Oak Hill Academy has become known in basketball circles for churning out high-level talent year after year. Current NBA franchise cornerstones such as Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, and Ty Lawson are among the Mouth of Wilson, Va. high school's recent graduates.
While those three stars chose to attend Syracuse, Kentucky, and North Carolina, respectively, when they moved to the college level, one future graduate is choosing a different path.
“The campus, the facilities, the coaching staff—they’re second to none,” Josh Reaves said of Penn State’s program in a phone interview. “Everything about the school, I love. I just really wanted to go to Penn State.”
Reaves, an athletic, 6-foot-4 guard, officially committed to Penn State on Wednesday, signing his Letter of Intent to come play his home games at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Reaves’ commitment could be considered symbol of a new era for head coach Patrick Chambers’ Nittany Lions.
Ranked 81st of ESPN’s top 100 recruits for the 2015 class, he's the most heralded player in the Lions’ 29th ranked group nationally — perhaps the program's best recruiting class ever.
The guard was also offered scholarships from Georgetown, Maryland, Villanova, VCU, and Temple, but in his eyes none of those schools offered what Penn State did: strong connections.
Reaves said that he has a really close relationship with assistant coach Dwayne Anderson, a fellow native of “the D.M.V.,” the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area.
“We connected,” Reaves said.
Anderson, of Silver Spring, Maryland, and Reaves, of Fairfax, Virginia crossed paths many times before meeting back up at Penn State. They both played for the same coach, Keith Stevens, at different points in their lives. Stevens is a major figure in D.C. area basketball, as the head coach of AAU “Team Takeover.”
Anderson saw Reaves play when he was a younger player as well, before he was working as an assistant in Happy Valley.
More importantly, Anderson is already close with Reaves’ family.
The guard said that his mom, brother and grandmother all are big fans of the former Villanova leader-turned-Lions assistant coach.
“He’s just been really natural to connect with my family,” Reaves said.
Anderson isn’t the only coach that has won Reaves over.
Reaves talks to Chambers, “at least once or twice per week,” as well.
The head coach has also welcomed his top recruit to be an observer of some of his practices during his official visits to town.
“It’s great to see how much he involves himself and the coaching staff with the team, and how willing and how giving he is with the players,” Reaves said.
Coming from Oak Hill, the exciting guard seems to be a perfect fit for Chambers’ fast-paced style. Reaves said he doesn’t think he’ll have to modify his playing style much.
“I bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the game. I just hope that rubs off on the rest of my teammates when I play,” he said, admiring his new team’s system.
Reaves also mentioned that he was a fan of the way Chambers preaches a high-tempo game on both sides of the court, but still manages to maintain true fundamental ideologies on the defensive end.
Chambers sees the benefit of a two-way player fitting that mold.
“His athleticism and speed make him an excellent defender, which allows him to get out in transition and attack the rim — where he is at his best,” the fourth-year head coach said in a press release.
It doesn’t end with just Reaves coming to State College from Oak Hill, either — Joe Hampton, a four-star forward in the 2016 recruiting class, is already verbally committed to join the Nittany Lions as well.
The biggest goal isn’t just to keep building these teams on paper.
The objective, in Reaves’ mind, is to win games.
“The future is bright for Penn State. I wanted to be a part of a team that could beat all of those top teams: the Ohio States, the Michigans, the Kansas’, the Kentucky’s,” Reaves said. “I can’t wait to be there. I can’t wait to get the team rolling. I can’t wait for my future to start.”