The high school season is right around the corner, which means it's time to take a deeper look at various programs throughout the state. Our fall league hosted many of North Carolina's top teams (both in the public and private school ranks) and watched closely to see who separated themselves from the pack. Obviously, the complete list would include numerous others, but it's difficult to ignore Chambers and the impressive preseason campaign they've enjoyed over the recent weeks. They went 4-2 during the fall league sessions and then knocked out a pair of strong opponents in bracket play to secure a spot in the championship'all while missing a key piece. Despite suffering a loss in the title game, all signs point to this squad being legitimate contenders this season.
Typically, losing a senior grouping of Nick Dorn, Marcus Brown, Jahmir Brown, and Jacoby Jackson would disastrous for most programs, but not in this case. Headlined by Maurio Hanson, Jordan Patton, Tarris Bouie, and Markus Kerr, Chambers has a perfect combination of productive veterans and blossoming young pieces. Additionally, guys like Kamari Cooke, Jaydon Terrell, Cameron Thompson, and various others have shown the ability to produce within their respective roles. Let's take a closer look at the roster'
Although the Cougars played very well without Hanson this past weekend, it's worth remembering everything he brings to this team. Last season, the big man ranked within the top-two on this roster for points, rebounds, assists, and blocks (while also being fifth in steals). Add in eight months of continued development over this past summer, and folks should anticipate a notable senior season for Hanson. He's a polished post scorer with IQ, vision, footwork, and touch over either shoulder. Hanson plays above the rim, rebounds his area, and is capable of spacing the floor effectively from midrange or knocking down the occasional jumper from beyond the arc. His production and leadership by example will be a massive x-factor in determining the success of this group.
Meanwhile, Patton will also maintain his status as a returning leader. Similar to his teammate above, the two-way wing/forward ranked within the top-three on this roster for points, rebounds, and blocks (while also being fourth in steals and assists). At 6-foot-4 with skill, athleticism, and versatility, Patton naturally causes matchup problems for opponents. He's too strong/physical to be contained by the majority of perimeter players, yet too fluid and skilled to be contained by most interior players. It's quite perplexing why he hasn't already collected a ton of offers, as his production in all settings speaks for itself. Include his scoring prowess, creation instincts, and ability to play bigger than his listed height, and he's becoming one of the most under-recruited players in the state.
Within the recent weeks, our Patrick O'Brien put out an article posing the question, 'does Chambers have the best sophomore duo in North Carolina'' Not even a full month later, and it feels like the answer should be somewhat clear. In terms of ability, trajectory, and upside, Markus Kerr and Tarris Bouie absolutely form the most enticing pairing. They both already have so much appeal, yet arguably aren't even close to their respective ceilings. On one hand, Kerr is among the youngest players in his class, as he just turned 15 years old in August. In regards to Bouie, he has so much physical upside that it's actually unbelievable how much ability he possesses. Both guys already claim notable spots in our rankings, but folks should expect them to keep climbing over the foreseeable future.
Rounding out this roster, Cooke, Terrell, and Thompson each had meaningful moments over the past weekend. Cooke and Terrell both found opportunities through initiating the offense, defending with toughness, and scoring as needed. Each of them displayed college-level ability and an understanding of how to produce within a role. Meanwhile, Thompson is a young, high-motor wing prospect with a developing skillset. He's scrappy, unselfish, and willing to make hustle plays whenever possible. Thompson can also rebound and score within the flow of the team structure. Additionally, Malik McCotter has shown flashes of being a useful floor general and should be able to carve out a purposeful role this season.
While so many other programs are being forced to go through rebuilding periods, Chambers looks likely to remain one of the best teams in North Carolina. They graduated multiple key pieces yet will arguably be even better than before, which will be a scary sight for opponents. Already shaping up as a title-favorite, don't be surprised if Chambers hoists the championship trophy when it's all said and done.