Early season collegiate standouts from the North Carolina 2018 class: Part 1
The North Carolina 2018 was an absolutely loaded and deep class. 65 plus players are playing at the D1 level and 40 plus players are playing at the D2 or D3 level. Year after year, the state of North Carolina continues to produce the country’s best players and has the most depth of any state. Just look at the list of players on the Phenom Hoop Report Top 100 and see the number of players that being recruited nationally and out of region. Pure and simple, North Carolina is a “hotbed” for basketball talent.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the North Carolina 2018 class and let’s see how we did, not to mention the early season success of many of this class that are having standout seasons thus far. Naturally, this is somewhat skewed by “proper fit” and the immediate needs of each school. That being said, let’s look at some of the players we got right and also some of the ones we may have missed. Throughout the year, the battle for the number one spot was a toss up between 6’5 Coby White (UNC) and 6’2 Devon Dotson (Kansas). In many cases, we had both tied for the number one spot for the majority of the year.
No. 1 6’5 Coby White (UNC)
We first noticed Coby White when he attended our NC Junior Phenom camp. We knew he was good, but didn’t have any idea how good. During his freshman year, he immediately grabbed our attention and was selected to the NC Top 80 event and we stated the following. “Coby White is a promising young PG that has unlimited potential and upside. He is highly effective scoring and has tremendous range and a soft shooting touch. Coby White is definitely one to put in your SIM CARD.” https://www.phenomhoopreport.com/2015/12/12/stock-on-the-rise-64-2018-coby-white/
Now, a freshman at UNC, Coby White just may be the best player on the team. He is currently averaging 15.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 3.6 APG while shooting 51.2% from the floor, 44% from the 3-point line and an outstanding 87.5% from the free throw line. Coby White is a future first round NBA pick and will be the heart and soul of UNC’s success this season, which is not often seen for a freshman especially in Chapel Hill.
No. 2 Devon Dotson (Kansas)
Our first time watching Dotson was at our NC Jr Phenom 150 camp in February of 2013. There we wrote: “Dotson has an advanced skill set blended with athleticism that will make him one of the top players in his class in NC. He was one of the top 5 performers in camp and one of the best ball handlers/playmakers at this level. He was a “lockdown” defender and can make shots at all levels on the court.” https://www.phenomhoopreport.com/2015/12/02/name-to-know-61-2018-devon-dotson-of-providence-day/
From day one, we weren’t too far off in our calculations of Mr. Dotson. Always known for his defense and being one of the most fierce competitors, he has quickly become a star as a starting point guard for Coach Bill Self and probably the best team in the country. So far, Devon Dotson is averaging 11.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.7 APG and is shooting 54.7% from the floor, 46% from the 3-point line and 76% from the free throw line.
No. 3 6’8 Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest)
Jaylen Hoard was ranked nationally higher in some scouting services than Coby White and Devon Dotson. Hoard consistently was ranked third in Phenom Hoop Report’s North Carolina 2018 rankings. Make no mistake, Hoard is a truly gifted player and his length, athleticism, and overall skill set may allow him more longevity at the NBA level. He is such a silky smooth wing and is Wake Forest’s best overall player. He is currently averaging 16 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.7 APG while shooting 48.2% from the floor and 69% from the free throw line. Unfortunately, Wake Forest is struggling early on and it looks like Hoard will also be a first round NBA draft pick.
No. 6 6’6 Aaron Wiggins (Maryland)
Aaron Wiggins bounced around in our rankings throughout the year hovering around the 4-7 range. He finished at the no. 6 spot and we may have had him a spot or two too low. Wiggins burst onto the national seen playing for Team Charlotte where he went from a relatively unknown to a national level prospect. At Maryland, he is putting up admirable statistics averaging 10.4 PPG , 4.1 RPG, and 1.3 APG. He is shooting well from the floor at 53.2% but is only shooting 18% from the 3-point line and 57.% from the free throw line.
No. 8 6’8 Jarius Hamilton (Boston College)
We have been tracking Jarius Hamilton since 2015 and was always at the top of our ranking list. We’re talking about a player that has an unbelievable basketball frame that combines the unique blend of athleticism and an advanced skill set. For us, it was just a matter of having a consistent motor. Without question, Hamilton has all the tools that made college coaches salivate for his services. He picked up an early UNC offer, but decided to wait it out and select Boston College. He too is having a solid freshman campaign averaging 6.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, while shooting 43% from the floor.
No. 4 6’8 Joey Baker (Duke)
Baker was actually in the 2019 class, but decided to “reclass” up to the 2018 class. He is currently redshirting for Duke this season. Baker has an impeccable skill set and plays well within a team structure. Baker will be using his redshirt team to get bigger and stronger. For Baker, he understands the big picture and that patience is a virtue. While he could have stayed at Trinity Christian for his senior season, Baker felt a year getting to know the Duke system will help prepare him for his long term goals.
No. 5 John Newman (Clemson)
Remember when we stated, ” much depends upon the needs of a particular school.” Newman was one of the state’s best two-way players and was known for his impressive “on-the-ball” defensive pressure, not to mention his understanding for team defensive principles. At Clemson, there was depth at his position and while he is getting solid minutes, his best days are ahead. Look for Newman to be a break out player his sophomore season. We’ve been a long time fan of Newman. He plays the game the right way, he defends, rebounds and does whatever is needed, not to mention a great team player. Newman is a future All-ACC player in my opinion.
Now, let’s take a look at part 2: https://www.phenomhoopreport.com/2018/12/07/early-season-collegiate-standouts-from-the-north-carolina-2018-class-part-2/