As we’ve stated countless times over the past few months, the recruiting landscape is more bizarre than ever before. While everyone has been affected, it’s been a particularly devastating situation for the Class of 2021. Between the coaching changes and player movement, there’s even less opportunity available for the current group of seniors. There are dozens of kids, specifically in North Carolina, who have been overlooked or brushed aside due to the circumstances. However, programs are almost certain to find some hidden gems with so much hysteria swirling. Let’s take a closer look at some of those potential candidates…
6’2 Jeremy Baker (Liberty Heights)
Some of these recruiting situations are just downright perplexing, and Baker’s is certainly among the more confusing. It should be fairly easy to sell scholarship-level programs on the appeal surrounding a smart, versatile guard. Baker possesses the combination of skill and physicality to properly navigate an offensive and effectively run a team on either end of the floor. His combination of vision, toughness, and scoring prowess made him a consistently vital contributor for one of North Carolina’s premier teams in Liberty Heights. In addition to everything listed, Baker’s proven ability to win should have various college coaches vying for his services.
6’6 Leontae Moye (Farmville Central)
Probably one of the least appreciated players across the entire state, Moye’s unique approach and willingness to accept his role for the betterment of the team should be coveted by all types of programs. For starters, he’s among the top all-around defensive players with an uncommon ability to block shots, defend fluidly in space, and actively toggle between the paint and perimeter. Moye displays exceptional instincts and utilizes his blend of length, motor, athleticism, and anticipation to overwhelm opponents. Offensively, he typically applies most of his scoring pressure as a reliable cutter, finisher, and rim-runner in transition. While it differs from what has become popular, Moye is the type of gritty, team-first player who wins games—and should be recruited accordingly.
6’4 Akhiris Holden (Henderson Collegiate)
Anyone who has followed his career over the last few years should have some legitimate empathy for Holden. Folks continually questioned his size and position, only for Holden to produce against all types of competition. Then the focus shifted to his perimeter game, and he showed improved ball-handling and flashes of effective shooting ability. Holden’s averages of 12.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 1.6 BPG against a bloodbath schedule in 2019-2020 should’ve erased any concerns about being able to compete with noteworthy opponents. Then his increase across the board to average 20.2 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.5 SPG, and 2.4 BPG should’ve only further solidified that notion. It’s pretty clear that Holden has enough doubters trying to resist his pursuit of receiving scholarship opportunities to play college basketball. That being said, there’s more than enough evidence to justify his spot for a variety of different programs.
6’5 Sheick Samoura (Fuquay-Varina)
Arguably the most enticing prospect on the list, Samoura was previously committed to Air Force but remains available while playing with Team Loaded’s group of unsigned seniors. In all honesty, it’s very surprising that scholarship-level programs haven’t made more of a priority out of the long, imposing two-way wing prospect. He checks so many boxes. From a physical standpoint, his combination of size, length, toughness, and athleticism should have obvious appeal. Add in his quality amount of skill as a creator and overall scorer, and there’s no justification for Samoura to hold anything less than an abundance of offers. After being a clear leader for Fuquay-Varina, his production has only continued during the travel ball season.
6’1 Max Rogers (Asheville Christian)
In terms of archetype, no one listed has a clear transition to the college game than Rogers. While he’s more than just a shooter, he can seamlessly slide into the 3-and-D role for various types of programs. Rogers’ team-friendly game really allows things to come to him within the flow of the offense. He’s a lethal spot-up threat and cutter without the ball, but can also operate as a useful secondary creator. Rogers displays unselfishness and a quality feel for the game, making extra passes, defending with purpose, and doing whatever necessary to involve himself in the action. He’s also shown the ability to operate as the leader of a team or within a role, and finds ways to thrive in either situation. Like the others, Rogers will be an asset wherever he ends up.