Apex Friendship is coming off their best season in school history. Last year they went 16-1. Their only loss was an overtime heartbreaker in the NCHSAA 4A State Quarterfinals to the eventual state champions, Millbrook. Although they lose four starters from last year’s team, some things remain the same. This team shares the ball and executes at a high level, and although they may not be the tallest or most athletic team, they play together with a ton of energy.

Let’s take a look at some of their key players on this year’s team.

6’2 2022 Gabe Proctor is their only returning starter. In his first year on varsity last year as a junior, Proctor wasted no time making his presence known, averaged 17 points per game, and shooting lights out going 93.5% from the foul line, 52% from two and 49% behind the arc. Proctor has established himself as one of the premier shooters in the state. He can really get hot, has excellent range, and doesn’t need much time or space to get the shot off. This year, he will be expected to have the ball in his hands more, and he is looking forward to showing this added dimension to his game. His outside shot spaces the court and forces defenders to really close out hard to him. As a result, Proctor is able to attack closeouts, and he has improved his finishing at the end of drives. More importantly, Proctor plays with incredible energy. He is always the loudest player in the gym. This energy is contagious. Expect Proctor to have a big senior year for the Patriots.

6’5 2023 Isaac Holmes is going into his second season at Apex Friendship. Holmes is a high IQ player who is extremely unselfish. He is a gifted passer who is constantly looking up the floor in transition, hitting teammates on backdoor cuts, kicking out to shooters on drives, and finding someone for the drop-off finish at the end of his drives. In addition, his shot looked to have really improved. He knocked down several perimeter shots, both off the catch and the bounce. What impressed me the most in yesterday’s viewing was Holmes’ aggressiveness. He was playing with an edge and confidence. The ball will be in Holmes’ hands a lot this season. He looks ready to make the most of this expanded role.

6’4 2022 Patrick Sams is someone who thrives at doing all of the little things that are important to winning. He competes on both ends of the floor. He will do whatever it takes to win a game, whether it is coming up with a loose ball, hustling after a rebound, taking a charge, making the extra pass to the open teammate, or knocking down the jumper. Sams played valuable minutes last year for Apex Friendship, and this experience will go a long way this season. Sams will help the Patriots win a lot of games this season with his play and team-first approach.

Other players such as 6’2 2022 Colin Cleary and 6’0 2022 Sam Gregg will also be key in Apex Friendship’s success this season. Cleary also played meaningful minutes last season. He is a versatile multi-sport athlete who will contribute in a variety of ways this season. Gregg is a solid, tough guard who will be able to pressure the ball defensively and knock down shots from the perimeter.