Every year in the #HoopState there’s a crop of fresh faces making names for themselves on the court.  Although camps and AAU give these kids an opportunity to create exposure for themselves, but there’s absolutely nothing like the High School season.  Students, fans, and sometimes the entire city will fill the gym in hopes of seeing basketball in its purest form and the hoopers get a chance to extend their brand/name out to people outside of the inner hoops circle.  Over the couple of weeks I will give a group of kids from the 2021, 2020, and 2019 classes that have a chance to see their profile grow in a major way.  Let’s take a look at some of the 2021s with a chance to make some major noise this season.

6’4 2021 Yashiya Crespin: East Chapel Hill High School

Crespin recently made the move to the #HoopState from New Mexico over the summer and had the opportunity to run with Garner Road’s main 15U group, showing flashes of brilliance with them and East Chapel Hill in June at multiple team camps.  Crespin brings an ability to defend multiple positions while being a really smart offensive player, always playing within himself, making smart, efficient decision on that end of the court.  I’ll be intrigued to see how he does as the centerpiece at East Chapel Hill, hopefully he builds confidence in his game, gets more aggressive, and stakes his claim as one of the top “new kids in town” over the course of his sophomore season.  Expect Crespin to shine in a major way at East Chapel Hill this year and for him to start garnering some serious interest from Scholarship Coaches

6’1 2021 Brock Williams: Burlington Christian Academy

Williams was one of the highest volume scorers in the country last year as a freshman (29 PPG) and should continue that high level of production under first year Head Coach Ryan Bernardi and his fast paced system.  Williams is the kind of kid that can literally get wherever he wants whenever he wants and can score in bunches.  The kid can simply score the basketball and gives any team he plays for a chance to win just about any contest due to his ability to take that game over.  Williams is receiving interest from a handful of Division one programs in the region, expect his recruitment to take off in the latter half of the high school season when he showcases the improvements he’s made to his game.  Williams has drastically improved his point guard skills, he’s now a much better on ball defender and should have his assists take a leap this year with some new and improved running mates at BCA.

6’6 2021 Sam Perez: Middle Creek High School

Perez is a three sport star at Middle Creek and basketball may be his best at this point in time.  Currently, he’s one of the better pick and pop forwards in the state, shooting over 40% from 3 as a freshman on varsity last year as one of the strongest collections of 2021 talent in the state at Middle Creek.  As he gets physically stronger, that three ball will become even more of a weapon once he possesses an ability to get a bucket on the block at a more consistent rate.  He’s a high IQ player that is super vocal on the defensive end, with switch-ability on that end of the court.  Perez will likely see an increase in production and profile as this Middle Creek group should be vastly improved, hopefully he can create some buzz for himself heading into a summer where he’ll likely put more focus on basketball.  I don’t see why he can’t.

5’8 2021 Kadyn Dawkins: Eastern Guilford

Eastern Guilford will have to fill a major void with Jaylen Alston moving on to Gardner-Webb, but Dawkins should have a huge impact and help fill some of the production from the absence of Alston.  He’s incredibly savvy working with ball screens, always making smart and sound decisions often leading to an easy bucket for himself or others.  He brings a level of focus and intensity seldom seen by kids his age and that should bode well for him as he goes through his High School Experience.  At this point in time, it feels like Dawkins is a bonafide scholarship level kid if he continues to develop both physically and as a playmaker, he’s built himself a nice foundation moving forward as he looks to lead Eastern Guilford to the promised land.

6’1 2021 Cole Sinclair: Durham Academy

When people think of Durham Academy they think of Five Star Freshman MJ Rice and that’s really understandable considering the kind of player Rice is, but Sinclair will be what makes this team go at the point guard position and it wouldn’t surprise me for him to lead Durham Academy in scoring this year.  He’s silky smooth from beyond the arc, knocking down shots at a high rate while being the floor general on a team that should be much improved with Rice in the picture.  A lot of people will think of him as an afterthought simply because of who he’s playing with, but saying Durham Academy will be a one man show is a lazy, uninformed take that Sinclair will change really fast.  I’m excited to see what the duo of Sinclair and Rice do this year.

6’7 2021 Noah Allred: Northwest Guilford High School

Allred is a sweet shooting 6’7 combo forward that is a major piece on what should be one of the best public school teams in the state at Northwest Guilford.  Allred has a crazy set of tools for a kid his size and age, he is simply a walking mismatch, with good enough footwork and touch on the block to score on kids smaller than him and an ability to take bigger defenders out to the perimeter, knocking down shots, as well as attacking the rack and finishing over people.  He’s a great athlete that really fits the 2018 basketball mold with switch-ability and being able to score at all three levels.  Allred feels like a bonafide D1 kid at this point and should start to garner some serious interest over the course of the next 12 months.

6’8 2021 Eric Van Der Heijden: Ravenscroft School

Eric is the younger of the Van Der Heijden boys at Ravenscroft and like big brother Jake, Eric has a chance to be a really special player.  Eric is on track to be better than big brother considering how far along he is at this point in time.  At 6’8 he can flat out light it up from the perimeter while being a superb athlete in all aspects of the word.  He moves laterally very well, while being able to put it on your head and protect the rim using that athleticism and excellent anticipation on the defensive end.  Van Der Heijden has a very legit shot at becoming a high major level talent.  It’ll be interesting to see how his game develops and if his recruitment follows a similar path.  Frankly, I’d be shocked if we didn’t see a bump in his recruitment over the next 6-8 months.