When folks talk about the upper-echelon of basketball programs in North Carolina, we tend to hear the same list of names. Over the last few years, countless private and independent teams have been added to this mix while the number of public schools seems to shrink. However, Coach Tyler Bentley and the North Surry Greyhounds have maintained their status throughout all the constant change. It’s not uncommon for a public school to enjoy consistent success, but there’s a lot of work that goes into this process—especially for a team based out of Mt. Airy. So, what’s their secret?

Between the likes of Carter Phillips, Mason Hawks, James McCreary, Jahreece Lynch, and several others, it’s easy to see how they’ve excelled over the past decade. We all recognize the familiar names, but let’s also remember how each of these guys stayed loyal, worked hard, and emerged on their appropriate timeline. Every player listed could’ve left for other situations, but why? More young prospects need to understand the value in playing and getting reps as opposed to simply not playing on a “national program” (which is a term that should be coined loosely nowadays). Each of the listed individuals above (in addition to their supporting casts), possessed a clear understanding of the bigger picture.

After the Greyhounds graduated their two-headed monster of Lynch and McCreary, people naturally expected North Surry to take a step backward. Instead, Kam McKnight began to visibly blossom into a noteworthy player. It really all started during the summer season, where he started putting up video-game numbers while shining as a focal point for NC Spartans Henderson. During his first Live period, McKnight posted averages of 15.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.5 APG with efficient shooting numbers across the board. It was only the beginning.

The balanced floor general then proceeded to elevate his game against even stiffer competition (notably going for 31 points with seven made three-pointers against Team Charlotte) throughout the month of May. After doing this for two months with the Spartans, would McKnight be able to bring the same production to North Surry? In seamless fashion, he averaged 19.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.0 APG during the June Live period. Where others might’ve gotten fatigued or complacent, McKnight only worked harder. His first July Live period? The raw numbers and incredible efficiency only continued to increase.

That being said, McKnight still had the new impending task of leading for the entirety of a high school season. Not only has he accomplished that feat, but he’s arguably exceeded any possible expectations in place. For reference, let’s compare the numbers between his sophomore and junior seasons:

2022-23 (Soph.): 7.9 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.2 SPG with 48/42/81 shooting splits

2023-24 (Jr.): 18.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 2.4 SPG with 45/41/74 shooting splits

McKnight basically doubling his per-game averages in every major statistical category (while massively increasing volume and not really compromising on efficiency) is actually insane. The two-sport athlete is the main reason the Greyhounds are currently 13-4 (7-0 in conference) and look likely to make noise in the playoffs. Expect him to become a priority for college coaches over the coming months.