After a decade of serving as the head coach for Calvary Day School, it’s clear that Joe Rybak understands how to accumulate talent and consistently compete within the private school ranks. He’s advanced a ton of players to the next level, and there’s no reason that would stop anytime soon—especially given their current group. Though Rybak and the Cougars have won plenty of games throughout his tenure, folks could argue that this current squad is their most dangerous in recent memory. While they returned a heavy majority of their core, the year of development in addition to introducing multiple new pieces has taken their ceiling to a new level.
The intrigue and appeal surrounding Jaydin Spillman have been easy to see for quite a few years. However, it seems like everything is starting to click for the highly skilled post prospect. He possesses a long, wiry frame with the fluidity and skillset to naturally cause matchup problems for various types of opponents. At 6-foot-9, Spillman is s lethal floor-spacing option who can control the offense from the elbows or low block. He prefers to face-up and shoot perimeter jumpers whenever possible (which is understandable given his percentage) but also displays touch and the ability to score effectively around the basket. Spillman utilizes his length well to alter shots and collect rebounds, and has shown an uptick in toughness over the last few months. Guys like him are simply uncommon, so it’ll be exciting to see what programs extend offers over the remainder of the high school season.
The latest addition to the roster, Isaiah Ramazani, provides a new dynamic and wrinkle to the mix. Between his activity, unselfishness, and low-maintenance presence, he’s the exact type of player this squad needed. Ramazani is a capable scorer from all levels, but prefers to get downhill, attack the basket, and finish or make the appropriate read when the defense collapses. He’s a well-rounded athlete with the blend of IQ, skill, and toughness to make an impact within any type of structure. Ramazani also brings a ton of value through his ability to produce as a primary option or within a role, but still sets the tone by example in both situations. He should have more action from college-level programs.
Though somewhat unassuming, Dane Cassada is as valuable as anyone to the success of the Cougars. He’s a sturdy, skilled, well-rounded guard prospect with nice size, excellent feel, and knockdown perimeter shooting. Cassada has visibly expanded his game from primarily being a shooter to posing a threat as an all-around offensive weapon. He possesses the necessary handle and vision to create off the bounce and set up others in scoring positions. Cassada makes smart, unselfish decisions with the ball, but also knows how to assert himself from all three levels and take advantage of easy scoring opportunities. He’s a useful defender who positions himself to force turnovers at a quality rate. Given his status as a prospect in the Class of 2026, folks should expect to hear his name a lot throughout the coming years.
The previous trio is absolutely critical to the success of this group, but the duo of Owen Calvert and Bryson Mickey have also stood out as uniquely pivotal pieces worthy of attention. Calvert is a tough, scrappy, shot-making guard who can initiate the offense, set up others as a playmaker, and heat up quickly from beyond the arc. He’s the type of highly competitive gamer that simply knows how to cause problems for opponents on both ends of the floor. Meanwhile, Mickey offers a lot of the same traits. Though stronger and sturdier, he’s another reliable shot-maker with more ability than opponents seem to anticipate. Mickey mixes it up well as a rebounder despite his lack of size, but also makes hustle plays and consistently does a little bit of everything on offense. Both guys are major x-factors for the Cougars.
Those five certainly carry a lot of responsibility for Calvary Day; however, guys like Asher Tolbert, Jordan Richardson, Micah Hudnall, and Josiah Spillman are a few other pieces who contribute and/or should be monitored over the foreseeable future. Either way, this group should be a difficult opponent for most teams in North Carolina. Don’t be surprised to see Coach Rybak and his crew gearing up for a run in the state playoffs.