We spoke about players that could be in for a huge year during our Week 1 travels in our Open Gym Tour but it also brought us new names that will be making their mark here in North Carolina. Here, we have five players that should catch the attention of college coaches even more as well as implant their name here in North Carolina with some of the best. A few already hold offers but all should see an uptick in their recruitment this season.
2022 Jayden Brewer (Combine Academy PG)
Brewer is one we introduced to North Carolina fans back in June and watching him live in open gym in Week 1 of our Open Gym Tour, he improved his status with us even more with his play. Brewer is a 6’5, long and athletic prospect that does an excellent job in creating for himself and for others. His vision is highly underrated, he can play on and off the ball, has terrific body control and ability to finish, and is a versatile prospect. He quickly earned an offer in Week 1 but it shouldn’t be the last; he should become a priority for many programs.
2023 Matai Baptiste (Combine Academy)
Baptiste may not be as new of a name for many as the other guys on the list but he is one that deserves more attention. Coming from Canada, he now will be playing with Combine Academy National this season, and should just be the start for him. Baptiste has a strong frame and can operate from multiple levels on the floor. He is a fluid athlete, can knock down shots from the perimeter, or attack off the dribble and use his strength to his advantage. There is still room to grow but this is a young man that should earn the attention of college coaches even more here in NC.
2023 Noah Van Bibber (Concord Academy)
Phenom Hoops had a chance to watch Bibber this summer during the LIVE Period and once again in open gym. In both instances, Bibber impressed. He is a 6’4 prospect that checks off boxes with how he understands the game and his IQ; he just has a natural feel to his game. Coming from Florida, he is one that didn’t receive much attention but that could quickly change. When you watch him operate on the court, he can be deadly with his pull-up game (one-dribble jumper), finish around and at the rim with good athleticism, and plays with an unselfish feel on the court. Underrated but maybe not for long.
2022 Ryan Prather Jr. (Liberty Heights)
Liberty Heights has a few new names that you may have already heard of but Prather is one that I still feel isn’t getting the attention that he deserves or will be by the end of the season. Prather has a sturdy 6’5 frame and really makes a strong impact on both ends. He has a smooth, confident perimeter game but also showed shiftiness in getting around defenders with also a little bounce. But you also have to like how he works hard on both ends, playing as a strong defender and helps on the boards. Already holding multiple offers, Prather should be a name to remember this upcoming season and will play a key role for this year’s Liberty Heights team.
2022 Raphael Gay (WS Christian)
By far the most athletic prospect on this list and maybe the most athletic prospect we saw all of Week 1. Coming from France, Gay has terrific size as a wing and is incredibly explosive; whether it was with power or with flare, Gay was a high-flyer in transition and there wasn’t anyone going to stop him. He brings the excitement for sure and will have the crowd on their feet on multiple occasions this season. And though his recruitment hasn’t taken off yet, have a feeling that is going to change quickly.