Taron Oliver Jr., a 6-foot-9 rising sophomore center, decided last week to transfer to Montrose Christian, his father said Friday. Oliver, who played his freshman season at Bell, becomes the latest example of a talented player who moved out of the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association to an area private school.
Oliver Sr. said Montrose has pledged to members of the school’s honors society to tutor his son this summer, as well as every day after school for an hour and a half once classes begin in the fall.
Additionally, Montrose plans to have its basketball team’s strength coach, Matt Johnson, work with Oliver Jr. in the morning and again after study hall during the school year, according to the player’s father. Oliver Jr. had trained with Johnson last year, but stopped once the basketball season began.
Oliver Jr. averaged 13.4 points per game playing for Bell last season, and the Griffins went 18-9 and lost in the first round of the DCIAA tournament to Spingarn. The player’s father said that in order for Oliver Jr. to continue to progress on the court, he had to enter into a different environment. Montrose Christian finished 21-3 last season under nationally renowned coach Stu Vetter.
D.C. public schools “don’t really have the resources to have their own athletic trainer,” Oliver Sr. said. “You really can’t take a kid to another level, to compete on a national level, if you don’t get in the weight room. They’ve got a guy [Johnson] there who’s one of the best in the country, and he’s going to dedicate to [Oliver Jr.] twice a day.”
Oliver Jr. has secured a scholarship offer from South Florida and hopes to earn at least four more after competing in tournaments this summer with his AAU squad, Team Takeover. The player’s father said Virginia and Indiana have attended many of Oliver Jr.’s games and have shown interest in recruiting him.
At Montrose, Oliver Sr. said he expects the interest in his son from college coaches to widen.
“We were torn between, you know, he has friends, established relationships” at Bell, Oliver Sr. said. “But when [Montrose] started saying all the stuff they could really offer, as far as academically and as far as athletically, getting ready for college, we had to take the opportunity.”
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