The Second Annual Hoops and Dreams was filled with quality and nationally ranked teams and players. To put it mildly, there was an over abundance of talent. While some of the bigger named players did what big time players should do, there was also a list of players that used the Hoop and Dreams platform to elevate their recruitment and stock. Today, we want to take a closer look at the players that made the biggest impact with their performance on the floor.
6’5 2020 Jamahri Harvey (Northwood Temple)
This was a statement game for the long, bouncy and athletic wing. Simply put, Jamarhi Harvey put it all together and showcased his unique blend of athleticism, advanced skill set and in my opinion had one of the event’s best performance in the Northwood Temple76-56 win over Raleigh Trinity Academy and 6’10 Isaiah Todd. Harvey had a tournament high 30 points. He scored from all three levels and even knocked in four 3-pointers. While his offensive performance was terrific, his effort and defensive play was equally or even better. Harvey defended multiple positions, rebounded, got into the passing lanes and blocked shots at the rim. His play on both ends of the court was outstanding and may have been the event’s best overall performance.
Coach Kurtis Darden (Village Christian)
We don’t often or have ever included a coach in our list of top performances, but let’s take a closer look at the success of Village Christian. Village Christian not only beat one nationally ranked team, but team two nationally ranked teams in Potters House (68-66) and Independence 50-48) Independence is the defending NCHSAA 4A champion. Coaching matters and coach Darden led his team to two impressive wins and should help prepare them for an NCISAA title run.
6’2 2019 E.J. Bethea (Cape Fear Christian)
Coming into the event, EJ Bethea sported only one scholarship offer from Lees McRae. Look for that to change. Standing a lengthy and athletic 6’2, Bethea showcased the ability to play both guard positions, but shined mostly as the team’s source of offense. In the game against Heritage Christian (WV), Bethea was dialed in from deep. While he scored a game high 30 points, he also hit seven 3-pointers. Bethea has excellent shooting mechanics, extension, proper backspin, rotation and follow through. He has the velvet touch from the perimeter and has Cape Fear off to their early success.
6’2 2020 Samage Teel (Farmville Central)
Welcome to the spotlight Samage Teel. In the past, Teel has played his support role extremely well, however, he quickly grabbed our attention with his poise, maturity and overall feel for the game, not to mention a silky smooth jump shot. In the game vs. Fayetteville Academy, Teel finished with a game high 24 points, including five 3-pointers. In addition, Teel went 7-8 from the free throw line in the second half and made crucial free throws down the stretch.
6’2 2019 Caleb Burgess (Moravian Prep)
Three weeks ago, 6’2 unsigned senior went “toe to toe” with the number one player in the country in Cole Anthony. While Cole Anthony and Oak Hill won in overtime, it was a valuable and unforgettable lessons. Flying under the radar for many low to mid major schools, Burgess has proved he is worthy of the praise and will become a hot name during the late signing period in the spring. In the game against a very talented and nationally ranked team (Potters House) Burgess finished with a game high 29 points. For Caleb Burgess, he plays his best games against the best teams. Make no mistake about it, Caleb Burgess is going to be a very success basketball player at the D1 level next season. His track record speaks for itself, the better the competition, the better he plays.
6’3 2019 Talton Jones (Trinity Christian)
The 6’2 unsigned senior has overcome a lifetime of anxiety and challenges within the past several months. For most young prospects, many would have folded and given up, but not Talton Jones, Jones is a tough two-way competitive player that relished in the opportunity. The opportunity at hand was the Hoops and Dreams platform and one thing is crystal clear, Talton Jones passed with flying colors. In the game vs. cross town rival New Life Christian, Jones was simply spectacular. Jones finished with a game high 24 points, but quickly wowed us with his poise and confidence on the floor.
6’3 2020 Zavian McLean (Village Christian )
Talk about consistency! Zavian McLean had two spectacular games and both were wins against nationally ranked teams in Potters House (FL) and NCHSAA 4A defending state champion Independence. There’s an old saying, “if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and acts like a duck, then it must be a duck.” For Zavian McLean, he is one of the area’s and state’s most under-recruited wing guards in the state. In both games, McLean finished with a game high 22 points, but his scoring only begins to tell the story.McLean played equally hard on the defensive end of the court and provided on court leadership throughout the event. College coaches, go ahead and put this young man in your SIM card. He’s a leader and a winner!
6’5 2019 Josh Nickelberry (Northwood Temple)
6’5 2019 Josh Nickelberry is literally growing up before our very eyes! In the win over Raleigh Trinity Academy, Nickelberry was his usual self knocking in 23 points, however this is the area where Nickelberry has now improved. He is playing hard on both ends of the court, he is playing tough defense, denying the passing lanes, grabbing rebounds and making plays for himself as well as his teammates. Each outing, you can see the maturing process evolve. He has worked hard on his court leadership and is now leading by example. He’s accepting responsibility and his enhancing his long-term resume as both a player and a person.
5’10 2020 Jalen Cone (Walkertown)
Coming off a summer injury, 5’10 2020 Jalen Cone proved he is more than just a scoring guard, although he did score a very quiet 24 points. More importantly, Cone is growing, maturing and developing as a “coach on the floor.” Cone is more patience and learning how to control tempo and pace.
6’6 2020 Reggie Raynor (New Life Christian)
Sporting a physically mature frame, Raynor was splendid in both games. First of all, we’re talking about a high octane blue-collar work this which is quite appealing to watch. Simply sated, Raynor goes all out! It’s one speed for him and that is all out. He displayed really outstanding positive body language and is all about his team. While he had 25 points in a losing cause, we were impressed with overall mental approach to the game. He comes at you hard and fast and proved that he is going to have a nice slew of offers coming sooner rather than later.
6’1 2019 Marsei Caston (Potters House)
The “do it all” point guard has tight handles, excellent court vision, and an attacking offensive mindset. Gaston can score from all three levels as he illustrated on opening night. He scored a game high 26 points on Saturday, knocking down four 3-pointers, midrange and a few strong powerful drives to the rim. Gaston can score at will, but also provides scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Be sure to check out Coach Rick’s Observations from the Hoops and Dreams Day 1 and Day 2