On Tuesday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to Northern Guilford High School, as the Nighthawks prepared to host the Rockets of Person High School. Northern came into this game with a perfect record but knew that a battle was ready to ensue with one of the best opponents on their schedule. On the other side, Person is mainly a collection of tough, scrappy players who seem capable of consistently playing to the level of their opponent. Even with limited attendance, the atmosphere was exciting and the basketball made for an entertaining evening of competition…
In our two viewings of Northern Guilford, we’ve observed their ability to perform like the best team in the entire state for extended stretches. Led by Nolan Hodge, that stretch came over the first eight minutes and really set the tone for a potential blowout. However, after putting forth an incredible 26-point quarter and establishing a 26-14 lead, the Nighthawks relinquished their grip on a double-digit advantage. Person began to click in the second period, chipped away at the lead, and only trailed 40-32 entering halftime. Following the break, neither team had an outstanding third quarter, but Person continued to stay within fighting distance—only trailing 51-45 entering the final period of play. The Nighthawks were definitely on their heels and Person remained in attack-mode. The Rockets came back and traded the lead for a few minutes, but ultimately fell 68-58 to Northern Guilford.
6’6 ’22 Nolan Hodge
It should come as no surprise, but Hodge offered yet another impressive showing as the clear leader of this group. He came out of the gate with confidence, hitting four consecutive attempts from three-point range and tallying 14 of the Nighthawks’ first 16 points. Hodge is a special type of prospect with incredible skill, feel, and physical gifts. His abilities as a leader have shined much brighter with Northern than in any other setting. That being said, there are times when Hodge has to learn how to legitimately take over and impose his will unto opposing teams. He can settle for jumpers on occasion and doesn’t always realize that he is an absolutely unstoppable force when determined. More often than not, Hodge is truly the best player in the gym. He’s shown emphasis as a defensive dynamo, forcing turnovers with relative ease and consistently converting in transition. He’s steadily developed into elite prospect who should start warranting attention from high-major programs. All types of Division I schools should be prioritizing the smooth guard prospect. Final stats: 27 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 4 steals.
6’4 ’21 Adonijah Whitley
There are so many guys who don’t receive the appropriate amount of credit for their on-court abilities. Perhaps it’s related to size dimensions or location, but it seems like Whitley’s calm demeanor is what allows him to constantly soar under the radar despite having the ability and production of a next-level player. He’s a smart, steady, well-rounded approach leads to natural all-around production, as Whitley simply knows how to make plays. He’s a versatile defender with instincts as a rebounder and when forcing turnovers. Whitley scores in various ways and makes smart decisions with the ball in his hands. He will be an asset wherever he ends up. Final stats: 13 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals.
6’0 ’21 Owen Griffith
While Griffith might not get much attention in the bigger scheme of things, his contributions are undeniably valuable to this group. Very few players in high school basketball show such an unselfishness and willingness to truly play for the team, but Griffith is a clear exception. He plays with an incredible motor and overall amount of energy, which naturally leads to his extremely pesky defensive presence at the point of attack. Griffith doesn’t look to score because he doesn’t need to score in order for this team to be at their best. He’s terrific at keeping the ball moving or attacking the basket to set up others. Final stats: 6 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals.
Other noteworthy contributors:
6’0 ’22 Jackson Helms- 7 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals.
6’2 ’22 Manny Elliott-10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks, and 1 steal.
6’7 ’23 Tymaureon Outlaw
Despite not starting or his limited opportunities, it’s clear that Outlaw has a strong chance to be the best player and prospect on the Rockets’ roster over the coming years. He’s a big, physical, aggressive post player with a sturdy frame and quality athleticism for his overall size and age. Outlaw already plays hard and makes an impact as a rebounder, defensive anchor, and finisher around the basket. Although he’s working to tighten some things up, there’s no doubting that Outlaw will be a notable player for college coaches to monitor throughout the foreseeable future. Final stats: 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
6’0 ’21 LaTae Bailey
We mentioned the Rockets’ comeback in the game recap, which was all thanks to the leadership of Bailey. The lead guard offered a variety of reliable traits, displaying toughness and poise when hitting shots and carrying the offense down the stretch. He mixed up his approach and scored in various different ways, namely from beyond the arc, but also showed the ability to set up others whenever possible. Bailey is slightly undersized but offered a pretty compete game throughout the course of this contest. He rose to the occasion whenever his teammates needed him most. Final stats: 23 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal.