STAY POSITIVE CLASSIC EVENT RECAPS

Open Gym Tour: Laney High School

Coach BJ Donnell, “The Homecoming” For first year Head Coach BJ Donnell, there’s no greater opportunity to return to you alma mater. Coach Donnell was a star basketball player and graduated from Laney High School in 2008. After a stellar high school career, Donnell earned a scholarship and attended Fayetteville State University. For the past seven years, Coach Donnell has been an...

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Open Gym: Concord Spiders

Phenom Hoops travelled to Concord, North Carolina to check out the Concord Spiders coached by Barrett Kruegar. Last season, Concord finished with an impressive 22-6 record with losses coming to Central Cabarrus (3-times), JM Robinson (NCHSAA 2A State Champion), Northwest Cabarrus (In overtime), and in the state playoffs to traditional power Ben L. Smith. Concord has a rich tradition and hopes to...

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Open Gym Report: Piedmont Classical

On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to New Light Baptist Church to see the Bobcats of Piedmont Classical. Since their founding in 2016-17, this program has found consistent success through building around the local (mainly Greensboro-based) talent. Now, in his first full season at the helm, Coach Cardes Brown (and Justin Watlington) has all the necessary pieces to have a ton of success....

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Phenom Open Gym: Christ School

Phenom Open Gym: Christ School Phenom Hoops travelled to the footsteps of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Arden, North Carolina to cover open gym. Head Coach Josh Coley has plenty to be excited about for the upcoming season. Last year, Christ School finished with a 16-11 record, but returns the top three scorers in 6’4 Emanuel Richards (19.3 PPG; 5.2 RPG), 6’5 Bryson Cokley (9.3 PPG; 4.5...

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Phenom Open Gym: 1 of 1 Academy

Phenom Open Gym: 1 of 1 Academy Phenom Hoops travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina to cover 1 of 1 Academy. Practicing in historic Second Ward Gymnasium, it was a treat to watch the coaching of Head Coach Jermaine Jackson. Talk about attention to detail and heavy emphasis on defense and proper close outs, the players were being coached at an extremely high level. The former Detroit-Mercy and...

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Phenom Open Gym: Combine Academy, A Second Look

Phenom Open Gym: Combine Academy, A Second Look A team such as Combine Academy deserves a second look. A roster filled with high level prospects, first year Head Coach Mike Wright has plenty to be excited about. Walking into the two-hour practice a few minutes late, we could sense the energy in John Jordan Gymnasium. There’s no denying the fact, Coach Wright brings passion and the intensity...

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Phenom Open Gym: Pine Lake Prep

Phenom Hoops continues to bring elite coverage before the season, as we are out and about covering teams, getting an early look at what programs will be bringing to the court this upcoming season.  One team that we were able to view recently was Pine Lake Prep.  Here is what we saw on the floor, as things still may continue to shake up before the season. Pine Lake Prep faced a tough...

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Phenom Open Gym: Winston-Salem Christian National

Phenom Open Gym: Winston-Salem Christian National  Coach Antonio Lowe has a proven track record of developing programs. Not too long ago, he put Moravian Prep on the map and they won the inaugural Hoop State Championship. Since then, Coach Lowe has moved on to Winston-Salem Christian and is building another successful program at the national level. First of all, Winston-Salem Christian is a...

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Phenom Open Gym: Mallard Creek

Phenom Hoops continues to bring elite coverage before the season, as we are out and about covering teams, getting an early look at what programs will be bringing to the court this upcoming season.  One team that we were able to view recently was Mallard Creek.  Here is what we saw on the floor, as things still may continue to shake up before the season. When you talk about Mallard...

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Phenom Open Gym: United Faith

United Faith has been a traditional basketball program at the NCISAA 1A level. Last season, they once again won another state championship and this year’s team looks poised for a repeat. First year head coach Darion Holloway, known as “Coach D,” has plenty to be excited about. Coach D has been with the program for four years and served as the associate head coach for the past three years. Upon...

