Gustys gaining steam

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Oak Hill Academy never lacks for talent and this season is no exception, but currently it's a three star senior who is drawing intensive college interest.

Most of the top players at Oak Hill already have decided, and unlike previous years there's no clearly elite underclassman on the squad. And of course most top seniors throughout the country have signed, which is why Rokas Gustys looms as a high-major possibility for the spring.

The burly center hails from Lithuania and certainly bears the hallmarks of a rugged, blue collar Eastern European athlete. He uses his 245 pounds wisely and at times dangerously, shoving opponents out of the way and throwing elbows after grabbing rebounds.

He also loves setting hard screens — legal and illegal — and using his hips to generally inflict damage on opponents.

There's nothing particularly exciting about his offense, and athletically he's lacking for the high-major level. Still, he's crafty around the basket and utilizes reverses and fakes well to evade shotblockers. His ultimate role in college likely will be as a tough guy, grunt interior anchor, and that's all many programs require in a center.

Not surprisingly, then, Gustys is acquiring increasing attention.

"Georgia has a high interest in me, Wake Forest, Wichita State, Iowa, Charlotte, Old Dominion and more," Gustys said. "Rhode Island has offered and UAB has offered."

No decision appears to be imminent, as Gustys missed summer basketball while playing with his native national team.

"Coach (Steve) Smith just says it's good for me to wait until later," he said. "I think we are playing a lot better as a team this year and the whole situation is good."

When asked whether he'd be more interest in possibly playing a larger role for a smaller program or a smaller role for a larger program, Gustys seemed unconcerned.

"It really depends on the school and the situation," he said. "I just want to play for a winning team. That's why I came to Oak Hill. I want to win."

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