Last night, Phenom Hoops had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Hendersonville in the NCHSAA 2A semifinal against North Lincoln. After going 26-3 last year, the Bearcats have enjoyed an undefeated season and continue to push for their first state championship since 1992. That 1992 season was also their last appearance in the big game, arguably making this Hendersonville squad their most impressive group in nearly thirty years. Given their abundance of success, one has to imagine their leading scorer is probably a 6-foot-6 wing or 6-foot-10 big man—but that notion couldn’t be further from reality.
The duo of 5’11 ’22 Dwight Canady and 5’9 ’23 Keenan Wilkins have been the clear catalysts and leaders of this operation since arriving at the school. In their one season apart, the freshman Canady still averaged double-digit scoring on a 22-3 squad led by Ben Beeker.
Last year, their first season together, made for a seamless transition. The Canady-Wilkins pairing averaged 21.7 and 17.9 PPG, respectively, and accounted for roughly 55% of the Bearcats’ points…as a sophomore and freshman. Beyond the numbers, they led the way to an impressive record before ultimately getting bounced in the third round of the playoffs.
While there’s certainly a lot to be impressed about regarding their success over the past two seasons, Canady and Wilkins have only gotten better. Both guys operate as high-volume scorers and interchangeable ball-handlers with IQ, leadership qualities, and the ability to play bigger than their size on either end of the floor.
Canady does a great job of utilizing his first step to breakdown opponents and makes plays inside the arc, whether finishing, scoring from floaters/runners, or setting up others. He defends well and rebounds the ball at an excellent rate for a guard. Meanwhile, Wilkins has become somewhat of a familiar face over the last three years with his steady, consistently reliable play. Though undersized, Wilkins is an absolute gamer and a definite benefit to this Bearcats roster. He’s quick, smart, and naturally applies scoring pressure from levels. Unlike most, Wilkins actually understands how to use his lack of size to his benefit—particularly at drawing fouls and converting at the line.
Between Canady (21.5 PPG) and Wilkins (23.3 PPG) making the push for their best season in three decades, this Hendersonville squad deserves more love and attention from college coaches.