Every year, the high school basketball landscape in North Carolina becomes more and more unpredictable. Between transfers and raw talent, any team is capable of losing on a given night. Perhaps that’s what makes Coach Wright and Combine Academy’s 14-0 start so impressive. Not only do they stand undefeated, but they’ve genuinely been thwarting opponents throughout the first part of the season. Their success has come from a blend of coaching, talent, and players buying into the team structure. Thus far, only five of their 14 matchups have managed to keep the end result within single digits (Lincoln Charter, 1 of 1 Academy, Word of God, Dynamic Prep, and Bartlett). In order to fully appreciate what this squad is doing, we must take a closer look at their individual pieces…
Despite their noteworthy junior duo, Silas Demary Jr. (USC commit) remains the clear leader of this team. Whether through his production, calm demeanor, decision-making, or ability to consistently set the tone on both ends, he simply knows how to be a focal point. Demary gets to the line at an insane rate and converts at a high percentage (81%). Currently, he ranks third in makes (71) and sixth in attempts (88) amongst qualified players in North Carolina. His per-game averages of 13.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 5.7 APG are quite impressive given the amount of talent within this roster.
Arguably their most tantalizing prospect, Trentyn Flowers, is as intriguing as anyone to enter the state over the recent years. At 6-foot-9, he possesses the necessary blend of size, skill, and athleticism to cause matchup problems for basically any type of opponent. Flowers can score the ball from anywhere on the floor and is capable of toggling between the interior and perimeter with relative ease. It’s easy to see what makes him a nationally recognized name with so many schools extending offers, as his current ability crossed with his long-term upside is legitimately insane. He’s posting nightly averages of 15.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG, and should only get better going forward.
There are explosive players, and then there are guys like Rakease Passmore. The strong, powerful 6-foot-5 wing prospect is often the most athletic guy in every gym he enters. That being said, Passmore has continually shown the ability to knock down three-pointers at a high clip while posing a lethal transition threat and impacting the game on both ends of the floor. He’s physically overwhelming and frequently utilizes his body to cause problems for opponents. Passmore is a quality spot-up threat who attacks closeouts and finishes seemingly everything he attempts at the basket (or above the rim). He’s attempted the most three-pointers on the team (65) and converted at a 38% rate. Additionally, Passmore is averaging 14.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.8 SPG with arguably the most efficient shooting splits (53/38/80) on the entire team.
It’s somewhat uncommon to see high school prospects choose the perfect fit for their college journey, but it feels that’s exactly what Collin Tanner did when he committed to Richmond. His smooth, skilled identity seems to mesh perfectly with any collection of teammates. Although he’s dealing with a slight shooting slump, we already know Tanner’s status as a knockdown shooter from beyond the arc. Honestly, this just indicates that the Goats could have another gear once he gets back into his comfort zone—which should be a scary thought for opponents. Either way, it hasn’t deterred Tanner from producing and being one of the four players who average double-digit scoring. He’s posting per-game averages of 12.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG, but don’t be surprised to see an uptick in his numbers over the coming months.
Rounding out the committed guys, Kendall Campbell (Elon) has shown a variety of positive flashes throughout his return to the hardwood. He’s a big, strong-bodied post prospect who plays hard, battles for rebounds, and runs the floor in transition. Campbell is a capable finisher with the ability to absorb contact around the basket. He understands how to wall-up and effectively alter shots inside the paint. Although he’s made a solid impact, Campbell is another guy who could see his numbers improve throughout the course of the season.
The Goats have a lot of meaningful pieces that have embraced a specific role for the betterment of the team, but this notion is more applicable to Asa White than anyone else. While his numbers might not pop off the page, it’s easy to see the value he brings to the table. White is a long, tough, high-motor forward prospect who clearly prioritizes rebounding, making hustle plays, and doing whatever possible to provide his team with an edge. He runs the floor hard in transition and finishes well around the basket, but doesn’t necessarily require the ball to make an impact. Given how much White has done to establish himself as a steady, low-maintenance piece, it’s shocking that he doesn’t have more action within his recruitment. He should appeal to scholarship-level programs.
Though the previous guards typically receive most of the attention, Keshawn Brown offers a lot of ability off the bench. The junior is tough, crafty, and able to effectively create for himself and others with the ball in his hands. He defends the point of attack really well, makes smart decisions in the half-court, and looks to push transition play whenever available. Brown is able to play alongside another primary ball-handler if needed. He shoots the ball at a high percentage from beyond the arc (43%) and is capable of operating as a spot-up threat.
In terms of pure intrigue, it’s easy to see the appeal of someone like Mason Hagedorn. At 6-foot-9 with the ability to block shots and space the floor, he possesses the clear makings of a modern post prospect. Hagedorn finishes, rebounds, and understands how to fill in the gaps offensively. He positions himself for success and doesn’t play outside of the team concept on either end of the floor. Given all the flashes we’ve seen, Hagedorn is someone that college coaches should be monitoring closely.
Guys like Ethan Nsiona, Erich Harding, David Anderson, and Elhadji Diallo round out this roster. Nsiona was previously a major piece for the regional squad, but has earned opportunities with the national group. He’s a useful shot-maker and active on-ball defender. Meanwhile, Harding is someone who still possesses a lot of upside as a long, wiry 6-foot-10 post prospect. Bigs always take longer to develop, and Harding could easily burst onto the scene over the next six to twelve months. Anderson is a scrappy guard with a solid motor and ability to adapt to team needs. Finally, Diallo is the lone freshman on the roster. He’s long, active, and truly just beginning to scratch the surface. Diallo might have as much upside as anyone on the team.