Rick Lewis
North Mecklenburg better than expected

Last season, North Mecklenburg finished 27-2 and was upset in the NCHSAA 4A Regional Sectionals. They lost three year starter point guard Vaud Worthy to graduation. Nationally ranked 6’8 Jaelyn Withers (Louisville commit) moved to Ohio and Myles Hunter transferred to Carmel Christian. The Vikings are much smaller than previous years, but after watching them manhandle a very good Farmville Central at our Phenom High School Jamboree and beat Nation Ford 80-50 at the Bojangles Bash, they may just be the surprise team in the NCHSAA 4A classification. They are more balanced and better defensively and have a nice blend of talent. 6’2 junior Tristan Maxwell will lead the way, but 6’5 sophomore Chris Ford will bring a blue-collar workmanlike approach to each and every game, not to mention the point guard play of Demar Anderson. In addition, you have the likes of De’Drick Givens, Shamann Artis, and Daqon Stewart that will add plenty of support along the way.

Jamie Shaw
Southwest Guilford Should be Ranked Nationally

With Greensboro Day dropping to Piedmont Classical and Independence dropping to Village Christian earlier this year, Carmel Christian is the only NC team who is ranked currently. That said, they should not be alone as Southwest Guilford has the talent, the style of play, the schedule and the winning tradition to be among the nation’s best. They are led by a pair of the most winning players in North Carolina, Kobe and Keyshaun Langley. When you add in the likes of 6’6″ Jayden Turner, 6’5″ Joe’l Pettiford, and 6’4″ Christian Martin who are each scholarship level players. Off the bench you have Cam Thompson and Amilia Huggins who have been there and play stifling defense.

They currently stand 5-0 with an average margin of victory at 26.6. Their closest game was a 15 point spread. They’re averaging 80 points per game while shooting 52% from the field, dishing out 18 assists per game and grabbing 25 boards per game. This is a complete team, with depth and state championship winning experience and great coaching. All the ingredients to be nationally ranked. With that said, take a look at South Central, Millbrook and Holly Springs to possibly pop up on national rakings in January if they can remain undefeated.

Jeff Bendel
IMG’s Jarace Walker will be the top-ranked prospect in 2022 

Right now, everyone is talking about Emoni Bates and how he’s clearly the can’t-miss prospect in the Class of 2022. However, Jarace Walker has a legitimate case for eventually overthrowing Bates’ number one ranking and claiming it for himself. Both players are able to dominate due to their combination of size, skill, and athleticism, but Walker already possesses an elite-level frame with strength. Bates is already doing whatever he desires on the basketball court, but there are obvious concerns about his wiry frame and whether he’ll be able to add enough strength for the next level. The way Walker can affect all areas of the game is truly special, as he has no real flaws or holes within his skillset. This is certainly not a knock on Bates, it just looks like Walker is poised to become a superstar and should learn an ample amount from his role with IMG Academy.

Miles Masercola
The Money Is In The Crumbs:

We often have the discussion internally about the satisfaction that comes from being one of the only media/scouts in the gym for a game that features a lot of talent that a lot of people don’t know about yet. This past week I went to North Stanly Vs West Stanly and the atmosphere was one of the best I’ve seen all season. Sometimes it’s nice to get off the beaten path, get out of Charlotte for a couple of hours and see some high level basketball in the middle of nowhere. The atmosphere was electric in the building for a rivalry matchup and it was arguably the most intense game I’ve been to all year with the exception of Moravian Vs Oak Hill.  I’ll have a full recap up from the game in the next day or so after my final exams, but y’all should know that it’s a great experience to go out of your way to check some teams out that don’t get the love of the big name programs in the cities. “The Money Is In The Crumbs” is an old gambling montra, advising against betting the big game, the same rule applies to High School Basketball, get outside of the city limits to see what the country boys have to offer… you won’t be disappointed.