Oak Hill Academy finally breaks through in NYC for first @DICKSNationals crown.
— Jason Hickman (@Jason_Hickman) April 2, 2016
Virginia Tech recruit Khadim Sy scored Oak Hill Academy’s (Mouth of Wilson, VA) first and last points of its 3-game run to the 2016 Dick’s High School Nationals championship. Those last points were the most meaningful, coming on a tip-in at the buzzer in the Warriors’ 62-60 overtime win over La Lumiere (Indianapolis, IN) in the title game this past Saturday.
After watching all three of Oak Hill’s tournament games, here are my observations on Sy (pronounced SEE), who will be a true freshman center for the Hokies in the 2016/2017 season.
GAME 1 (Quarterfinals): Oak Hill defeated Wasatch Academy (UT), 81-64
Sy, who is listed as being 6’9″, 225 pounds, may actually be about 6’10”. Watching him stand beside 6’11” Miami-bound center Rodney Miller, the two looked very close in height. The future Hokie has legit size and is a solid athlete. Not a dynamic athlete, but a solid one.
After surrending 10 straight points to start the game, Sy came through with Oak Hill’s first points when he secured an offensive rebound, made the put-back and drew a foul. He sank the free throw. Following the initial “And-1,” Sy fought through some contact for a low post score, scored on another offensive rebound and put-back, and had dunks on back-to-back possessions. He finished with 11 points at the half and Oak Hill had a 38-27 lead. By game’s end, Sy had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Throughout the contest, ESPN’s National Basketball Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi, who was doing the color work throughout the Dick’s High School Nationals, praised Sy’s work ethic and improvement in a year’s time. Don’t be surprised if ESPN bumps Sy from a 3-star to a 4-star in its updated rankings (Biancardi said as much, either in Game 1 or Game 2).
From an offensive standpoint, aside from the free throws all of Sy’s points came from around the basket. He had at least two put-backs off of offensive boards. (As evidenced by his double-double, Sy was a force on the glass.) He showed a few nice moves in the game as well. On one play, Sy caught the ball down low, quickly spun to his left and created a nice look for himself. He didn’t finish the short jumper, but the spin move was nice. In the second half he displayed a jump-hook. In these and other instances he looked comfortable with the ball down low and making those moves. When players are raw offensively, sometimes they look awkward and unsure when they get the ball. I didn’t get that feeling from Sy in any of those instances. I think that’s a good sign as far as being able to develop into a solid offensive player on the major college level.
GAME 2 (Semifinals): Oak Hill defeated Miller Grove (GA), 47-46
Although a smaller, quicker Miller Grove team made it difficult for Sy on occasion, he finished with 10 points in this contest. He opened his scoring following an offensive board and made 1-2 foul shots. He again displayed the same spin move I mentioned above, only this time he scored with his right hand. An in-bounds play dunk gave Sy five points, which is what he had in the first half.
Following another nice effort on the offensive glass, Sy again went 1-2 from the line for his sixth point of the game, which cut Oak Hill’s deficit to a streaking Miller Grove squad to 26-22. Moments later, a Sy basket cut Miller Grove’s lead to 30-26. Another offensive rebound put-back would give him 10 for the game, in which the Warriors had to stage a 4th quarter rally to win.
A couple of things I liked from this game that don’t show up in the stat sheet. In the first half, Sy was fed the ball down low, but instead of forcing a shot he dished to TyShon Alexander for an open 3-pointer in the corner. The shot didn’t fall, but Sy made the right play in that instance without forcing. He had several nice kick-outs in the tournament, rarely forcing anything down low.
Sy also showed poise. One example in this game was when a teammate passed him the ball in a bad spot, too far under the basket. Avoiding a turnover or forced shot, he calmly kicked the ball back out and Oak Hill ended up scoring on the possession. In Game 3, Sy hit the offensive glass, tipping the ball several times. He finally got possession on the play but was falling out-of-bounds. He calmly threw the ball off an opposing player, giving Oak Hill another possession.
I liked the poise Khadim showed on those plays. The majority of the time, at least in this tournament, he played under control.
GAME 3 (Championship): Oak Hill defeats La Lumiere in overtime, 62-60
Sy’s game-winning tip-in was fitting. For starters, he was so active on the offensive boards throughout the tournament. He really went after the offensive boards, showing why he led the Warriors in that category heading into the event. Also, Sy, who drew praise for his work ethic and effort, hustled down the court on that last play to be in position for the tip in. Alabama-bound Braxton Key, the tournament MVP, got the first tip to keep the ball alive, but Sy was right there and overmatched La Lumiere’s smaller freshman point guard for that second tip, which went through the basket as time expired.
The soon-to-be Virginia Tech freshman ended up with 9 points and 8 rebounds, at least three of which were offensive rebounds, helping the Warriors cap off a terrific season with a 45-1 overall record and its first Dick’s High School Nationals title.
SUMMIMG UP SY
Sizable playing time opened up when 5-star low post prospect Harry Giles went down with a knee injury last November. Sy took advantage and, if last week was any indication, became an important piece of Oak Hill’s championship squad.
Offensively, like most big men on the high school level, he’ll need development. I think, though, that he showed some nice moves and pretty solid touch, so the potential is there. In the championship game, he took a pass from top junior point guard Matt Coleman, turned and drained a nice little touch shot from just inside the free throw line. Much of his other offense came right around the goal, either from being set up by his teammates or on offensive rebounds, but he showed he can make those shots around the basket. Showing he can make shots down low and also showing a few nice offensive moves down low gives some promise for the future. I don’t foresee a 15-point per game scorer, but I think he can develop into a nice contributor down low. He didn’t venture to the midrange or perimeter other than to screen, so unless he just didn’t show those abilities this past week Sy appears to primarily be a low post scorer.
From the foul line, Sy shot around 58-percent (according to the Oak Hill website) heading into this game. He went 1-4 down the stretch and in overtime of the title game, but he shows a solid stroke and could shoot in the 60-65-percent range in college.
Rebounding and size are Sy’s strongest attributes and areas where he should be able to help Tech next season, at the very least from a depth perspective. On the defensive boards the Senegal native did a good job of boxing out consistently and securing the rebound when it came his way. On the offensive glass, he was aggressive and create problems for the opponent.
Defensively, I wouldn’t call Sy a dynamic athlete. He made a few nice defensive plays but didn’t block a ton of shots. He did, however, keep solid position without fouling in most cases. Maybe he won’t be a big-time rim protector at Tech, but he could still be a solid defender.
(Note: TSL’s Will Stewart offered his thoughts on Sy following last week’s performance. Click here to read those and respond on the men’s basketball board.)