A lot of the buzz around North Carolina surrounds the 2022 class, rightfully so there are three players ranked among the nation’s Top 25 in the country. Jaden Bradley (Cannon) is widely considered the top point guard in the country, for that class. MJ Rice (Durham Academy) is a consensus Top 15 prospect and Jalen Hood Schifino (Combine Academy) rounds out the group among the Top 25 in the country. Add in the likes of 7’ Patrick Wessler (Butler), 6’7” Daniel Sanford (Vance), 6’9” Deante Green (Christ School), 6’3” Kheni Briggs (AL Brown), 6’8” Asa White (Garner), Po’Boigh King (Word of God) and others, and you can see why this class is so highly regarded.
2022 has the top-end talent, the type that may end up rivaling what Harry Giles, Dennis Smith, and Bam Adebayo provided North Carolina in 2016 when they were all top 10 prospects. However, that class also had depth, with the likes of Grant Williams, Deshawn Corprew, Jalen Harris, Jay Huff, and others. This 2022 class has that big three, but the depth of the class is unbelievable as there could be a number more players who sneak into the Top 100 rankings over the next three years.
However, projecting forward, we look at the 2023 class in North Carolina, and that group is making a huge stand already. It starts with the loaded group of point guards on deck. 6’1” Robert Dillngham (Combine Academy) has caught a majority of the headlines early in this season, but you look at the likes of 6’2” London Johnson (Olympic), 6’ Jaylen Curry (Vance), 5’11” Trent Green (Vance), 6’ Aden Holloway (Covenant Day), 6’1” Tremayne Parker (EE Smith), 6’ Tomir Moore (Parrott Academy) who are all starting for their varsity teams this season. If you asked 20 people around the state who their favorite is, each of these players would be certain to get at least one vote.
However, looking deeper into it this class isn’t only point guard-heavy, look at the wings with 6’4” Isaiah Washington (Pine Forest), 6’5” Wesley Tubbs (Northside Christian), 6’4” Marcus Brown (Northside Christian), 6’3” Athan Gill (West Rowan) and Jaydon Young (Greensboro Day) are really doing their thing this season on varsity, making headlines early. Look at Washington who is putting up 16 per game at Pine Forest, and he is one of the lesser-known guys on the list. Jaydon Young may be the best long-term prospect on a loaded, nationally ranked Greensboro Day team. Athan Gill had a dunk that went viral this summer, as the clip was picked up by all the national outlets including SLAM and Bleacher Report.
Then on the post, you don’t have that dominant big, the closest thing right now being 6’7” Derrick Green (Seventy-First) but you do have a plethora of forwards who are worth noting on the regional level with Dice Royster (Wesleyan Christian), 6’8” Mekhi Grant (Combine Academy) and Addison Archer (Chase). Archer is a rim running big who has excellent shot-blocking timing and runs like a wing. Grant has been compared early on to Chris Bosh and Dice Royster is strong, but also skilled and poised.
Certainly, it is incredibly early, however, these two classes will be fun to track over the next 3 and 4 years. One thing is for certain, North Carolina is in good hands with the national level prospects across the state.