More often than not, teams with title aspirations usually have previous bouts of success to serve as a reminder of what to do in order to become victorious. Not Central Cabarrus. Although the Vikings have been absolutely dominant to start off the season, it’s worth noting that majority of the roster wasn’t even born during their last time as a top-ten team in the state (2005-06 per MaxPreps). It’s almost bizarre to see a middling amount of success for such a long period, immediately followed by arguably the best team in school history. Alas, here we are, as Central Cabarrus continues to solidify themselves as a clear favorite for the 3A NCHSAA Championship. Let’s take a closer look…

It’s not possible to talk about this team without placing a ton of emphasis on the smart, rugged three-headed monster of 6’0 ’23 Jaiden Thompson, 6’1 ’24 Chase Daniel, and 5’11 ’24 Carson Daniel. In looking at Thompson, he’s leading the team in scoring (20.3 PPG), rebounding (5.7 RPG), and free throws (4.3 attempts per game) while shooting 58% from the floor and making his presence felt as a defender (3.2 SPG) and playmaker (2.8 APG). Though he’s more than capable in the half-court, Thompson really excels at wreaking havoc defensively, forcing turnovers, and applying seemingly nonstop pressure in transition. He’s a quality finisher with the ability to power through contact or make the proper read to an open teammate. Thompson operates as a main creator for this group and shows a willingness to do the little things on both ends of the floor. 

Moving on, the twins are (expectedly) as in sync as any two players in the state. Chase has steadily transitioned from a natural hustle player into an all-around scoring leader for this group. He’s still maintained his foundation as a tough, heady, high-motor guard but has still clearly developed over the recent months. Chase can create for himself or others while making his presence felt as a defender, rebounder, and transition player. This season, he’s averaging 16.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.1 APG, and 4.6 SPG while shooting 59% from the floor. Meanwhile, Carson operates as the Vikings’ primary floor general. He’s a capable scoring option who looks to set up others and take advantage of his opportunities as needed. Carson displays a poised, methodical approach with the ball in his hands, and understands how to dissect the defense through constantly touching the paint. Like the previous two, he’s also a defensive pest with excellent feel on either side of the ball. His nightly averages of 12.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.3 APG, and 3.9 SPG while shooting 62% from the floor only echo his impact. 

Although the trio accounts for nearly 60% of the total scoring, guys like 6’0 ’23 Adriel Miller, 6’2 ’23 Gavin Bullock, and 6’1 ’22 Jay’kwon Diaz-Cruz also made a major difference. Miller is a tough, scrappy two-way guard who plays with equal energy on both ends of the floor. He’s a capable penetrator and finisher with a willingness to defend, make the extra pass, and do the dirty work. Bullock is arguably the Vikings’ main “big man,” and does a great job of playing bigger than his size would imply. He battles for rebounds, looks to make the right play, and outworks opponents inside the paint. Diaz-Cruz offers another useful scoring piece who understands how to capitalize on his chances within the flow of the action. He utilizes his length well to finish and make an impact on the glass. 

All in all, this team is as talented as ever (even if folks forgot about their recent roster with Christian Cornish, Marvin Bost, and Zach Bessette) and should be considered a heavy favorite to claim the 3A NCHSAA Title. Between the coaching and individual pieces, this group should ultimately have the recipe to be winners over the foreseeable future.