Few sports at the amateur level offer as much intrigue as high school basketball. There’s simply so much to watch and monitor, especially in a talent-laden state like North Carolina. Whether it’s following individual growth, uncovering new prospects, or seeing what teams will separate themselves from the pack, the landscape is full of excitement. Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the season, there’s arguably no better time to take a closer look at the freshman class and how they’ve fared thus far. You’ll notice that guys like Jordan Page, King Gibson, and LJ Smith (among others) are not listed. This is because they are already widely known commodities. Meanwhile, the five players listed below have each turned heads but are still deserving of increased attention. We will dive into several parts for this series. Let’s take a closer look…

6’1 Lincoln Vinson (Cannon)

Given his status as a young piece on a veteran-led group loaded with polished offensive weapons, Vinson has done a terrific job of finding ways to make an impact. He’s able to reliably run the team as a point guard or produce in an off-ball role. Vinson is a knockdown shooter, smart passer, and scrappy defender. He’s adaptable and well-rounded enough to mesh with any variety of teammates. Vinson already has a really high floor, so it’ll be exciting to see his continued growth going forward.

6’3 Teeshon Smith (Cox Mill)

For those who have watched the Chargers, it should come as no surprise to see Smith listed here. He’s really shined as a focal point for this young, up-and-coming Cox Mill squad, offering a healthy blend of scoring, toughness, and shot-creation ability. Smith scores the ball with relative ease from all levels, but also understands how to get others involved and seize opportunities within the framework of the offense. He’s a great athlete with length, fluidity, and quality feel on both ends of the floor. Smith is undoubtedly a guy to keep an eye on.

6’4 Josiah Johnson-Freeman (Northside Christian)

After seeing him several times throughout the current high school season, it’s clear that Johnson-Freeman is already a very valuable piece for Northside Christian. He’s long, smart, and versatile enough to consistently affect all facets of the game. Johnson-Freeman is capable of defending multiple positions, setting the tone as a rebounder, and filling in the gaps offensively. He does an incredible job of producing within the flow of the action. When he’s playing well, this group has a much higher ceiling.

5’10 Nate Jones (Grace Christian)

Although he’s not receiving a lot of attention, Jones’ freshman campaign has been as impressive as basically anyone in the state. He’s putting up strong numbers across the board while being a nightly leader for the Crusaders. Jones is a smart, skilled guard who can apply nonstop scoring pressure while running the team and generating opportunities for others. Though Jones is already finding quality production, it feels like he’s only going to trend upward as he continues to physically develop.

5’11 CP Perry (Carson)

Rounding out this group, Perry has really excelled during his early high school career. Not only has Carson started to turn heads as a group, but Perry has clearly stood out as a leader along the way. He’s a smart, well-rounded point guard with excellent balance between scoring and playmaking. Perry controls the offense in a poised manner and makes great decisions with the ball in his hands. He’s also a useful rebounder and defender at the point of attack. Expect Perry and this group to keep blossoming.