Last year, head coach Joe Badgett and Carmel Christian were regarded as one of the top teams in the state of North Carolina, as well as on the east coast.' Finishing the season 31-3 and winning the NCISAA 3A State Championship, the Cougars secured one of their best season's in school history.

Led by several seniors as well as athleticism, Carmel Christian simply bullied teams throughout the season.' Now, those seniors have now gone on to compete at the college level and many might think this more like a rebuilding year.

That is where you are wrong, especially with the talent they have on the roster this upcoming season.

Patrick O'Brien continued the Phenom Hoops Open Gym tour on Tuesday, heading down to Matthews, North Carolina to get a glimpse, first hand, of just how dangerous the Cougars might be this season.

Star guard looking to become a big-time name

2021 6'3 Justin Taylor

If you don't know the name, we promise you that you will after this season.' Watching Taylor's game, he has a chance to be a BIG-TIME guard in the state of North Carolina and high-major schools will be coming his way.' Taylor has all the tools to be a threat no matter where he is.' If he wants to score, he can score with ease anywhere on the court.' His ability to create space, get defenders rocking, or using his athleticism to get to the rim, Taylor can do it all.' He also possesses great handles and vision, playing unselfishly to get all his teammates involved.' He has the talent to get 30 whenever he wants but loves to get his teammates involved within the offense.

Senior Leadership

2020 6'4 Kenny Gwynn

Gwynn has all the tools to be a big-time player this season for Carmel Christian.' He is a strong-bodied prospect that showcased takeover ability and can play all five positions this year.' Gwynn has been hitting the gym which showed when he attacked the rim and finished through contact.' With his ability to score inside and out, as well as breakdown his defenders one-on-one, expect Gwynn to have a breakout season.

2020 6'5 Myles Hunter

Hunter's day was cut a little short but the lengthy wing prospect still flashed what he was able to accomplish on the court.' After a solid summer with Team Charlotte, Hunter is looking to continue his play this upcoming season.' The long, athletic wing prospect is crafty to score in an array of ways, whether it is spotting up for his jumper or using that length to get to the rim.' He also has that length to be a tremendous defender this year, something Coach Badgett continues to preach.

Watch out for a big season

2021 6'8 Ben Burnham

Burnham is an absolute intriguing prospect and will be a key part for Carmel Christian this season.' His 6'8 frame helps but it is what he does on the floor.' His confidence oozes out on the court with his wiry, versatile frame but it his ability to knock down jumpers from all three levels, use a quick decision move to get past his defender, and his sneaky athleticism.' Burnham was impressive this summer and should continue that trend this upcoming season.

Other important prospects

2022 6'6 Elijah Gray

Gray is a prospect that can honestly be regarded as underrated.' He has continued to get in shape and it is noticeable, which only enhances his ability to be an effective player on the court.' He possesses all the tools to be a physical, versatile prospect.' He has the size to operate down low around the rim and mid-range but is confident enough to step out further, as well as handle the ball.' Gray will be one of those prospects that can easily lead the team in scoring from time-to-time.

2021 6'3 Glynn Bynum

Bynum is that do-it-all type of guy, that just brings a positive effect to the team when he steps on the court; he just does so many things well.' Whether it is knocking down mid-range jumpers, attacking to get to the rim, strap up on defense, or just simply hustles around the floor, Bynum provides a lot on the court.

2022 Kyle Bean/ 2021 Bryson Pisacano

These two players will be key for Carmel Christian.' Not only will the provide depth but they provide that outside shooting that can spread the floor and be deadly from three.' If these two can consistently knock down shots, this team goes from 6 players deep to 8 or 9 players deep on this roster that can be effective.

2022 Tyree Bracey

Bracey immediately brings length to the floor and he uses that on both ends.' Whether it is him using that length to get to the rim, rise up over defenders, or being a difference-maker on defense, Bracey can be another do-it-all type prospect for this team.

2023 Elijah Green

A crafty point guard that feels confident in his handles and plays confident as a young guard.' Green could see some playing time this season and has the talent to run an offense.