Late this summer, Jeff McInnis was named the head coach at Combine Academy. The move sent ripples throughout the Hoop State and it was just a matter of time before McInnis was given an opportunity to coach at the high school level. You see, Jeff McInnis has one of the most impressive resumes for a basketball player. His junior and senior season, McInnis played for legendary high school coach Steve Smith and Oak Hill Academy. His senior season, Oak Hill went undefeated and won the mystical high school championship. Mcinnis was named as a McDonald All American and signed his LOI to attend the Unviversity fo North Carolina. Coming off the NCAA National Championship, McInnis came into UNC along with Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace and that trio came in as the number one recruiting class in the country. In his junior season, UNC returned to the NCAA Final Four and was able to enter the NBA draft based upon his success and talent. After playing in the NBA from 1996- 2008, McInnis formed his local travel ball team Team Charlotte.
From the ground up, McInnis formed one of the top travel ball teams in the country and in 2016, the coach Team Charlotte to the Under Armour championship. This feat alone put another feather in the cap for the success that McInnis has enjoyed as a player and now as a coach for a travel ball team. Known for this passion and “hate to lose” mentality, he quickly developed a local travel ball team into national existence. It was just a matter of time before the passionate McInnis was given his opportunity to coach at the high school level. Since this announcement, Combine Academy has been in the news and public spotlight. People everywhere know one thing, Jeff McInnis will build Combine Academy into a national power sooner rather than later. Therefore, it is no surprise that McInnis was able to secure the commitments of some of the top young players in the state. Now, let’s take a closer look at this prestigious roster.
6’5 2022 Jalen Hood-Schifino
To build a quality team from the ground up, you start with your point guard position and Coach McInnis hit the lottery with the commitment of 6’5 2022 Jalen Hood-Schifino. Schifino is known for his size, skillset and ability to run a team effectively and efficiently.. The great thing about Hood-Schifino is simple. He has the basketball IQ and overall feel for the game, that he can transition into being a “pass first” point guard or putting his team on his back and carrying the load. No matter the challenge, Hood-Schifino has the right ingredients. He’s mature, poise and is one of the state’s most humble and caring players on and off the court. He has played for Coach McInnis for Team Charlotte and his toughness is something that dovetails nicely with the mindset set forth by his coach. Only a sophomore, make no mistake about it, Hood-Schfin will be looked upon to the be floor general and team leader and rightfully so. Combine Academy may be young on paper, but look for Hood-Schifinio to set the tone early and often for coach McInnis. Simply put, he has been given the set of keys to the car and will help direct Combine Academy to one of the toughest and most challenging schedules in the country.
5’11 2023 Robert Dillingham
There’s no questioning coach Jeff McInnis about young point guards and trust us, he has an absolute gem in 5’11 Robert Dillingham. Simply stated, Dillingham is advanced beyond his years and will be in the conversation nationally as one of the top young point guards in the country. Dillingham is a silky smooth, fundamentally sound, high IQ player, that has a complete offensive arsenal. He’s quick on quick, crafty and has the ball on a string, not to mention he has mastered the “teardrop” floater. Dillingham can do it all offensively. He can score from all three levels, create, drive and dish or consistently knock down 3-pointers. That being said, we were more impressed with his poise, maturity and quality leadership given he is only a true freshman.
6’8 2023 Mekhi Grant
Mekhi Grant looked absolutely outstanding in the open gym this past Friday. We’re talking about a young player (Still 14 years old) who has extremely “thin” hips, muscular shoulders and extremely enormous wingman. Coach Sim Sanders defined him best when he compared Mekhi Grant to a “Chris Bosh” type game. The southpaw was clicking on all cylinders with is play on both ends of the court. Efficiently, Grant was active on the glass, was moving well without the ball and made numerous attempts to get touches in the paint and on the perimeter. Grant has good motor skills, excellent footwork in the post, active and energetic hands, and the ability to knock down perimeter shots with efficiency.
Best of the Rest
6’2 2020 Jalen Miller will bring a shooter’s mentality to the team. Miller has excellent range, touch, and consistency. He was knocking down shots the entire practice and maybe one of those surprise players for Coach McInnis.
6’2 2021 Kris Robinson is another shooter that can flat “feel it” up from the perimeter. Known for his elite-level shooting abilities, Robinson brings toughness on both sides of the ball.
6’8 2021 Jacori Owens will provide a low post presence in the paint area. He’s your typical blue-collar type of player that likes to bang and beat up on others. He’s just tough as nails approach to the game.
Coach Jeff McInnis has been a “fighter” his entire life. He loves a challenge and relishes the opportunity to play the very best competition. One thing is for certain, Jeff McInnis and Combine Academy will never back away from anyone, which is so important to the growth and development of Combine Academy and it won’t be long before they too are mentioned as the country’s elite program. You grow by putting together a national schedule. High-level players love the chance to be on the big stage and this is exactly what Coach McInnis is strategically doing. This year’s schedule is not for the faint of heart. He opens up with the likes of Oak Hill and The Burlington School at the Carmel Classic Tip-Off Classic. Things don’t get any easier with the likes of ISA Academy, Moravian Prep, Henderson Collegiate, Huntington Prep, Arizona Compass, Legacy, and Dream City Christian just to name a few, and the opportunity to play in the John Wall Holiday Classic. Combine Academy is very young and is being thrown into the “fire” early and often. That being said, that’s exactly what Jeff McInnis wants and his the best sales tool to attract more high profile players for the future. You might as well take it to the bank, what Jeff McInnis has done in a short period of time is simply amazing, but only the beginning in building Combine Academy into a national power.