By: Ethan Reece
The Triad area is no stranger to big-time talent on the hardwood. But due to the abundance of noteworthy prospects to keep track of, there are always some guys that tend to fly under the radar. Here we'll take a look at a few guys that I think will be big contributors to the success of their high school teams this upcoming season and make a name for themselves as guys you'll want to follow going forward.
2024 Dominic Payne (Trinity)
He'll spend the fall lined up at QB for the Bulldogs, but there's just as much, if not more so, to look forward to with Dominic on the court. He's already had a strong first two years on varsity and will be looking to ensure dominance at the point this year. He breaks the game down into simple terms and makes getting to the basket look effortless. He has a quick first step to blow by, a tight handle to maneuver traffic, and is reactively flexible in the air converting tough finishes at an insane rate. Whether in the open court or slowed down in the half, he leaves defenders praying for help side and is just too strong for one guard to handle in the lane. Randolph County certainly flies under the radar, but the show Dominic puts on is certainly worth the price of admission to make the trip out.
2024 Quamir Ingram (Bethany Community)
Any time you watch Quamir, the only question you may have is how many will he end up with. He leaves no doubt as a competitor, being one of the best motors and tenacious defenders in the area. He brings that every time out, no question, and offensively he has the map to the basket. You can only hope to slow down his track to the rim, always showing an array of moves and positions he's capable of scoring with. He plays with an unmatched physicality and usage of his body that makes other guys back down that brings up the phrase man amongst boys. Bethany looked good at our team camp with a really balanced 2024 group, look for Quamir to be leaving a lasting impression that makes guys fear the second matchup.
2025 Jackson Powers (Davie County)
In the guard dominant landscape of today's game, Jackson gives you the feel of an old-school big man while still providing enough perimeter capabilities. He's built thick with sharp foundational principles operating on the block, able to score over his shoulder, power through hits, and efficiently score off touches without needing to dribble. He draws heavy attention, giving leigh way for him to kick out to the shooters around him, and knows when to put the ball on the floor and escape trouble. Combine that with a smooth and reliable outside shot that keeps getting better, he just provides a calming essential presence to have on the court and rely on to control the action in the paint. Having a guy with his sound consistency will make the first year for Coach Pittman much easier and allow him to be the primary piece to build the team around his Jr and Sr years.
2024 Jaylon Bumpass (Grimsley)
There will be several new key pieces on this Grimsley team this year that will keep them competitive atop the Metro 4A. Paired with sharpshooter Nick Elliott, Jaylon is going to provide firepower to propel the offense. He's an explosive shotmaker with an aggressive offensive prowess that keeps coming at you. Best at getting to his pull-up off the bounce, he's shown the ability to create his own looks and not be limited to the spot-up catch and shoot action. He's a quick ball handler, an active defender that can jump passes, and a consistent finisher with the bounce he has to finish above the rim. This conference will be a heated race, with a lot of new names looking to prove themselves after a strong 2022 class graduated, and Jaylon has the offensive skills to be a gamechanger for this team.
2025 Bryson Mickey (Calvary Day)
Calvary has the chance to be a sleeper and surprise some people this year because their NC rise trio of Bryson Mickey, Dane Cassada, and Owen Calvert will be among the top shooting backcourts in the state. You have to pick your poison with 3 lethal shooters like this, and Bryson has shown to heat up quickly when given the window to get his up. He's smart in how he attacks guys because he's so much quicker than given credit for and is also crafty with the court vision to make clear-cut passes in traffic for cutters. His off-ball motion is good and consistent, and he can play the patient attack or quick-paced up and down game, so if you get caught sleeping he can get going real quick with legit range and the game slips away before you realize it.