On Tuesday, Phenom Hoops traveled to Charlotte, NC to watch practice at United Faith Christian Academy. Head Coach Josh Coley is excited about this year’s group. The practice was very efficient. The players were constantly active and competing. There was no down time in between drills, and the players maintained their level of effort and focus throughout. Coach Coley said something to his team that really stuck out to me, “Win your opportunity.”

Coach Coley is entering his ninth season overall as a head coach, fifth at United Faith. In the last five years, he has a helped his teams to a 101-49 record overall and a 49-3 SPAA conference record. United Faith has won four of the five 5 SPAA conference championships. Also during this five year span, Coach Coley has helped 18 players reach their dreams of playing at the collegiate level, 12 of those at the Division 1 level.

To lead things off, we look at their senior leader, LJ Johnson, a 6’3 guard who is extremely quick and can make plays for himself and others. What stuck to me the most, was his leadership ability. Part of being a good leader is being coachable, and LJ is a young player who accepts and seeks coaching. Early in the practice during skill work, he was vocal, went hard on every rep, and was constantly encouraging and getting his teammates going. This energy and positivity continued throughout practice. LJ has the ability to really get going from the perimeter. His combination of shot making ability and his quickness, make him a tough cover. He is shifty and is able to get into the paint very often. Defensively, he uses his athleticism to bother the ball.

Next, we look at a young player with a bright future. 6’3 2023 Lance Gill is a long, athletic wing who is able to get downhill and finish at the rim. He is smooth and agile on drives, using his ball handling to create, and has great body control once getting into the paint. For a young player, he showed poise by using his body to hold off defenders and not get sped up when getting to the basket. He also showcased the ability to make shots off the catch whether it was from the perimeter or in the middle of the zone. Lance is an active on ball defender using his length to deflect passes and make things difficult for perimeter players.

6’10 2021 Quinton Scheuermann gives United Faith a low post offensive threat. He runs the floor well. He uses his size to get good post position. He has a good feel in the post and can score over either shoulder. He is also a good passer out of the post, so this will open up a lot of things for his teammates given his ability to find shooters on the kick out or pass to cutters for layups.

6’4 2021 Charlie Hester had an impressive night showcasing his perimeter shooting ability. He has the ability to space the court and knock down perimeter shots off the catch, and also showed the ability to make shots on the move coming off screens. Charlie is not only a shooter. His athleticism and jumping ability should be noted. He has the ability to finish above the rim.

6’2 2022 Xavier McKelvy is an explosive guard who is best getting downhill to the basket. He is a strong, physical driver who is tough to contain in transition. He is able to finish through contact at the end of drives.

5’10 2022 Marcus Willis is a quick point guard who is able to get into the paint. He pushes the pace in transition. When he gets into the paint, he finds shooters spotting up. Defensively, he uses his quickness to be a pest against opposing guards.

6’5 2024 Bryson Cokley is another young prospect with a lot of potential. He doesn’t look like a freshman given his size and athleticism. He has a nice handle and can use his strength to attack the rim. It will interesting to follow his development over the next few years. He is one for coaches to keep an eye on for years to come.

6’8 2021 Adriel De La Rosa is another post player who will add size and length to this United Faith team. He is active and protects the rim. He has good hands, runs the floor well, and is an efficient finisher around the basket.

6’1 2021 Xzavier Ivey is another guard who will bring perimeter shooting. He showed the ability to make shots, having a stretch where he knocked down several perimeter shots in a row. He is like a Swiss Army knife for this team doing a little bit of everything on the floor.

5’10 2021 Jaden Quick is another point guard who is fast in transition. He hounds the ball defensively in the full court. He has a steady hand and the ability to shoot it enough to keep defenders honest.