Recruiting Road

Ever since he was a middle school standout, Nash Oh dreamed of playing college basketball. Now, as his high school career comes to a close, a three year recruiting process will soon conclude with Oh making that dream into a reality.

Within the next two months, senior Nash Oh will sign a letter of intent to play basketball at either Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, University of Rochester, Carnegie Mellon University or Tufts University. Once he signs with a school, Oh will be surrounded by fanfare and media attention. What will not be in the spotlight, however, is the road that led Oh to this point.

The Maryland/D.C. area is one of the most talent-laden recruiting pipelines in the country when it comes to basketball. A 10 minute drive away from WJ is the campus of the Montrose Christian School, one of the top high school basketball programs in the country. 2007-2008 NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant, as well as both members of the University of Maryland’s starting backcourt are Montrose graduates. There is no one-way ticket to basketball supremacy, but Montrose is as close as it gets.

Oh had the opportunity to go to Montrose. He attended camps hosted by Montrose head coach Stu Vetter, who made several scholarship offers to Oh. When it was all said and done, however, Oh decided to take advantage of the public school system available to him.

“I sat down with [Vetter] and talked about the team,” said Oh. “I think it just wasn’t there academically. My parents really wanted to take advantage of the public school system in this area.”

After spending his freshman season on the junior varsity squad, Oh was promoted to varsity as a sophomore. Following a successful season where he started the majority of the games, Oh began hitting the recruiting trail during the off- season. In his sophomore year, the University of Vermont was his first contact when they heard of his performance at a clinic. Now a legitimate prospect to play college basketball, Oh sought proper guidance to ensure that he would give himself the best opportunity to play at the next level.

Oh started working with Rob Kurtz, a counselor at Wootton who also coaches varsity girls soccer and basketball at B-CC. Kurtz is also the founder of the Scholar Athlete Academy of Bethesda. Kurtz was always interested in the recruitment process.

“I went to high school in New Jersey and played baseball at Rutgers,” said Kurtz. “I didn’t realize that someone in New Jersey could go to college in Texas or Virginia or somewhere else, so it really interested me.”

Kurtz helped Oh put himself on the map by contacting schools he was interested in rather than waiting for them to contact him.

“[Kurtz] helped me draft a basic letter that I could send to schools that I was interested in,” said Oh. “I would say why I was interested in the school, my stats, awards I had won at camps and a link to a highlight reel so they could see a little bit of how I play.”

Oh also caught the eyes of scouts by going to college showcase camps during the

summer and playing for several teams in the Amateur Athletic Union, the highest level of amateur sports.

Once Oh was in contact with more schools, he was able to expand his options. Not only was Oh looking for a school where he could play, but he wanted a school where he could achieve academic excellence.

“It’s really tough to find a Division I program that had the academics I wanted but were also at a level that I could play at,” he said.

Oh found the balance he was looking for in the Ivy League, the most prestigious conference academically. Oh was in contact with Princeton, Yale and Cornell. However, Oh realized that playing Division I would most likely mean sacrificing playing time. So, he decided to shift his focus to Division III schools.

“I look at it as a blessing in disguise,” said Oh. “I’m looking at some of the best schools in the country, and honestly if I were playing in Division I the best thing that could happen would be to make the tournament as a low seed. The schools I’m looking at now are consistently up for the Division III championship.”

Kurtz is sure that Oh will find success at whichever school he chooses.

“I think he’s going to be a star at the Division III level,” he said. “He’s definitely a Division I player.”