The grassroots landscape is an intensely competitive setting for young kids to try and achieve their goals in making it to the collegiate ranks. Given the overabundance of talent within North Carolina, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing extremely talented players take the JUCO route as opposed to other alternatives. Whether for grades, lack of exposure, or something completely different, each of these players has their own respective mission. Just recently, El Ellis parlayed his JUCO success into becoming one of the hottest prospects in the country and ultimately committing to Louisville. Additionally, Jay Scrubb entering the NBA Draft only further proves the potential possibilities. JUCOs look to elevate kids, not keep them down. That being said, we will take a closer look at five more notable names who college coaches should be watching closely during the upcoming season…

6’3 Talton Jones (Cape Fear CC)

For anyone who closely watched Talton Jones in high school, he already possessed the makings and ability of a Division I player. Although he’s always been a smart, physical floor general, a lot of his value comes from being an incredibly tough, rugged, shutdown defender with sharp instincts. Whether in transition or the half court, Jones is excellent at getting downhill and attacking the basket with force. He’s a strong finisher and reliable playmaker with an unselfish, blue-collar mentality. Jones is a game-changing rebounder and overall defender from the guard position. In addition to being named Player of the Year, his nightly averages of 17.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.0 BPG should honestly speak for themselves. 

6’6 Kahari Rogers (Dodge City CC)

Given the current structure of basketball and how much value resides within three-point shooting, Kahari Rogers should be coveted by all types of programs. As a long, athletic 6-foot-6 wing prospect with defensive prowess and abilities as a perimeter shooter, he can effortlessly slide into the 3-and-D role for any team. Although his opportunities were somewhat limited last season for Florida Southwestern, Rogers still managed to shoot an impressive 40.5% from beyond the arc. Regardless, we’ve seen what he is capable of during his high school career. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how Rogers gets acquainted with this new group, as Division I programs will ultimately be vying for his services within the coming months.

6’11 Kharye Cayne (USC Salk)

Like the other two names, the appeal surrounding Kharye Cayne should be more than obvious to the masses. Again, there was never any doubt about his abilities and unmistakable upside as a fluid, mobile rim-protector with elite size and length. Following his time at USC Salk, this notion has become even more evident than before. Cayne is a terrific defensive anchor and rebounder with an incredibly low-maintenance offensive identity. He possesses solid touch and can finish above the rim, but earns most of his value on the other end of the floor. Last season, Cayne averaged 7.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 4.5 BPG while shooting 60.7% from the field and 45.2% from beyond the arc (on limited attempts, but impressive nonetheless). Add in his Defensive POY for the Region, and it’ll be exciting to see what Division I programs get involved going forward. 

6’9 Josiah Shackleford (Brunswick CC)

Similar to the previous entry, Josiah Shackleford’s production as the primary interior cog for Brunswick has made him an obvious target for numerous coaches at the Division I level. He’s a long, mobile, explosive big man with the necessary instincts as a rebounder, rim-protector, and scorer within the paint to be a major contributor. Shackleford is terrific at positioning himself for finishing opportunities, but can also effectively go over his left shoulder and run the floor properly in transition. His nightly averages of 14.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 1.2 BPG with 66.7% from the floor should bring value to schools at multiple levels. Expect Shackleford to appeal to various programs in need of a useful two-way big man.

6’5 Daniel Ransom (Cape Fear CC)

Although most of the listed prospects have already established varying levels of production in the JUCO ranks, Daniel Ransom has not. However, it’s basically impossible to envision a scenario where the natural glue-guy doesn’t instinctively fall face-first into quality numbers across the board. It seems between his limited opportunities as a freshman and the eventual coaching change, there just wasn’t enough time for Ransom to showcase the entirety of his value. He’s a strong, physically overwhelming forward with toughness, versatility, and a phenomenal rebounding sense. Ransom is fairly skilled and capable of causing mismatches with opponents. He’s a respectable interior scorer with the motor and blue-collar approach to make a constant impact. Like the rest of the names mentioned, all types of scholarship-level schools will be watching him going forward.