On Tuesday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to the heart of Greensboro for an exciting open gym session at Grimsley High School. Being the oldest and longest-standing school in the city, everyone should already know about the historic program and the nonstop success they’ve enjoyed over the last century (and beyond). Regardless, Coach Darren Corbett is entering his third season since returning to the program, and looks likely to continue turning the Whirlies into a yearly contender. It probably doesn’t get acknowledged enough by the masses, but Corbett took over a team who lost over half their games for three consecutive seasons and immediately transitioned them into winners. This shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is a major development for the basketball landscape—especially in Greensboro. With arguably their most intriguing roster of Corbett’s current tenure, let’s take a closer look at their pieces…
6’1 ’22 Tyler Albright
Although this roster is quite balanced, Tyler Albright stands out as the clear leader of the Whirlies—and it’s evident in every possible way. For starters, he is the loudest, most vocal player at all times. Regardless of time, score, or possession, Albright will be heard. It might not seem like anything crazy, but his natural leadership style is going to be a massive part of this team’s success. He corrects and encourages teammates at an equal rate, and genuinely understands how to get the most out of his cohorts. Albright is a capable perimeter shooter, but prefers to utilize his toughness and physicality to attack the basket and finish through contact. He’s also able to create for others (in addition to himself) as needed while making his presence felt as a defender and rebounder. Although he’s slated to play baseball at Duke, the returning All-Conference selection is the type of competitor who will undoubtedly make a difference on the hardwood.
6’1 ’22 Jayden Watlington
Like his teammate above, Jayden Watlington is another returning All-Conference selection who should maintain his status as a vital piece for the Whirlies. He’s a tough, wiry, scoring guard with the ability to apply offensive pressure in a wide variety of ways. Watlington is able to create for himself or others and regularly hits shots with a high degree of difficulty—both from midrange and beyond the arc. He’s also a capable penetrator with the necessary instincts to finish or make smart passes to open teammates. Watlington is another strong leader for this group who sets the tone with his intensity, defensive activity, and seemingly nonstop scoring prowess. He will warrant attention from college coaches throughout the upcoming season.
5’9 ’22 Jordan Wall
After being a contributor for the last two seasons, Jordan Wall should only continue to be a useful piece from the point guard position. His success as a player is almost completely predicated on his acceptance of being a true floor general. When Wall doesn’t care about scoring and consistently attacks with the intent of getting others involved, he’s a completely different player. Though slightly undersized, he’s a quick, scrappy defender with the ability to force turnovers and push transition play at a terrific rate. Wall finishes well around the basket and has shown flashes of improved perimeter shooting, but still truly thrives as a playmaker. Expect him to maximize his role during the upcoming season.
6’5 ’25 Zacch Wiggins
There is a ton of talent within this Whirlie roster, but it’s clear that Zacch Wiggins has an odds-on chance to be the next big star of this storied program. Upon watching the scrimmage sessions, he’s clearly as talented as anyone in the gym. The game is truly effortless for the young Wiggins, and it’s uncertain if he even realizes his overall realm of capabilities as a basketball player. This can be common amongst extremely talented young prospects, but there is absolutely nothing preventing him from being a dominant force as soon as this season. Wiggins can get any shot he wants, both with or without the ball in his hands, and applies efficient scoring pressure from all levels. He appears more comfortable attacking with the ball in his hands, but regularly finds scoring chances when spotting-up. Wiggins possesses a calm demeanor, unselfish mentality, and terrific feel for the game on either side of the ball. He’s also a quality all-around athlete with the combination of IQ, size, and skill to overwhelm all types of opponents. It’s becoming easier and easier to envision Wiggins becoming an obvious Division I prospect over the coming years for the Whirlies, especially given his current trajectory.
6’7 ’23 Marschall Uber
Despite being a new addition to the roster, Marschall Uber has the tools to be an impactful piece for this squad. His scrimmage sessions were somewhat up and down; however, he looked much better and more comfortable during the individual workouts. Uber has a nice combination of size, useful athleticism, and ability as a floor-spacer. Although already displaying various flashes, he should only continue to get better under the coaching of this terrific staff.
6’4 ’23 Nick Elliott
Similar to his teammate above, Nick Elliott has the tools to be a notable contributor for the Whirlies. He’s arguably the best shooting threat on the team, accompanied with size, range, and the ability to hit difficult jumpers on a regular basis. Elliott is great when getting his feet set and displays a willingness to attack closeouts as needed, though he clearly prefers to apply pressure from beyond the arc. He should provide a useful scoring/spot-up option throughout the season.
6’3 ’22 Khalil Riley
While his game isn’t necessarily as flashy as some others, Khalil Riley’s understanding and willingness of how to properly embrace his identity should allow him to carve out a nice role. He’s tough, athletic, and consistently plays hard on both ends of the floor. Riley makes hustle plays and naturally seems to fill in the gaps as needed.
6’0 ’23 Peter Martinek
Although there are plenty of guards within this program, Peter Martinek will be another capable backcourt piece with the ability to provide a steady presence off the bench. His value resides in being a safe, team-oriented guard who keeps the ball moving, defends his position, and hits shots within the flow of the action. Martinek does a great job of embracing his role, and should earn meaningful minutes as a direct result.
6’3 ’24 Alex Taylor, 6’2 ’24 Jaylon Bumpass, 6’3 ’24 Terrell Anderson
The list of open gym attendees was already pretty impressive, but the addition of these three football players will vault the Whirlies to another level. Last season, Taylor received the most opportunities of this group, but it seems like the entire trio will be expected to make an impact. Although they already hold scholarship offers for football, this grouping will be definite difference-makers on the basketball court.