On Tuesday, Phenom Hoops travelled to West Stokes to watch practice. Head Coach Rhett Bonner enters his first year at West Stokes, replacing Dan Spainhour who retired in March. Rhett Bonner has spent the last 10 years in the college ranks, coaching at Rice, Virginia Wesleyan, Charlotte, and Randolph-Macon.

Bonner is excited for the opportunity to continue to build upon a program with a history of winning. Bonner has an acute attention to detail. As the team went through their offensive sets and defensive drills, he stressed the importance of doing things the right way every single rep. One thing Coach Bonner said that really stuck out to me was, “Be alive. Be someone who wants to be here versus someone who is just here.” He demands excellence and will get the most out of his players.

Bonner is taking over a program that is used to winning at the 2A level. West Stokes has won the Western Piedmont 2A Conference Championship each of the last three seasons. Last season, they made it all the way the State Quarterfinals. With that being said, this will be a completely new team. West Stokes graduated 11 key contributors who accounted for 60.6 of the team’s 61 points per game.

Having lost basically all of their scoring from last years 25-5 team, the Wildcats will be extremely young. These young players will be thrown into the fire quickly and get the chance to develop and gain valuable experience early in their high school careers. Some of the young players that stuck out were 2024 Cam Edmonds, 2023 Landon Johnson, and 2024 Keyon Rawley.

Cam Edmonds 6’2 2024

Cam Edmonds is a long, active guard who has a high basketball IQ. It’s easy to tell he’s the type of kid who wants to work hard. One thing that really stuck out to me during practice was how hard he went during the drills and non-live segments. The team was working on 5-on-0 half court execution, and Edmonds made sure to go game speed. He cut hard, caught the ball, ripped it hard into triple threat as if he was being defended, and then zipped the ball to the open man. He was putting himself in a game situation. That is a valuable trait to have at a young age. As a player, he has a good first step and does a nice job elevating on his jumper. He knocked down multiple perimeter shots. In addition, he is a willing passer and looks to find the open man. He made a really nice one-handed left-hand pass off the bounce in transition for an open teammate running to the rim. Defensively, he was extremely active and used his length to deflect passes and disrupt the ball handlers. The next phase in his development will be adding strength to his frame, which will come as he gets older. I look forward to watching him develop over the next four seasons.

Landon Johnson 6’7 2023

Landon Johnson will add valuable experience to this West Stokes team after transferring in from High Point Christian. His combination of size and skill will really help this young team. He has nice touch in the paint as he connected on a floater and finished over his left shoulder. He has a nice shooting touch, which was showcased when he stepped out and knocked down a deep catch and shoot three-pointer off of the pick and pop. In addition, he had really good instinct when it came to team defensive principles. He was engaged, talking, and constantly moving to the correct help position. He will also provide an offensive rebounding threat in the post, as he’ll be able to use his size to create second chance scoring opportunities for his team.

Keyon Rawley 6’0 2024

Keyon Rawley is another young guard prospect on this West Stokes team. He excels in the open floor where he’s able to utilize his athleticism and get to the basket. He made multiple plays to the basket. One play, he drove into the paint, stopped and kicked out to the open shooter in the corner. Another time, he rejected the ball screen and attacked the basket strong, finishing through contact.