Obviously, there’s been a lot of discussion surrounding the “best travel ball team/program in North Carolina” since the summer season began. Due to so many differing opinions, it’s become a legitimate talking point for all folks within grassroots basketball—and there’s still no clear answer. Team Curry has made a strong push for the top spot thus far, but other high-profile squads like Garner Road, Team Charlotte, Team Eat (Team Loaded) are still staying relevant. Team CP3 technically hasn’t played as a program, but majority of their players have already suited up over the last month. However, operating under one unit and regime could be enough to make a difference. One month ago, we traveled out to Winston-Salem for Team CP3’s open gym (which featured 15U, 16U, and 17U) and previewed numerous standout performers from each team. Considering their 16U and 17U are the ones attending, we will take a closer look at what to potentially expect this weekend…
In looking at the younger group, it would be nearly impossible to find a better shooting duo than Donovan Atwell and Michael Zanoni. Both are incredible individual threats, but combining their forces makes things absolutely devastating for the opposition. As a pair, Atwell and Zanoni could truly go toe-to-toe with any other high-level twosome in the region and, more than likely, the entire country. Though DeAnte Green did not practice that day, he’s probably gained more attention than anyone else on the 16U roster during this summer season. He’s skyrocketed up the national rankings while continually producing and shining against quality competition. Meanwhile, Jaydon Young quietly collected his first three offers (Winthrop, Virginia Tech, and Texas A&M) over the last month. He’s maintained his reputation as a dynamic all-around guard and appears to be on the cusp of taking the next step within his recruitment. Young, Khalil Marshall, and Kheni Briggs will operate as the primary creators for this group. Marshall is a quick-twitch guard with sharp instincts, penetration skills, and excellent understanding as an on-ball defender. Though Briggs has played with multiple teams this summer, he’s shown the ability to consistently produce and effectively mesh with various types of teammates. Anthony Sellars is also expected to run with this squad, which will add another athletic, versatile wing prospect to the mix. Additionally, Bryce Scott adds great energy, toughness, and defensive prowess while Christian Reeves has continued to showcase a ton of upside during our last two events.
There’s a lot of appeal with their 16U roster, but expect college coaches to be equally, if not more, enticed with the 17U group. We stated a month ago that Jalen Hood-Schifino was the best player in the gym, and his showing last weekend only further solidified the sentiment. It should be fairly obvious that a 6-foot-6 point guard with an elite combination of IQ, vision, toughness, and defensive prowess will be recruited at the highest possible level. That being said, Hood-Schifino has shown major strides as a perimeter shooter and is now basically unstoppable on either end of the floor. There is absolutely zero chance of finding 32 players (ranked #33 by Rivals), much less 44 (ranked #45 by 247sports), in the Class of 2022 who are better than him. Despite playing up an age group, both he and Jaden Bradley should have no issue against the highest level of competition. Bradley has still maintained his unique, impressive IQ and ability to manage a game with poise and savviness. His playmaking instincts and overall understanding of how to make everyone else better simply cannot be overstated. Their (now) lone out-of-state guy, Deebo Coleman, is arguably the most coveted senior prospect. He’s a long, athletic wing prospect with all the tools to be pursued by all types of high-major programs. Bobby Pettiford and Eric van der Heijden have both already committed to Louisville, but will still be major factors for this group. Pettiford had a notable reputation coming into the summer, but folks have really begun to fall in love with the bouncy, speedy floor general over the last month. Van der Heijden hasn’t played with other teams like most, so it’ll be interesting to see how his smooth, dynamic offensive skillset is able to shine. His counterpart and ideal complement, Dontrez Styles, is easily one of the more intriguing prospects on the roster. He’s a quality defender with size, length, and athleticism, but also provides a reliable offensive arsenal. Styles is a useful all-around player and will be able to make a steady impact with any collection of teammates. HowVante Hutcherson adds a solid, steady presence in the paint. Terquavion Smith should continue to make his case as NC State’s next 3-and-D prospect, and will coexist alongside the necessary playmakers to showcase his abilities. Lastly, Breon Pass’ summer has been as interesting as any. Despite numerous people already proclaiming him high-major target and inserting his name within the top point guard within North Carolina’s Class of 2021 conversation, folks finally seem ready to appreciate his ability and overall body of work. Though he’s arguably the most complete guard of the top-tier grouping, Pass has been widely underrated for quite a while and is finally starting to get the respect he deserves.
(Neither David Dixon nor MJ Rice will play, due to recovering from injury. Green will play both 16U and 17U.)
- 16U Schedule:
- 8/15- Team Charlotte @ 10:20
- 8/15- Team Curry @ 1:50
- 8/16- Garner Road @ 10:20
- 17U Schedule:
- 8/15- BMaze Elite UAA @ 3:00
- 8/15- Team Charlotte @ 8:50
- 8/16- Team Eat @ 11:30