6'9 '17 Deshawn Thomas (AC Flora)

Every team needs at least one rim protector down low, and since controlling the paint is such a necessity, it should come as no surprise why we are fans of Deshawn Thomas. He is an elite-level shot blocker with great size and timing; his ability to cover ground in a hurry is essential, especially at the next level. Thomas is a solid rebounder but possesses the potential to be the best in the gym, as very few players have the combination of size and athleticism that he does. Offensively, he is constantly improving, but right now his most reliable source of points comes through a variety of dunks. Whether off the catch, a dropstep, alley-oop, or putback, Thomas will look to put his arms in the rim. The senior currently holds offers from Florida Gulf Coast, UNC-Wilmington, James Madison and South Carolina State. Expect that list to grow as the season carries on and Thomas continues to hone his skillset.

 

6'9 '18 Robert Braswell (Blythewood)

The Blythewood team surprised plenty of people here with a big win over Porter Gaud on Tuesday and though they lost to Wheeler, it was more interesting than many expected. Robert Braswell stands out as a productive player that still has untapped potential. At times, he looks like the most dangerous player on the floor; he possesses great length and athletic ability, allowing him to punish defenders in a multitude of ways. Braswell plays mostly at the power forward position, but has enough perimeter skills to play either forward spot based on matchup. He has shown touch on all three levels; his midrange shot is definitely the strongest, followed by his slithery movement around the paint. His defensive ability is underrated, as he is able to get blocks and steals with ease; opponents don't realize how long he is until after he's swatted their shot. Few defenders will be able to hold him once Braswell polishes his three-point shot. He currently holds offers from Fayetteville State and South Carolina State, but he should see an uptick in his recruiting as the season carries on.

 

5'3 '17 Percy Johnson (Cannon)

When evaluating basketball players there is one specific intangible that stands out more than the rest: heart. Percy Johnson has heart in abundance and more than any other player on display at the Chick-Fil-A Classic. Johnson's size is what spectators immediately notice when observing him, but it certainly does not define him. Despite being the smallest guy on the floor, Johnson easily has the highest motor–especially on defense–in the entire gym, regardless of opponent. He's a pesky defender that showed his ability to get steals on and off-ball. If every prospect played with the same heart and intensity as Johnson, they would see a major uptick in their recruiting. D2 and D3 programs should give a hard look his way, as there aren't many guys that can bring what Johnson does to the table.

6'1 '19 JC Tharrington (Charlotte Christian)

Poise is essential and floor general JC Tharrington is among the most poised players in North Carolina. The guy plays like a seasoned veteran despite only being a sophomore and, in many ways, the teams' success hinges on his play. Tharrington doesn't have many holes in his game; he scores very efficiently from all three levels and has decision-making abilities that every college program needs out of their point guard. He has all the makings of a next-level floor general, as he handles the ball frequently yet rarely turns the ball over while creating ample opportunities for teammates. Though Tharrington isn't the flashiest player, he has an extremely high IQ and seems to always make the right play. Currently he holds an Appalachian State offer, but more are going to pile in, as he is already a leader on a talented Charlotte Christian team.

 

6'6 '17 Solomon Smith (Greensboro Day School)

The grunt workers never seem to get enough credit for all they do on the floor but Solomon Smith is just too productive to ignore. Smith is already on a team with numerous 'glue-guys' but he fits that bill quite well. He has a very high motor and works incredibly hard on the glass, on both ends of the floor. Though he isn't the tallest or bulkiest, Smith gets it done time after time, flirting with double-doubles regularly while remaining a key cog on defense for Greensboro Day School. He takes charges, guards multiple positions (and bigger players) and has simply earned his role within the team. There isn't one specific player that can be credited for Greensboro Day's success this season, but make no mistake, Solomon Smith has been a huge part of their culture and brings it every possession. D2 and D3 programs should look into him, as they would be netting a steal in Smith.