After a lot of stressors throughout the last twelve to fourteen months, the grassroots basketball landscape has finally returned to normalcy. The shoe-circuits and high school LIVE periods were restored for the betterment of these young prospects who are simply fighting for an equal opportunity to advance to the collegiate ranks. Although this presents Division I programs with the chance to start attending events, most non-D1s have already been allowed to travel over the last year or so. So, with the NCHSAA and NCISAA LIVE periods quickly approaching, we figured it would be beneficial to take a closer look at the expected talent on display. This article will look at the Wildcats of Lake Norman…
6/18: Lake Norman v. North Forsyth
6/18: Lake Norman v. Chapel Hill
6/19: Lake Norman v. Southern Durham
6/19: Lake Norman v. Pine Lake
6/20: Lake Norman v. Heritage
6/20: Lake Norman v. Hillside
6’4 ’22 Davis Wagner
6’1 ’23 Alex Gruber
6’0 ’24 Bobby Hardison
6’4 ’23 Cole Callaway
6’4 ’23 Henderson Williams
6’4 ’25 Tre McKinnon
5’10 ’21 Clay Hodges
6’4 ’21 Christian Taylor
6’5 ’21 Seth Aeschliman
In his two seasons as head coach, Grant Hodges has seen varying amounts of success with the Wildcats. This can be largely attributed to playing in a legitimately brutal conference and not having a particularly strong (generally speaking) pipeline of prospects within the greater Mooresville area. Although they’re slated to lose major pieces in Hodges, Taylor, and Aeschliman, their current roster might be the most talented group to come through under Coach Hodges.
Each of their returning pieces should have productive, clearly defined roles with this new-look squad. Although already quite vital, folks should expect to see Wagner elevate from an effective glue-guy to a clear leader. His summer season with Carolina Riptide has only further solidified his abilities as a tough inside-out forward with rebounding ability and a high motor. Meanwhile, Gruber is another established piece who should maintain his status as the Wildcats’ primary playmaker and ball-handler. He’s a capable scorer from all levels but typically looks to manage the team and pick his spots as needed. Additionally, the young Hardison has been nothing short of dominant with his Riptide group, and should be able to carry similar production into the high school season. He displays nice instincts, both as a scorer and playmaker, and already shoots the ball at an extremely high percentage.
In terms of additions, folks should be able to easily recognize the value that Callaway should bring to this squad. He’s already noted as a lethal shooting threat and, although true, Callaway has shown developments within his overall identity. Over the last recent months, he’s been setting up others, attacking closeouts as needed, and simply maximizing his role on both ends of the floor. In rounding out their roster, Williams and McKinnon bring a ton of intrigue. We’ve seen Williams continually progress at our camps and travel events, and his combination of size and shooting should fit nicely with this group. That being said, McKinnon could easily be their most enticing long-term prospect. The long, wiry, young forward prospect already stands out as one of the best athletes on the team. His interior presence as a finisher, rebounder, and shot-altering presence will make him incredibly valuable to Lake Norman.