By: DeAjai Dawkins
BJ Freeman (Moravian Prep National)
BJ Freeman has slowly but surely solidified himself as one of my favorite scoring guards in the entire state. Anyone that knows me from a basketball perspective should be able to tell you that I am a fan of “big guards”, as their powerful frames usually give them an automatic advantage at the rim. Freeman is gifted with a naturally sturdy frame, and possesses impressive perimeter skills to go along with his biological gifts. Personally I enjoy watching Freeman create opportunities for himself on the perimeter, as he does not need to use many dribbles to penetrate the lane. BJ can also shoot the ball at an impressive rate, showing the ability to knock down the open 3 and pull up from mid range. With his physical tools and natural ability to create offense, I would imagine he is, or should be a point of emphasis on numerous recruiting boards.
Dre Watson (Bull City Prep Durham)
Dre Watson is a forward that specializes at the 4 spot. Standing around 6’8, Watson combines a tall, muscular frame with natural athleticism. His ability to play above the rim serves him well, as it shows potential for him to grow into a consistent disruption at the rim for opposing players. He is comfortable demanding the ball in the post, and primarily looks to finish with fadeaway jumpers. While he has definitely developed comfort from the mid-range, I would love to see Watson begin using his strength to create more opportunities at the rim from the post. I believe Watson is a player with the upside to provide a coach meaningful minutes for years to come.
Jonas Aidoo (Liberty Heights)
Jonas Aidoo was arguably the state’s biggest stock riser in the year 2020, and if there’s room for argument then there definitely isn’t much. Standing at 7’0, Aidoo possesses the agility and offensive prowess to compliment the model NBA teams are looking for. I’ve noticed that ever since his notoriety began to grow, Aidoo has made it a habit to display improvements in his game. Offensively, Jonas is a dynamic threat that can currently show flashes of his capabilities from all three levels. He’s pulling open 3’s with confidence, becoming more and more comfortable in the most, and most importantly improving his motor constantly. With his frame and mobility, Aidoo serves as an easy target in transition, allowing a mountain of opportunities for his team. In the event that he continues to improve on his offensive talents, while allowing his defensive presence to grow, it would not surprise me if Aidoo finished his high school career classified as the #1 player in the state.
Brandon White (Winston-Salem Christian National)
6’9 Brandon White really impressed me Friday night due to his tremendous upside. An agile, skilled 2022 graduate, Brandon White runs the floor exceptionally when he’s motivated. He’s shown the ability to contest shots at the rim and has shown the ability to hit mid-range jump shots at a consistent rate. White has a frame that can easily develop muscle, and it will be interesting to watch how Brandon chooses to incorporate physical strength into his game. In addition to White running the floor with passion offensively, his ability to do the same on defense hints at the potential for him to become a “chase down” asset for his team.
Cameron McKinney (Elite One)
Cameron McKinney is a 2024 that I’ve taken interest in ever since seeing him play for the first time. McKinney is an athletically gifted guard with an impressive motor. McKinney’s consistency as a workhouse is evident on the glass, allowing him to produce rebounds constantly. Not to be understated, his rebounding capabilities are so impressive that as a 6’3 guard, there are times where he plays center. This motor is important for McKinney, especially as a 9th grader, due to how these benefits will help develop a more versatile player as his career progresses. McKinney could potentially become a player that experiences a surge in attention late in his high school career.
Undre Lindsay (Juice All-Stars)
I have been hearing the name Undre Lindsay for over a year now, and the reason has had nothing to do with basketball. As some of you may know, Undre Lindsay has established himself as one of the most impressive quarterbacks in all of the Carolinas. His talents on the gridiron have solidified him as a definite Division One athlete, today I found out that those Division One talents are not at all limited to the football field. Lindsay is an exceptional basketball player, the most talented I personally was assigned to watch today. At 6’3 Lindsay has the hulking frame of a linebacker with massive arms. This frame clearly gives him strength advantages as he’s able to virtually barrel into the lane at will. What impressed me the most about Lindsay is his skill as a passer. His experiences on the football field may explain how he’s able to deliver pinpoint passes when and how he wants. I’m unsure what sport Lindsay has chosen to dedicate his college career toward, but if he does choose football I expect his college/university’s basketball coach to keep in contact.
2023 Nicholas Davis (Elevation Prep Academy)
Nicholas Davis is a 2023 I had not watched until today, he definitely caught my attention with his play. For starters, Davis plays on a talented Elevation Prep Academy team with a few teammates who also performed well enough to receive direct attention. The separating factor in Davis outside of his youth and noticeable length is his offensive upside. At this point, I’m certain the “tall, slender wing with elite scoring and point guard capabilities” description has begun to sound like a broken record. Due to the common nature of this praise, I want to emphasize that Davis is not yet a complete project, I would not label him an elite scorer or ballhandler yet. What I will say, is that I do not often see 6’6 sophomores with the ability to score and move with the basketball the way Nicholas can. His height and length make it easy for him to see and shoot over defenses, and his current capabilities as a ball-handler are good enough to make him a primary option. I’m so excited about his development, as Davis could truly become a special player.