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Phenom Open Gym: Charlotte Catholic

Phenom Open Gym: Charlotte Catholic Playing in the super competitive NCHSAA Southwestern 4A conference,  last season, Charlotte Catholic finished the conference regular season with an 8-4 record and won the conference tournament championship to advance to the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.  Charlotte Catholic ended the season with a 17-11 record. Coach Mike King returns a core nucleus...

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Phenom Open Gym: Concord Academy

Head Coach Frank Cantadore is one of the most underrated coaches in the state, regardless of class or affiliation. Year after year, Coach Cantadore will play the toughest schedule, bar none! He isn’t afraid of the challenge and views the toughest teams as an opportunity for his team to improve and get better. Case and point, Concord Academy had a losing record heading into the NCISAA state...

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Phenom Open Gym: Central Cabarrus

Phenom Open Gym: Central Cabarrus Last season, Central Cabarrus finished with a 30-1 overall record losing to eventual NCHSAA 3A State Champion, West Charlotte, in the Western Regional Finals. With 93% of the scoring returning, Coach Jim Baker has plenty to be excited about and should be the pre-season favorite in the NCHSAA 3A West. Central Cabarrus plays an unorthodox style of basketball and...

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Phenom Open Gym: Carmel Christian

Phenom Open Gym: Carmel Christian Coach Joe Badgett is one of the premier high school coaches in the country! Period. Point Blank. Winning and Coach Joe Badgett go hand in hand and the defending NCISAA 4A state champion has once again put together a roster that will be a favorite to repeat as state champions. And to take it a step further, put Carmel Christian in the national conversation as one...

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Phenom Open Gym: Covenant Day

Phenom Open Gym: Covenant Day  For first year head coach, Michael Laney, is without question the right person to help rebuild Covenant Day. First of all, Coach Laney is a man of faith, deeply committed to teaching the game the right way and is excited about the challenging opportunity that lies ahead. Playing in the NCISAA 4A Charlotte Independent Conference, he is literally being thrown...

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Phenom Open Gym: JL Chambers High School

Phenom Open Gym: Chambers High School Last season, JL Chambers went 22-7 before losing 58-56 to eventual NCHSAA 4A state champion, Weddington High School. From the outside looking in, many basketball pundits may not have high expectations for Coach Brian Frasier’s team. 6’2 Jaylen Curry transferred after averaging almost a “double-double” of 16.6 PPG and 9.1 APG. 6’8 All-Conference Player of the...

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Phenom Open Gym: Hickory Christian Academy

Phenom Hoops continues to bring elite coverage before the season, as we are out and about covering teams, getting an early look at what programs will be bringing to the court this upcoming season.  One team that we were able to view recently was Hickory Christian Academy.  Here is what we saw on the floor, as things still may continue to shake up before the season. When talking about...

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Open Gym Report: The Burlington School

On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to The Burlington School in Burlington, North Carolina for our annual open gym tour. The Spartans have turned a lot of heads over the last decade between guys like Ron Johnson, Will Robertson, and Ryan Bernardi. Now, George Marshall is at the helm and folks still have plenty to be excited about. He’s already asserted his culture, leadership presence, and...

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Phenom Open Gym: Holly Springs High School

Phenom Hoops travelled to Holly Spring, North Carolina to cover Holly Springs High School. Coach L.J. Hepp has plenty to be excited about with a team that finished 23-5 last season and should be one of the early favorites in the NCHSAA 4A. To put it mildly, Holly Springs and Myers Park could be the two early favorites to compete for the coveted 4A state championship. Coach Hepp has a unique...

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Open Gym Report: Quality Education Academy

On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for our annual open gym tour. The Pharaohs have consistently been among the most talented teams in the state over the last five-plus years, but the hiring of Andre Gould made things even more intriguing for the program. His ability to accumulate talent has always been visible, as QEA (and...

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Phenom Open Gym: Panther Creek High School

Phenom Hoops travelled to Cary, North Carolina to cover Panther Creek open gym. Coach Shawan Robinson is considered one of the top coaches in the NCHAA. Last season, Panther Creek finished with a 23-8 record losing to Weddington in the NCHSAA 4A State Championship. When you think of Panther Creek, the first word that pops up is “balance.” It’s a total team effort for Panther Creek where everyone...

