Hoops and Dreams “Thoughts, Takeaways and Stock Boosters” Part 2

The 3rd Annual Hoops and Dreams sponsored by Lucas Moore Reality and Phenom Hoops featured 20 teams that provided another exciting weekend of basketball and storylines. Held at the campus of Methodist University, the two-day post-Thanksgiving event was a huge success and gave us a snapshot of things to come in the “Hoop State.” Before we take a look at Part 2, be sure to check the link for Part 1. https://phenomhoopreport.com/hoops-and-dreams-thoughts-takeaways-and-stock-boosters-part-1/

Coach Mike Wright (Liberty Heights) “It’s about getting kids into school”

Liberty Heights is currently 4-1 with their lone loss coming to NCISAA 3A power Concord First Assembly. That being said, head coach Mike Wright has a roster full of scholarship level prospects. Leading the way is 6’6 senior Kahari Rogers, 6’8 senior Dejuante Williams, 6’0 senior Antonee Abraham, 6’5 senior Kam Edwards and 6’7 senior Dominique Davidson. Located in Charlotte and being a non-association state team, Liberty Heights plays a schedule predicated on playing similar teams or playing in events provided by the Phenom Hoops platform. Since he formed Liberty Heights several years ago, coach Wright has a proven track record. His players qualify and get scholarship opportunities, whether it is at the D1, D2 and any Juco level. When speaking with coach Wright, it’s never about wins or loses, but one common theme emerges in every conversation we have engaged in, “It’s about getting kids into school.” Pre-game and post-game speeches to his team is centered around growing as young men, growing as basketball players, and more importantly putting them in situations to be seen and get opportunities to play at the next level. Kudos to coach Mike Wright and your passion to help so many young players! 

Is there a tougher conference than the NCISAA Sandhills? 

The NCISAA Sandhills Conference has to be one of the most unique basketball conferences in the state of North Carolina. (Freedom Christian Academy, Fayetteville Christian, Cape Fear Christian Academy, Northwood Temple, Trinity Christian, and Village Christian) Teams are in the NCISAA 1A, 2A and 3A and each year 1A schools like Northwood Temple and Trinity Christian have played for state championship. Likewise, for 2A Fayetteville Christian and 3A Village Christian. Each school is a perspective power in their own NCISAA class affiliation. In addition, they play a tough non-conference schedule along playing each other on a home and away basis each and every season. This season, Brandon Clifford has assumed the role and responsibilities and they enjoy an 8-1 record while Heath Vandevender always has Trinity Christian in the title hunt as well as Kurtis Darden of Village Christian.

Jaemyn Brakefield (Huntington Prep) As humble as they get! 

6’8 senior Jaeym Brakefield is regarded as a Five Star prospect and has committed and signed with Duke University. Already sporting an NBA frame, athleticism and matching skill set, Brakefield is one of the elite level prospects in the country. In the game Friday night against Word of God, Brakefield finished with a double double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. He went 8-11 from the floor and 3-5 from the 3-point line showcasing both his versatility, touch and range. In addition, Brakefield dished out four assists and had one steal to secure game MVP honors. After the game, we present the MVP trophy and a “Play like a Champion” hoodie to the winning team. Upon receiving the trophy and hoodie, Brakefield asked, “Do I get to keep all of this.” Naturally, our answer was yes and his response was like, “oh wow, thank you so much.” I’m sure this wasn’t the first time Brakefield has received these honors, but his humbleness, manners and gratitude made a huge impression on me. Kidding around, I mentioned if he liked the hoodie and would he be wearing it. Again, he was like a young kid on Christmas morning cheerfully stating, “Yes sir, I’ll be wearing it a lot and really appreciate it.” In speaking with him more in length in our media room, Brakefield just continued to “wow” us with his maturity, politeness and thankfulness. Moments like this make it all worthwhile! Yes, players like Jaemyn Brakefield are high school basketball celebrities and he will be even a bigger one once he arrives at Duke, but somethings we forget they are also great young men. 

6’6 Senior Reggie Raynor (Northwood Temple) Playing at a high level 

It’s no secret that that Reggie Raynor has been playing at an extremely high level. We’re talking about a super athletic, bouncy, and active wing. In his game on Friday, Raynor won game MVP honors by finishing with a game high 30 points. He went 10-13 from the floor, a perfect 4-4 from the 3-point line, and 6-8 from the free throw line. What’ not to like about an uber athletic scoring wing that can punish the rims in transition, pull up and hit the midrange jumper, and torch the nets beyond the 3-point line. The 3-level scorer has a certain flair to his game and should have a lot more interest from college coaches. In addition, he collected seven rebounds and even dished out two assists. 

6’3 senior Justin Wright (Farmville Central) Don’t forget about me

Let’s go ahead and make the obvious. NC Central got an absolute player in Justin Wright. We’re talking about a strong, cagey, crafty, and high IQ point guard that can control tempo whether it is setting up the offense or creating scoring opportunities for himself. Either way, this young man can hoop with the best of them. In the exciting and entertaining game against Greenfield, Wright finished with 28 points going 10-19 from the floor, 2-6 from the 3-point, and 6-7 from the free throw line. He collected seven rebounds, dished out two assists and even had two steals. In addition, Wright has a way of making the game look easy and provides excellent senior leadership for defending NCHSAA 2A state champions. When Greenfield rallied to tie the game in the last two minutes, Wright made one big play after another and took charge as Farmville went on a big run in the final minutes to secure a 96-83 win over a very scrappy and talented Greenfield team.