Basketball has aggressively transitioned into a game surrounding star power, specifically given the overall nature of talent accumulation: the more “stars” on a team, the better. However, no team has ever found true, prolonged success without role players. Guys like Robert Horry have become legendary by embracing their identity as a smaller cog, rather than the fulcrum piece. The same notion is applicable for high school basketball, but very seldom do those role players receive appropriate praise for their contributions. That being said, this article will take a closer look at five players who are deserving of more attention. Obviously, there are more than five across the state—so we will make an ongoing series over the coming weeks…
5’11 ’21 Clayton Robinson (Lake Norman Christian)
As we stated in our game recap from this past weekend, Robinson brings obvious value to a team. Though he starts and logs plenty of minutes, his purpose is to provide shooting, secondary ball-handling, and energy on both ends of the floor. Robinson plays with an excellent motor and displays a great nose for the ball. He fills in the gaps effectively on offense and is capable of shutting down the best opposing player in a pinch. Robinson doesn’t receive a ton of press on a star-studded roster, but he contributes to winning and could have various suitors at the next level.
5’10 ’21 Isaiah Escobar (The Burlington School)
If there is any player on this list whose per-game averages don’t properly reflect his value, it’s Escobar. The undersized guard simply thrives on doing the little things, whether by providing hustle, knocking down perimeter jumpers, or shutting down opposing guards. Escobar can also set up the offense, make the extra pass, and simply understands how to make the right decision within the team structure. He defends and rebounds well for his size while forcing turnovers at a quality rate. Escobar could certainly warrant attention at the college level.
6’4 ’21 Charlie Hester (United Faith Christian)
There are numerous potential candidates from United Faith, but Hester’s ability as the glue-guy cannot be overstated in terms of worth. Given the depth and wide variety of talent on this roster, Hester can find opportunities with any collection of teammates. He handles the ball, defends multiple positions, and scores within the flow of the offense. Hester also possesses the necessary size to make his presence felt on the glass. He does a little bit of everything and fills in the gaps exceptionally well on one of the more talented teams in the state. Like the aforementioned duo, Hester will likely have various opportunities in college.
5’10 ’21 Caleb Coleman (Victory Christian)
With a guard grouping of Takai Simpkins, Tajuan Simpkins, and Demar Anderson, even someone as talented as Coleman can be forgotten within the bigger scheme of things. His name should be an increasingly popular one for college coaches, as he could be a legitimate steal simply due to role. Coleman is well-rounded and capable of operating effectively from either backcourt position. He handles the ball, makes smart passes, and scores in various ways when called upon. Coleman is an underrated piece for a talented Victory Christian squad, and could be an asset for numerous programs.
6’4 ’22 Kyle Bean (Carmel Christian)
The lone junior on this list, Bean finds a ton of opportunities on a veteran-laden Carmel Christian squad. His possesses size and efficient perimeter shooting, which gives him a place with virtually any type of team structure. He defends multiple positions at an effective rate while carrying his weight on the glass as a rebounder. Bean’s 42% three-point shooting ranks within the top twenty across North Carolina, making the ideal recipe for an extremely useful role player. Expect him to receive plenty of attention over the next calendar year as a major contributor for the Cougars.