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Phenom Open Gym: Combine Academy

Phenom Hoops travelled to Lincolnton to cover Combine Academy’s open gym. ACC head coaches Steve Forbes of Wake Forest and Mike Young of Virginia Tech were in attendance along with assistant coaches from VCU, Western Carolina and College of Charleston.  Head Coach Mike Wright has assembled a team that will be in the conversation as one of the premier high school teams in the country. Combine has...

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Phenom Open Gym Tour: “Myers Park, A National Level Team”

Phenom Open Gym Tour: “Myers Park, A National Level Team” Phenom Hoops travelled to Charlotte to cover Myers Park open gym. Charlotte, Old Dominion, and Wofford were in attendance for the Friday afternoon workout and scrimmage. Last season, Myers Park finished 17-9 playing one of the most difficult and challenging schedules for a NCHSAA public school team, but coach Scott Taylor has plenty to be...

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Phenom Open Gym Tour: “Lake Norman, the future looks bright.”

Phenom Open Gym Tour: “Lake Norman, the future looks bright” Phenom Hoops travelled to Lake Norman High School to kick start the 2022-23 basketball season to cover open gym. To put it mildly, Coach Grant Hodges has plenty to be excited about, and the “The Lake Show” should be one of the favorites in the Greater Metro 4A Conference. Last season, Lake Norman finished 17-11 overall, 5-7 in...

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Phenom Open Gym Tour: “Don’t Sleep on Mooresville”

Phenom Open Gym Tour: “Don’t sleep on Mooresville” Phenom Hoops traveled to Mooresville to kick start the 2022-23 basketball season to cover open gym. Last season, Coach Armard Moore led Mooresville to one of the most successful years for the Blue Devils. Mooresville finished 10-2 in the Greater Metro 4A and an impressive 21-4 overall record. Coach Moore lost his top three players due to...

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Clover (SC) High School: Open Gym Report

Clover High School: Open Gym Report Phenom Hoops travelled to Clover, South Carolina to cover open gym for new head coach Darris Jackson, who is replacing Bailey Jackson. Coach Jackson stressed fundamentals to his new team, highlighting ball handling, shooting and playing off two feet. Now, let’s take a closer look at the players on the 2022-23 Clover High School roster.  6’3 2023 JJ...

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Open Gym Report: NC Spartans 17U Haidinger

On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops (Jeff Bendel, Tyler Lewis, and Colby Lewis) traveled out to Bishop McGuinness High School for the NC Spartans Media Day. The Spartans should be well-known as one of the better independent programs across the Carolinas, and their current group is no exception. Josh Thompson is the director, but Herb Liles, Kerry Graves, Curtis Patton, Ryan Haidinger, Michael Bowers, and...

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Open Gym Report: NC Spartans 16U Liles

On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops (Jeff Bendel, Tyler Lewis, and Colby Lewis) traveled out to Bishop McGuinness High School for the NC Spartans Media Day. The Spartans should be well-known as one of the better independent programs across the Carolinas, and their current group is no exception. Josh Thompson is the director, but Herb Liles, Kerry Graves, Curtis Patton, Ryan Haidinger, Michael Bowers, and...

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Open Gym Report: NC Spartans 16U Graves

On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops (Jeff Bendel, Tyler Lewis, and Colby Lewis) traveled out to Bishop McGuinness High School for the NC Spartans Media Day. The Spartans should be well-known as one of the better independent programs across the Carolinas, and their current group is no exception. Josh Thompson is the director, but Herb Liles, Kerry Graves, Curtis Patton, Ryan Haidinger, Michael Bowers, and...

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Team Preview: Strong Center Elite 2023

Another excited year of travel basketball has started. Last week, Tyler and I had the opportunity to lead a practice with Strong Center Elite 2023. One thing that stood out with this team is that they are all made up of players who are from the same area and have been playing together for years. Let’s take a closer look at this year’s roster. 5’10 2023 Micah Jones (Holly...

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