On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops also traveled to Mooresville to watch Lake Norman High School practice. Coach Grant Hodges has done an impressive job of building teams with an identity. They are fundamentally sound. They play together with one another. Although they lose several key contributors in Clay Hodges, Seth Aeschliman, Camden Kepley, and Christian Taylor, the Wildcats have added quality new pieces to go along with their returners.
We’ll first look at newcomer, 6’4 2023 Cole Callaway. Callaway has earned a reputation as one of the top shooters in the state, and rightfully so. The young man can really shoot the basketball, and when he gets hot, he can make shots with range and get them off quickly over defenders. Over the past year, Callaway has really improved his quickness and athleticism. He is now much more confident and capable of creating off the bounce. He is able to get into the paint and finish in a variety of ways. Callaway holds an offer from Kentucky Christian, and has unofficial visits lined up for Emory & Henry and Mars Hill. In addition, he is receiving interest from UNC Asheville, Furman, Wingate, Belmont Abbey, Lees-McRae, Catawba, Ferrum and Hampden-Sydney. College coaches are starting to show him serious interest and it’s easy to see why. Expect Callaway to have a breakout junior year.
Returning forward, 6’5 2021 Davis Wagner is a high IQ player who seems to always make the right play. He is skilled in the post and is also really good in catch and shoot situations on the perimeter. He will stretch the defense and force opposing players to guard him. He also is a gifted passer. He is extremely unselfish and finds shooters on post kick-outs.
6’3 2023 Alex Gruber is their returning point guard who will have an expanded role this season. Last year, he was the youngest player on the veteran led squad and gained valuable minutes and experience. Gruber is a quick athlete with nice bounce who makes plays on both sides of the ball. He is a well-rounded combo guard. He has a high IQ and can make plays for himself and others. In addition, he can get hot from behind the arc or get into the paint. With the ball in his hands a lot this season, expect to hear a lot from him.
6’4 2025 Tre McKinnon is a young prospect to really keep an eye on for years to come. He is a Division 1 level talent and has a bright future ahead of him. He has really good length and athleticism to go along with his skillset. He is capable of knocking down the perimeter shot. He has good handles for his size. He had a really nice left to right crossover and finished with the right-handed scoop layup to avoid the shot blocker. Off the bounce, he has a quick first step and is a skilled finisher around the basket. McKinnon is full of potential and as his body matures and fills out, it game will go to another level.
Lake Norman will also get meaningful help from 2022 Jack Dryden and 2023 Henderson Williams. Dryden can knock down shots from the perimeter and does a good job on the defensive end. Williams is a strong, physical player who gets downhill and finishes at the rim. Other underclassmen to really monitor are 6’1 2024 Bobby Hardison and 6’7 2025 Trent Steinour.