The high school basketball season has already been loaded with excitement, intensity, and anticipation, and we aren’t even halfway. Various players have been emerging throughout the month of November and should be noted accordingly, which is the main purpose of this article. We’ve hosted jamborees and showcases every weekend since the start of November, featuring an abundance of talent from throughout the East Coast. This article will take a deeper look at some of the recent breakout performers that college coaches should be monitoring over the next calendar year.
6’10 Javarzia Belton (Moravian Prep)
We’ve seen this group on display numerous times during the season, but Belton continues to remain the most intriguing piece on the roster. He’s physically imposing and possesses the muscle mass of a bodybuilder, yet is only a junior in high school. Belton is a rebounder and rim-protector above all else, but has gotten gradually more comfortable on offense throughout the recent months and now is able to guarantee ten to fifteen points on a nightly basis. He’s pretty smart and never looks to force the action, always playing within himself and focusing on being a quality two-way teammate. Belton is a leader with the willingness to do all the little things that a coach could require from a big man.
6’1 Christian Hampton (Northwest Guilford)
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has entered his junior season with something to prove. His intensity and approach haven’t wavered a bit, as Hampton still regularly gets after opponents and does whatever possible to make their lives miserable. It’s so refreshing to watch a guy like Hampton perform, given the consistency and genuine pride he expresses on defense. That being said, his perimeter jumper has gone from “passable” to “effective,” which should vault Hampton into Mid-Major consideration. The addition of an efficient jumper opens up an entirely new realm of possibilities for him, especially if it remains consistent over the next year.
6’5 Reggie Raynor (New Life Christian)
There are a lot of intriguing North Carolina wing prospects in the Class of 2020, but Raynor is arguably the most underrated of the group. At 6-foot-5, he possesses an excellent blend of size, strength, and athleticism from the forward position. Offensively, Raynor has continually improved his overall polish and is capable of operating within many different roles. He can toggle between playing inside or along the perimeter whenever necessary. Raynor causes a lot of matchup problems for opponents, because he’s more athletic and perimeter-oriented than most power forwards, but also utilizes his size and motor extremely well against smaller forwards. His shooting form is slightly unorthodox, but he’s been knocking them down at a quality clip this season and will be an obvious Mid-Major candidate if his percentages can sustain.
6’10 Jaylon Gibson (Grace Christian)
No player on this list has a higher ceiling than Gibson, who is truly just beginning to harness his long-term potential. Already holding an offer from Providence and South Florida, it’s somewhat perplexing that other schools haven’t gotten involved, as he’s going to be special upon adding strength. It’s very likely that Gibson could see a meteoric rise to stardom within the next year, almost similar to the blow-up that Kadin Shedrick recently experienced. He’s thin and wiry, but already understands how to impact the game on both sides of the ball. Gibson utilizes his length extremely well to score, rebound, and block shots, but also displays intrigue with his ability to handle the ball in transition and shoot from the perimeter. It’s difficult to envision a scenario where Gibson doesn’t become one of the hottest prospects in North Carolina over the next twelve months, so it’ll be exciting to see if he can meet such lofty expectations.
6’7 Evan Joyner (Piedmont Classical)
Each of the listed players are absolutely brimming with long-term upside, but Joyner is easily the most unique prospect of the group. His combination of size and perimeter skills makes him unlike any other player in North Carolina. Joyner operates in a variety of different roles for Piedmont Classical and has the positional flexibility to do anything or check anyone on the basketball court. He handles the ball well, especially in transition, and can overwhelm opponents with his offensive versatility. Despite his wiry build and lack of strength, Joyner is one of the most effective rebounders around and simply does an excellent job of positioning himself for success. He’s shown the ability to reliably score on all three levels, but doesn’t need to hunt for his shot and often scores within the flow of the offense. There are an abundance of programs that should start making calls about Joyner, as he’ll become increasingly coveted over the next year or so.