Coach Rick’s Stock Boosters from the Carmel Christian Tip Off

The inaugural Carmel Classic Tip Off Classic presented by Phenom Hoop Report jumpstarted the 2018-19 North Carolina high school basketball season, not to mention the first time the 35 second shot clock was used in the state of North Carolina. While the use of the shot clock created a buzz and excitement, the action on the floor was tremendous. Like any event, players use the platform and stage to establish their own personal resume and enhance their recruiting stock. Below is a list of players that proved they belong and many will be mentioned in the national conversation moving forward.


6’10 2020 Javarzia Belton (Moravian Prep)

Big time players perform in big time games against national ranked teams and Javarzia Belton proved he is a high major prospect. Going head to head against Oak Hill’s Kofi Cockburn, Belton was equal or better to the challenge. He is a strong two-handed rebounder who has passer friendly hands, not to mention nifty footwork in the paint. In addition, Belton showcased the ability to hit the 10-15 foot elbow jumper. While his height, strength and athleticism are a tad more advanced than his overall skill, he is a very self-motivated prospect that doesn’t mind putting in the work in the gym or the weight room. We love his passion and intensity on the court and look for his stock to explode on the national stage. His work ethic is as big that his physical frame and that along is saying a lot.


6’9 2019 Josh Hall (Moravian Prep)

One thing is for certain, Josh Hall remains under the recruiting radar. We’re talking about mobile and fluid wing that has a soft shooting touch, not to mention the ability to put the ball on the floor and make plays. While he does need to get stronger, which will come in college, there is no denying the high skill set and ability to stretch the defense with his perimeter shooting. In addition, what you are seeing is not the finished product. His skill set is high but he is only beginning to scratch the surface on his long range potential. Definitely a BUY NOW stock!


6’4 2021 AJ Smith (Hickory Grove)

Mark it down, AJ Smith is going to be a highly coveted prospect. We’ re talking about a strong, physical, aggressive point guard, not to mention a matching skill set along with a high basketball IQ and feel for the game. Using his strength and getting to the rim at will is currently his calling card. In addition, Smith is a stronger defender and rebounds well for his position. In other words, AJ Smith is one of the better two-way players in the North Carolina 2021 class.


6’6 2022 DJ Nix (Cannon School)

While freshman teammate Jaden Bradley has grabbed much of the media spotlight and rightfully so, go ahead and throw 6’6 freshman DJ Nix in the mix as well. We’re talking about an athletic, bouncy, explosive power forward that plays with a full throttle approach to the game. His hustle and high motor are currently his calling card, but watch for him to develop into a national level player. In the loss to nationally ranked Carmel Christian, Nix chipped in a team high 24 points, collected eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Cannon School is loaded with youth and talent. Go ahead and mark DJ Nix to your SIM card.


6’4 2020 Tyler McKinney (Asheville Christian)

Whether it was travel ball, exposure camps, or with his high school team, 6’4 2020 Tyler McKinney has been simply terrific. He may not wow you with all the physical attributes, but one thing is crystal clear, Tyler McKinney can flat out play. We’re talking about a fundamentally sound, high IQ/cerebral player that has a nose for the ball and simply understands the game. Consistency is his calling card and averaged 22 PPG in the wins over Hickory Grove and Providence Day. McKinney is an efficient  3-point shooter and plays the game the right way.

Be sure to check out Coach Rick’s Fab 5 from Day 1

Be sure to check out Coach Rick’s Fab 5 from Day 2