By: Patrick O’Brien and Rick Lewis

Phenom Hoop Report hit the road to start the week off in a big way, checking out several schools around the Charlotte area that bring talented prospects of all levels to the courts.

One of the final stops Patrick and Rick made on Monday was at North Meck, a team that brings a lot of firepower, guard play, and intriguing young talent this season.  After finishing 23-5 last year, the Vikings look to fill the stands once again this year, especially with the talent we saw at the open gym.

Check out what we noticed.

Maxwell, Ford a fantastic 1-2 punch

2020 6’3 Tristan Maxwell: Maxwell is a proven scorer and has shown that time and time again.  He will continue to be the go-to scorer, as he can simply get a bucket any time he wants, especially with his jumper.  One can see that he continues to work hard in the weight room and with his conditioning, being able to withstand contact.  What also stood out at the open gym is his handles and his vision on the court.  Very impressive.

Coach Rick: While Tristan Maxwell is known for his scoring abilities, he showcased a complete offensive arsenal at open gym. Playing in front of Head Coach Josh Pastner of Georgia Tech, Maxwell solidified his status as an ACC caliber guard. Maxwell is at his best coming off screens and moving well without the ball but has the ability to create his own shot off the dribble/bounce. In addition, Maxwell has improved his ball-handling skills and did a terrific job of setting up teammates with some excellent passes off the dribble.  While Maxwell can be streaky at times, one thing is crystal clear, he can also put up points in a hurry.

2021 6’5 Chris Ford: Ford may have been the most impressive with his growth from when we saw him early on to where he is now.  It seems that everything is clicking for him.  Ford is in great shape, has been in the gym working out and getting stronger, and it seems that now, he understands what he is capable of doing.  He doesn’t settle for jumpers now, even though he is capable of knocking down shots.  Now, he attacks the rim, runs the floor incredibly well, and finishes strong through contact.  Ford’s recruitment really could see another jump coming soon.Coach

Coach Rick: Chris Ford is the ultimate glue guy. He’s the type of player that does so many things well and scores effectively and efficiency within the framework of the offense. More importantly, Ford is always in command with his cool, calm and collective approach to the game. Simply put, Ford is a winner on both ends of the court and is the one player that can make an immediate impact without scoring a single point.

Experienced guard play

2020 6’0 Trayden Williams: The point guard has tremendous feel for the game.  He knows how to find his shot but what really stood out for the senior guard is his feel.  It looks like the game slows down for him offensively and he uses his tight handles to get by defenders and to find his teammates.  He also puts a tremendous effort on the defensive end.

Coach Rick: The quick on quick guard plays with a sense of urgency and is one of the better two-way guards in his class. Williams has an excellent right to left cross over that is often the cornerstone of his offensive repertoire. The high energy scoring guard can score from all three levels and has the ability to stop on a dime and finish with a nifty pull-up jumper off the dribble.

2020 6’1 Shamann Artis: Artis grabbed the attention of coaches.  After facing an injury last year, he displayed some intriguing aspects to his game.  He gets after it on both ends and is that guard that can knock down the open shots from three, as well as body up defenders.

Coach Rick: Shamann Artis can flat out shoot the ball from all three levels, but is highly effective when he launches it deep from the 3-point arc. He was one of the more talked about prospects in the gym among college coaches.

2021 5’10 Cam Gates: Gates has shown this summer that he knows how to score the ball and can do that as well for North Meck. Provide positives, effective minutes and can score the ball when the opportunities are there.

Young prospects stepping up for Vikings this season

2022 6’7 Jeremy Gregory: Gregory has really shown that he is making improvements with his overall game and frame.  He continues to put work in with his conditioning and his game, as you can see the young big is starting to understand just how good he can be.  He moved well, displayed a nice touch around the rim, and really is starting to find his way in being a big man down low.  This really could be a big year for Gregory and he will have a lot of opportunities to show it.

Coach Rick: Jeremy Gregory is going to be relied on quite heavily this coming basketball season and rightfully so. We’re talking about a big, strong and ever-improving “big” that is going to etch his name into the rights of other North Meck greats. Gregory has an unbelievable feel for the game, sports big hands and feet, and is going to be one of the “X factors” for head coach Duane Lewis.

2022 5’11 Jordan Crawford: If you haven’t heard of his name, you will want to start getting on him soon.  Crawford had coaches and scouts talking about him all night long.  Crawford is an absolute knockdown shooter, no matter where he is on the floor.  He really could be looked at as a three-point specialist, as his confidence was out of the gym in the open gym.  But that would be limiting his capabilities, as he showcased an intriguing athleticism as well on the court.

Coach Rick: Coach Duane Lewis has been singing the praises of a talented young shooting guard. The slender built Crawford has a unique skill set that is equally matched by his athleticism. Crawford is an explosive scoring guard who will add quality depth and scoring.  Crawford showed tremendous poise and leadership on the court.

Other prospects:

Keep an eye on 2021 Tony Waters, a glue-guy guard that provides depth to this team.  Also watch for 2022 Marcus Farley and 2020 6’1 Da’Qon Stewart, who is a South Carolina football commitment.