how the Red Team measured up this past weekend. “There are always really good teams and an electric atmosphere at this event. To win–that’s a result of everyone on the team buying into their roles.”
Key performances were turned in by junior Oliver Lynch-Daniels, who picked up Tournament MVP honors while averaging 18.5 points and 4 assists in the two games, and junior Graeme Majors, who was selected to the All-Tournament team with a 5/9 three-point performance in the championship game. Bushe Ramabu was again dependable with a two-game average of 14 points and almost 8 rebounds.
In the opening round game, the Red Team faced off against Moravian Prep (NC) and fought to an 82-72 win, setting up a championship game against the host team, Mountain Mission School. In that game, the Oak Hill players were tested heavily, in no small part due to the crowd. As Coach Burns explains, “They’re always tough to play at their own gym; they have great student and community support which makes for a loud and fun environment.” Coming out with a gritty 58-51 win meant the Red Team did indeed repeat as tournament champs. Major objective met.
“Our team won this tournament on defense–when it was necessary, our guys stepped up and got a stop. Our defense fuels our offense,” Coach Burns observed. At this time of the year, a defensive identity is crucial to success down the stretch. The team points to some challenging upcoming match-ups with Wesley Christian (KY), Bull City Prep (NC) and New Friends School (NC) as important momentum builders for the end of the year tournament hosted by the National Association of Christian Academies (NACA) in Dayton, TN. With the pair of victories at Grundy, the Red Team record currently stands at 15-1.
Game 1 – Oak Hill Academy vs. Moravian Prep (82-72) W
Oliver Lynch-Daniels, 24 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast; Bushe Ramabu, 22 Pts, 8 Reb; Noah Thomas, 9 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast; Aidan Stenner, 9 Pts, 3 Reb; Alex Stenner, 8 Pts, 6 Ast.
Game 2 – Oak Hill Academy vs. Mountain Mission School (58-51) W
Oliver Lynch-Daniels, 13 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast ; Graeme Majors, 15 Pts; Kane Schrader, 10 Pts, 2 Ast, 2 Blk; Bushe Ramabu, 6 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk.