The state of North Carolina is consistently filled with some of the top basketball talent across the entire nation—especially per capita. This can be a blessing and a curse. Due to the number of programs competing for kids of similar levels, it typically becomes a waiting game. Understandably, no college coach wants to reveal their hand to the competition, but there has to be a certain level of assurance to these prospects. Too often are coaches intentionally holding out offers for reasons that aren’t actually justifiable. Listen, the notion of “if we offer, then they’ll offer” makes sense, but it shouldn’t actually prevent scholarships from being extended. Though folks have laughed about the copious amount of offers certain programs (say for example, Maryland Eastern Shore in 2017) have put out in the past, neither extreme seems to find overwhelming success. There has to be better balance on both sides. Kids don’t need to stockpile offers just for optics, and college coaches don’t need to hoard offers in order to seem intelligent. The following five players (though varying in recruitment) are guys who should each hold numerous scholarship opportunities and, for one reason or another, aren’t receiving appropriate attention from college programs. Let’s take a closer look…
6’2 Jamori McDougald (Overhills)
While every prospect on this list is somewhat difficult to explain, Jamori McDougald’s lack of offers (zero) is arguably the most perplexing. His calm, steady, intelligent demeanor is what folks should want out of their floor general. He’s patient, under control, and possesses a phenomenal change-of-pace to his game. McDougald is a very balanced, well-rounded point guard prospect with vision, craftiness, and efficiency as a scorer from all levels. He’s equally as effective in transition as the half-court, and seems to consistently outperform his assignment on both ends of the floor. McDougald is the type of guy all types of coaches should covet to run their team, so expect to see an uptick in his recruitment over the coming months.
6’5 Dawson McAlhany (Bishop McGuinness)
Without sounding redundant, there is really nothing new to be said about the lack of recruitment surrounding Dawson McAlhany. Props to Chowan and Lee’s McRae for extending offers, but others should already be in pursuit. Between his leadership with Bishop McGuinness and general dominance for NC Spartans throughout the spring/summer, there should be genuine curiosity regarding what McAlhany needs to do to warrant more attention. If the answer is nothing, then just say that. That being said, it’s basically impossible to ask him to do anything else at this point. The southpaw scores in a variety of different ways and has seamlessly become a reliable perimeter shooter over the years. He’s a quality athlete with IQ, skill, and an active motor. More programs should be prioritizing McAlhany going into the upcoming season.
6’3 Amari Pearson (Fayetteville Academy)
Given his strong travel ball season with Team Wall, one would expect Amari Pearson to become a legitimate priority amongst various programs over the coming months. Between his size, athleticism, and rugged mentality, the appeal should be fairly obvious. Pearson is tough, physical, and stands out as a game-changing defender against backcourt opponents. He suffocates opposing ball-handlers with a blend of IQ, strength, and quickness, which leads to a ton of fast-break opportunities. Pearson is also a reliable playmaker and downhill penetrator, and has shown visible progression as a perimeter shooter. Folks should expect him to shine as a dominant force (and collect offers) throughout the upcoming season for Fayetteville Academy.
6’3 Deng Atak (Freedom Christian)
After watching him with New Light Disciples throughout the summer, it became increasingly clear that Deng Atak should be receiving a lot more attention from scholarship-level coaches. He’s a strong, skilled, well-rounded guard prospect with quality feel and leadership by example. Atak is able to get downhill and finish through contact or above the rim, but also displays creation instincts and the ability to apply scoring pressure from the perimeter. He’s a capable passer with the understanding of how to make an impact with or without the ball in his hands. Atak also stands out as a defender and rebounder, regularly outworking his assignment and pushing transition play whenever possible. Though somewhat under the radar to college coaches, he has all the makings of a breakout candidate.
6’5 Christian Cornish (Lake Norman Christian)
Players with size, toughness, and a blue-collar approach are always able to find value, regardless of setting, and Christian Cornish certainly possesses those traits. We’ve previously spoken about how coaches will say, “well if they could do (insert skill here), then we would offer,” and it’s been said about Cornish’s three-point shooting. Let’s be honest, if he were shooting 40% from distance, do these schools unwilling to offer really think they could get him? He’s built like a tank, plays extremely hard, and consistently produces as a defender, rebounder, and hustle player. Sure, Cornish could be more polished, but it’s not like he’s a finished product. Currently holding an offer from St. Augustine, he should continue to see scholarship-level programs get involved.