A phone call from his favorite player helped convince Memphis Central High School standout Jarnell Stokes that his basketball future lies elsewhere.
Stokes, the top prospect in the Shelby-Metro area in the class of the 2012, said Monday he is leaving Central and will attend Oak Hill Academy this year.
The prep school, located in the small town of Mouth of Wilson, Va., has a legendary basketball program that has produced NBA stars ranging from Rod Strickland and Jerry Stackhouse to Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
And it was a call from Anthony, the New York Knicks All-Star, that helped make Stokes' decision easier.
"I guess (Oak Hill coach) Steve Smith told him to call me," Stokes said. "He knew he was my favorite player and he told me it was a great move for me, but that it would be a commitment. It was basically what I had already heard, except I was amazed to just hear it from him."
The power forward is ranked first in the state in the class of 2012 and is 10th nationally according to Rivals.com.
"Of course, I'll be focused on basketball," he said. "There's nothing else to focus on (at Oak Hill). They play a national schedule and they've got great tradition there. Every day will be competition, even in practice. You've got to bring your A-game everyday.
"They say when you go to a school like Oak Hill and you go to college, you're a sophomore already. So this is a big step this summer - something I've looked forward to for months."
One of Stokes' new teammates is 6-5 senior wing Damien Wilson, who has committed to Memphis. The 6-8, 250-pound Stokes lists Memphis, Tennessee, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Arkansas as his top six schools but says he is wide-open.