Point guard Kithcart changes tack, transfers to Virginia Episcopal

Aug. 06, 2014 @ 06:30 PM

Make that Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia, as the landing spot for Durham’s Justice Kithcart.

VES coach Curtis Staples confirmed the move Wednesday, roughly a week after Kithcart said he was transferring from Hillside High School so he could learn the game from Coach Issac Pitts Jr. at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem.

Kithcart (6-2, 170) instead is expected to study hoops under Staples, who was a high-scoring guard at the University of Virginia from 1994-98, when he established an NCAA Division I record with 413 career 3-pointers.

By the way, Travis Bader is the D-I leader for career 3s with 461, which surpassed the 457 sank by J.J. Redick when he was at Duke.

Staples was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1998 but played most of his pro ball in Europe. He led VES to its first state championship in 2011.

But what’s probably more impressive to Kithcart’s mom, Nan, is that former VES point guard Aaron Young is a freshman at Princeton University.

“Our school is a big-time academic school,” Staples said.

Kithcart’s dad, James, said Nan Kithcart felt more comfortable about the overall situation at VES. Staples said he sensed that.

“She didn’t have any concerns once she got to our school,” Staples said.

VES will be Kithcart’s third high school stop after playing his freshman season in the Bull City at Riverside.

All of that bouncing around doesn’t phase Staples.

“They found what they wanted,” Staples said about Kithcart and his parents. “This is what they’ve wanted the whole time.”

Kithcart, a rising junior, probably will have the ball in his hands right away as the starting point guard for VES, Staples said.

“I’ve been watching him for a couple of years,” Staples said. “He plays the way we like to play — up and down.”

Kithcart was getting Virginia-based Team Loaded’s 16-and-under team in transition during the adidas Super 64 showcase tournament in Las Vegas in July. A piece of hardware reserved for the tournament’s most valuable players went home with him.

All of this news comes almost two weeks after Hillside athletics director Bob Hill announced that he’d hired Coach Thurman Jordan from Holly Springs High School to take the place of former Hillside basketball coach Crasten Davis, whose coaching contract was not renewed on account of what Durham Public Schools athletics director Larry McDonald described as “internal issues.” It means Hillside this season will have at least two new point men — Jordan as the new coach and whoever takes over the primary ball-handling duties for the Hornets.

Jordan, obviously, didn’t get to coach Kithcart and, apparently, isn’t slighted by his move.

“I wish him the best as he moves forward,” Jordan said. “Of course, I would have liked the opportunity to work with him, but I’m sure he and his family made the best decision that is best for him.”

During the three seasons Davis coached at Hillside, the Hornets were 55-27.

Holly Springs was 35-42 during the last three seasons under Jordan.

Davis did not lose his job because of wins and losses, McDonald said.

Kithcart has scholarship offers from Old Dominion, James Madison, UNC Wilmington and Northern Arizona, and the chatter is that he’s drawn a good bit of interest from Notre Dame, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia, where his new coach’s jersey is retired.


Northern’s Barkley carving a niche and a name

Rising Northern High School senior Kentrell Barkley had a double-double for Virginia-based Team Loaded’s 17-and-under squad during the final game he played in the Super 64.

That game was nationally televised on ESPNU. Team Loaded lost to Georgia-based Game Elite, but Barkley said he scored 15 points without having any plays run for him, and his 22 rebounds were twice as many as teammate Thon Maker grabbed — and Maker’s 7 feet 1!

Maker, from Carlisle School in Martinsville, Virginia, is regarded by some recruiting experts as the best high school player in the country.

Being a beast on the boards is about “getting in that position to rebound the ball,” Barkley said.

Folks in and around Durham have just one year left to get good looks at Barkley before he takes his game to college.

A coach from Providence College saw enough out of Barkley (6-5, 190) in Vegas to offer him a scholarship, and ECU has been hard after him for quite some time, said Rick Phillips, Barkley’s guardian and former Amateur Athletic Union coach.

Barkley can be a real garbage man out there on the floor. That’s how he was able to get buckets for Team Loaded without any offensive sets designed for him.

“You have roles on your team on that level, so I had to do what I had to do to make myself look good,” Barkley said.

One would have to figure that Northern coach Ronnie Russell is drawing up one or two — or 30 — plays to get Barkley open during his last run around the 4-A PAC-6.