Folks in the Charlotte area should be well-informed about Phenom’s Carmel Christian MLK Showcase, especially after releasing the schedule and revealing that two of the local powerhouses will be going head-to-head. We are referring to the matchup between Carmel Christian and Independence, which is certain to be full of excitement from start to finish. Both programs are headlined by high-level coaching and a plethora of Division I players, but there’s no clear indicator that either team has an edge in this contest.
Independence has played an absolutely brutal schedule to begin their season, but have fared quite well and currently sit at 10-3 with their only losses coming by a total of nine points. It all starts with the seniors of this team; from Queens commit AJ McKee to Murray State commit Matt Smith to WCU commit Tyler Harris to unsigned college-worthy guys like Raja Milton and Myles Pauldin. Toughness and defense are required to see the floor for any Preston Davis’ coached team, which certainly includes this one. Omarion Bodrick is their most impactful non-senior and should be the main building block for their foreseeable future. Anthony Allen is another junior that makes quality contributions for this team, especially as a spot-up threat from beyond the arc. The nonstop versatility that the Smith-Harris-Bodrick trio provides has an overwhelming effect on the opposition, especially defensively. McKee is a special type of defender with a fairly well-rounded offensive skillset; he’s already one of the most destructive (and underrated) two-way players in the state and should dominate at the next level. Milton’s ability to run the team from the point guard position is extremely valuable for this group, as he’s arguably the most polished ball-handler and playmaker on this roster.
On the other side, Carmel Christian has been nothing short of dominant this season, going 23-1 and only falling to an extremely tough Bearden (TN) squad (which features B. Maze Elite stars Ques Glover and Drew Pember). Beyond that single loss, Carmel hasn’t looked vulnerable at any point during this season and will definitely maintain their tougher-than-nails philosophy going forward. This roster is littered with committed Division I prospects: Martin Maide (Liberty), Myles Pierre (Houston Baptist), DeAngelo Epps (Charleston), Donovan Gregory (App State), and Jake Boggs (UNCW). Their top five is proven and battle-tested, it’s their depth that will need to make the most of their respective minutes. Myles Hunter is the main force off the bench and is capable of stretching the floor with his combination of size and perimeter shooting. Joe Baggett has done an impeccable job with this group all year long. He’s instilled even more toughness and creativity within this group, which has made them the best team in North Carolina, regardless of classification. So everyone needs to come out and watch this clash of the titans happen on Saturday night.