Class of 2024 SF AJ Swinton is coming off a huge summer, where he won the 16U Nike EYBL championship with Team Takeover and picked up high-major offers and interests along the way from Texas, Miami, Villanova, Maryland, UConn, Louisville, and many others.
“Winning EYBL was always the goal going into the season. My 16U Takeover squad was loaded at every position and I knew we were capable of winning. I really wanted to showcase my versatility this summer I was able to create opportunities for myself off the dribble , get to my spot, rebound and push the ball up the floor while also being a facilitator for my teammates. I was able to display different parts of my game while also doing what was needed for my team to win.”
The 6-foot-6, 180-pound SF is one of the best defenders in his class and decided to take his talents to the historic program Oak Hill Academy where NBA stars such as Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony have played.
“When the opportunity presented itself to go to Oak Hill my family and I sat down with Coach Yerrick Stoneman, and I knew almost immediately that I could trust him with my development. I’ve always known that I wanted to play a national schedule not just for the level of exposure but because of the challenge. I want to compete against the best players and the NIBC offers me that.”
This Oak Hill team is young and unheralded but that could play into their favor for the short and long-term future. After legendary coach, Steve Smith retired many fans of the program didn’t know where they were headed but there is hope. New HC Yerrick Stoneman added several of the top prospects in the 2024 class including Zion Pipkin, Micah Robinson, and Swinton making them not only a competitive team for this year but a team for the future.
Swinton breaks down four schools for The Athletic.
Virginia Tech: “I’ve been in contact with VTech for over a year now. I’m really close with all the coaches on staff and I know Head Associate coach Mike Jones personally, he was my high school coach at DeMatha so we have a strong relationship . I know I’m a huge priority for them, they made it known to my family. They were at every single live period game in the summer. The coaches have come to Oak Hill several times to talk to me. Coach Mike Young sees me as a two guard in their system and that’s ultimately what I know I’ll be in college. Coach Jones develops pros and I know he will give me all the tools I need to get to that next level. There’s familiarity when I step on campus since I know several of the players. I’m really excited to take my official visit in December.”
Ohio State: “I was able to get on campus for the second time last week. It was such an awesome experience being there for the football team’s first Big Ten game. While there I sat down with Coach Chris Holtmann and Jake Diebler, and they really broke down how my versatility would translate into their program. I was officially offered on that visit. Coach Diebler was one of the first coaches to contact me at the start of the Live period. I can envision myself playing a similar role as Malaki Branham, someone who rebounds, pushes the ball, catch and shoot ability, attack the rim, and really being a leader in their system. I know I will be able to impact the team immediately because of my athleticism and IQ. Coach Holtmann gives his players freedom as long as he can trust that they’ll play the right way and that’s what I do.”
Penn State: “Coach Mike Farrelly has been in contact with my family and I regularly. Even being at Oak Hill, he’ll call me and also call my mom separately, so I know he’s really trying to stay connected. I really like his energy and excitement when talking about me fitting into their program. He wants me on campus, hopefully in March.”
Boston College: “Recently I’ve been hearing a lot from Coach Corey McCrae. I’ve actually known him for a while he’s a DeMatha guy. He’s been very upfront about their recruitment process and how I would be a great asset to their team coming in as a wing. I have family in Massachusetts and would probably take a visit in the Spring.”
As a sophomore at DeMatha Catholic, Swinton averaged 7.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals per game and is ready to take the next step at Oak Hill in the NIBC.
“I see myself as a leader at Oak Hill. Coming from one of the best conferences, the WCAC and winning EYBL I know what it takes to play at a high level and I hope to bring that experience to help my squad in NIBC. I also hope to expand my game by being a major facilitator for my team,” Swinton said. “As an underclassman, I really excelled at being more of a 3 and D player. I pride myself on my defense and being able to defend every position so I can’t wait for people to see that in the NIBC. I really want to continue showcasing my ball handling and proving that I have the tools to be a big guard.”