It is that time of the year again, as teams and players gather back together on the court, preparing for their upcoming high school season.
Phenom Hoops makes it a priority to get out and check out teams in the area, as we get an early glimpse in the talent around the region.
Patrick O’Brien headed out early down the road in Charlotte to Myers Park, a team that finished 22-9 overall and made a strong push in the 4A playoffs last season. Now, they return once again with some key pieces, along with a few new names to keep an eye on. Check out some of the names to know for the Mustangs this season.
2021 6’5 Drake Maye (Alabama football commit)
Maye is a standout on the football field but is also a force on the courts as well. Averaging 13.6 points, 8.4 rebounds last season, Maye once again will be a leader for Myers Park with his ability to score in an array of ways. Maye is an efficient three-level scorer, a really good rebounder, and displays tremendous athleticism on the floor. He can be a double-double machine and should be one of the go-to guys this year once again.
2020 6’5 Tyrese Gwinn
Gwinn immediately pops out on the court with his size and athleticism; he doesn’t hide it at all. Gwinn brings that experience to the floor but also a tremendous defensive presence down low for the Mustangs. He has a nice touch around the rim and moves his feet well, but his presence should be felt more on the defensive side, springing in the air and blocking shots emphatically. He will be a solid anchor down low.
2020 5’7 Kam Mack
Mack brings experience to the table, especially as the lead guard for Myers Park. He showcased a tremendous change of pace on the floor, which allowed him to find small openings. He also looked to get his teammates involved as well, especially with several shooters around him. Mack has the ability to break down his opponents and he really showcased what he could do in the playoffs last year in four games, averaging 16 points per game.
2020 6’1 Noah Hooper
A transfer from Charlotte Catholic last year, Hooper brings a lot of intrigue with what he can provide to the Mustangs this year. He doesn’t just bring experience, but his competitive, aggressive approach to the game immediately stands out. There aren’t too many that will outwork him. Offensively, he has a constant motor and aggressively attacks the rim, as well as knock down the open jumper.
2022 5’11 Jacob Newman
Not on the floor during the open gym due to football practice, Newman is already a name that many may already know. Newman is a quick, sturdy guard that plays with a lot of intensity. He plays under control offensively and can really pest on the defensive end as well. We fully expect his game to have continued to grow as he heads into his sophomore season.
Keep an eye on the intriguing stretch forwards
2021 6’7 Oliver Farris is the younger brother of Duwe Farris, who played as a senior last year for the Mustangs. Farris brings much of the same aspects as Duwe did. He is that stretch forward that moves well, plays with effort, has a little bounce to his game, and can play inside and out on offense and defense.
Another very intriguing prospect that really has a chance to be a name in North Carolina is 2023 6’6 Elijah Strong. Getting a first look at his game, Strong has a chance to really develop into a versatile big, stretch forward type prospect. He is still growing into what he is fully capable of doing, but Coach Taylor and the staff hope to really expand his game. Strong showed flashes of that, knocking down jumpers/ three’s, attacking the rim, leading the break, and being fully comfortable in handling the ball.
Guard depth will be key
Guard play will be key for the Mustangs, as they have an array of players that provide a different skill set on the floor. 2021 6’0 Xavier McKelvy received critical playing time last year and is now looking to make a bigger impact, as the high-flying guard displayed explosion, quickness, and the ability to lead a team on offense.
Seniors 5’11 Jeb Lloyd, 6’0 Elias Kalariotes, and 5’11 Kaden Elaasar will provide critical depth and outside shooting, as all three showcased the ability to be threats from the outside.
2021 Henry Ryan is another player to watch with his surprising athleticism, Ryan was able to get to the rim several times, finish strong, and run the floor well in transition.
Also keep an eye on guard Anton Suonalainen, a transfer from Finland and a player that has played for Tapiolan Honka in Espoo, Finland. He was creative and didn’t back down from the competition at all.