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October 12, 2004It will be quite difficult for this year's Oak Hill squad to match the achievements of last years undefeated squad. Depth and a strong backcourt are the strengths of this year's team even with the loss of Clemson commitment KC Rivers for most of the season with a serious ankle injury.
"We are deeper than last year's team, but we don't have the line up like we had last year," said Coach Steve Smith. "We should still be good, even with the loss of KC. We still have three good guards, and in a way, KC's injury sort of solves a problem for me. But he is the best shooter of the bunch and probably would have led us in scoring. He was good for at least 4 or 5 threes every game.
"He can start working out in January, so we might get him back by the end of the year. He dislocated his ankle and broke his fibula, though, so I don't know."
Coach Smith indicated that four of the starting positions have been secured. Junior Tywon Lawson will start at point guard. Seniors Jamont Gordon, a heavy Tennessee lean, and Eric Devendorf, a Syracuse commitment, will start on the wing. Junior Kevin Durant will start at power forward. And the center position is there for senior David Palmer, an Illinois commitment, if he earns it. Seniors Bamba Fall, a SMU commitment, and Alex Smith, who is down to William & Mary and James Madison, will challenge Palmer for the last starting spot.
These seven players along with junior Anthony Wright will see the bulk of the playing time with the two juniors in the starting lineup leading the way. Coach Smith noted that so far Tywon Lawson and Kevin Durrant have been the top performers on the court.
"I'm not going to say that Ty is going to be a Rajon Rondo, but I would be surprised if there is a better junior point guard than him. He doesn't make mistakes, can absorb heavy contact and finish, and makes free throws and open threes.
"Kevin has been the best player in the pickup games. He is our most skilled player and he is 6'9.
Oak Hill will tip off the season with a home game against Berean Institute on November 5. On the first weekend in December, Oak Hill will hit the road for their first appearance in many top events when they travel to Benton,
Recruiting updates on several of Oak Hill's players will appear shortly on Rivals.com.