The Virginia Cavaliers have settled their class of 2002. And taking full advantage of this successful work, Pete Gillen and his staff are now concentrating on the top juniors, the class of 2003.
One of the top players in the class of 2003 is Omari Israel, a 6-8, 205-pound forward from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. "He is doing well in school and he looks very good on the court," Warriors coach Steve Smith told us today. "He is going to be an important player for us this season."
Oak Hill, which plays one of the toughest schedules in the country, also has several other top players on their roster this season such as Carmelo Anthony, Justin Gray, and Sani Ibrahim. "So far so good with this group of players," Smith said. "Omari is happy as a lark. He seems to be enjoying himself so far."
Omari played last season as Good Counsol High School in Wheaton, Maryland. He averaged 15 points and eight rebounds as a sophomore. Virginia is preparing itself for a big battle with Syracuse and Maryland for the rights to Israel, who has the ability to bang inside with big bodies.
"Virginia is coming in today," Smith told us. "They want to watch him work out. They like him alot. I don't blame them. Omari is going to be a very good player by the time he gets to the college level."
Syracuse and Maryland are also expected to make a trip to Mouth of Wilson, Virginia to show their love for Omari.