Tuesday night, Phenom Hoops had the opportunity to workout the team and watch open gym at GRACE Christian in Raleigh. Coach DeShannon Morris is entering his 7th season with the Eagles. He took over and rebuilt the program. During his tenure at GRACE Christian, he has had several players play at the next level including Keeyan Itejere, Jaylon Gibson, Olsbey Mercer, Messiah Pankey, Stefon McLeod, Torrey Brown, JalenWalker, Connor Oathout, and Matthew O’Connor. In his six seasons as head coach at GRACE Christian, Coach Morris has led the Eagles to four EPIC Conference Championships and is a two-time Coach of the Year. 

Let’s take a look at some of the players who stood out during both the drills and live segment. 

6’5 2022 Yashiya Crespin is a strong, versatile player who will be asked to do a lot of different things for the Eagles this season. He is able to play multiple positions given his size and athleticism. The lefty is best getting downhill and finishing at the basket. He has the ability to make plays off the bounce which will open up the court for himself and others. 

6’5 2022 Gary Williams Jr. is another returner who will be leaned on heavily for his perimeter shooting and scoring ability. He has the ability to get hot from the perimeter and make shots with deep range. With his size, he can shoot over defenders, especially in the midrange. Williams also has the capability of getting to the basket. Expect him to have a big season this year. 

6’5 2023 Omar Banks is an exciting new piece to this team. If we had to pick one player as the night’s standout, Banks would have been that guy. He showcased his ability to score in a variety of way. He knocked down five three pointers in their live segment. He also was able to create space off the bounce and get to his spots. Omar does a tremendous job defensively using his length and athleticism to get steals / deflections.

6’11 2022 Cooper Land did not play at open gym Tuesday night but you can tell from his play this summer that he will have a major role on this team. At 6’11 he will be able to control the paint with his size and length. Cooper has good defensive instincts and timing blocking shots around the rim. One of the most impressive things Tuesday night was Cooper coming up to us saying “Even though I’m not playing tonight, thanks so much for you guys coming down and putting our team through a workout.” 

5’10 2022 KJ Keatts is a quick, speedy guard who makes a living getting into the paint and creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He returns at the point guard position and will be a leader on this team. Keatts will set the tone on both ends of the floor. He will pressure opposing ball-handlers on the defensive end, and he will facilitate on the offensive end. 

6’0 2023 Myles Pettis is a newcomer to the team this season, after transferring from Millbrook. Pettis was part of the state championship team last season, so he looks to bring a winning mentality over with him. He is a tough defender who pressures the ball. He can break defenders down off the bounce and gets into the paint. 

6’3 2023 Julien King excels in transition. Athletic, downhill driver who is good at getting to the rim. Capable catch and shoot from the perimeter. 

6’2 2024 Sam Streeter is another underclassman newcomer who will make an impact this season. Streeter is extremely strong and physical. He attacks the basket and finishes through contact. Sam will be able to guard multiple positions with his size and physicality. 

5’11 2025 Malachi Tate is a freshman to keep an eye on moving forward. He is a really good athlete who finishes well in the open court. Also, has the ability to really defend on the ball.