Lindell Wigginton of Dartmouth, N.S., is the first Canadian basketball player to attend the fabled Oak Hill Academy in the tiny town of Mouth of Wilson, Va. The private prep school has produced a who’s who of NBA talent. Here is a look at five alumni:
The New York Knicks guard transferred to Oak Hill for his senior year and helped the school win several major tournaments, including the Nike Academy National Invitational.
He was named a USA Today all-USA first team all-American and played in both the Jordan Brand Classic and 2002 McDonald’s All-American games. He won the Sprite Slam Jam dunk contest at the McDonald’s event.
Anthony played one season at Syracuse, leading the Orangemen to their first NCAA title in 2003. He was drafted third overall in 2003 by the Denver Nuggets.
The Chicago Bulls point guard transferred to Oak Hill in Grade 12 and averaged 21 points and 12 assists a game, leading Oak Hill to a 34-0 record in 2003-04.
Rondo had two games with 27 assists, and single-game school record of 31 â€” just four away from the all-time U.S. high school record. He also had a 55-point game, the second-highest all-time at Oak Hill. Rondo broke Jeff McInnis’s season record of assists (303) at Oak Hill, finishing with 494.
Rondo went on to play two college seasons for Kentucky. He was taken 21st overall by Phoenix in the 2006 draft, then traded to Boston.
The former Atlanta Hawks forward played alongside Rondo on Oak Hill’s undefeated 2003 squad, averaging 22 points, eight rebounds, six blocks and three steals a game.
Smith was rated the third-best high-schooler in the U.S. by Rivals.com, and the No. 1 small forward. He committed to Indiana University, but opted to forgo college and enter the draft.
Smith was selected 17th overall by Atlanta in the 2004 draft. He went on to help Atlanta to six playoff appearances in his nine seasons with the Hawks. He also played for Detroit, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers before signing with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association last November.
The New York Knicks guard played his junior and senior seasons at Oak Hill, averaging 35.5 points a game in his Grade 12 year.
Jennings set the school record for points scored in a season with 1,312, which earned him the 2008 Naismith Prep player of the year award, among other honours. He was rated as the No. 1 high school basketball prospect in the class of 2008 by Scout.com.
Jennings opted to play a year professionally in Italy rather than the NCAA. He was selected 10th overall in the 2009 draft by Milwaukee, where he played four seasons. He became the youngest player in NBA history (20 years, 52 days) to score 50-plus points in a game, when he scored 55 versus Golden State in 2009.
The Golden State Warriors small forward transferred to Oak Hill for his junior year after two years at National Christian Academy.
He left Oak Hill for Montrose Christian School for his senior year, but told Bleacher Report that Oak Hill was a key step in his “basketball journey. It was my first time out there on the national stage, being exposed to the highest level of talent. That experience catapulted me.”
Durant was drafted second overall in 2007 by the Seattle SuperSonics and went on to win NBA rookie of the year in 2008. One of the league’s biggest stars, he earned NBA MVP honours in 2014. He’s a seven-time NBA all-star â€” soon to be eight.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press