We started the day off bright and early in Burlington, North Carolina to check out The Burlington School. Fresh on a Wednesday night practice which saw the likes of Virginia, Penn State, and Louisville in the gym alongside High Point, we caught the 6:15 AM practice. Still, with coaches along the sideline, Wofford sent 2, Mount Olive and UMBC all in attendance, we watched them get after it.
The first thing that pops for you with this team is their size and length. With an assumed starting front line that will go 6'6', 6'10'. 6'9' (and all at least mid-major level players), this team will line up like not many in North Carolina (even at the collegiate level) can do. The work out was meticulous, a great build-up to their horns like offense, working on cutting and working through the bigs. Here is what we saw, on this day …
6'6' 2021 Jadun Michael
We have never held back our feelings for Michael as we have suggested him being a high major, top 150 type of guy for a couple of years now. He has often been known as an absolute defensive stopper, but his offensive game is rounding out in a nice way. He is showcasing some initiation skills from the wing, all the while knocking in 8 consecutive 3s in a 'hot shot' shooting drill here. With the recent success of Deandre Hunter and Josh Reaves, it is no wonder schools like UVa and Penn State are in there. Keep watching, he competes with the best of them and hates to lose.
6'9' 2020 Mylyjael Poteat
Perhaps one of the best stories in North Carolina, heading into this season, Poteat continues to improve his body, which in turn is allowing him to showcase his game. Blessed with excellent length, and incredible hands, Poteat has dropped 25 pounds over the last 6 weeks. With that weight loss, he is getting up the floor, and off the floor much easier now, and this is a problem for opponents. Poteat has great footwork on the block, is a great passer, can extend out the three to shoot the ball and can go left hand/right hand in the post. Expect him to continue jumping in the rankings, heck he had 32 rebounds in a single game last year (with a looser bodyweight distribution). He is also a high academic student who had two of Wofford's coaches in bright and early this morning.
6'3' 2020 Jesse Walters
The transformation continues, a classified gunner in years past, Walters is changing into the combo guard, and the process is going well. He is a knock-down shooter, probably the best on this team (and this team has some shooters). He has the ability to create his own shot off the bounce, but he is also showcasing an ability to see the floor and make a play for a teammate. In this practice what stood out was his ability to defend in the open floor. During the scrimmage session, he created numerous steals and deflections to take over the scrimmage, and end up as the leading scorer. Already a lot to like here, his game is improving and so should his recruitment.
6'5' 2021 Isaiah Ray
Ray looks the part, walking on the floor with long arms hanging off a tall frame. He is a glue guy for this team, who does a lot of the little things that not only help a team win but keep a player on the floor. Defensively, he is great in the passing lanes with some ability to move his feet. He showcased great vision as he touched the paint on the drives. He is one who will catch coaches eyes when they watch this team numerous times, and as he continues to develop his jump shot, his overall game should continue to pop more. However, on this day, his ability to make plays stood out.
We finished the day down in Fayetteville, North Carolina as we stepped in the gym at Village Christian to check out what they had going on. Over the past 10 years, Coach Kurtis Darden has built this team into a power, sending multiple kids, every year, to college all the while winning a ton of games (and state championships). Although not as deep as years past, this team is talented as well, let's see what they showed '
6'3' 2020 Zavian McLean
A year ago we were screaming from the rooftops how undervalued McLean was, now he has colleges watching every day, with offers flowing through. He has recently picked up offers from the likes of Brown and Dartmouth. On this day, McLean had 4 coaches from Campbell in the gym (for the second time in as many weeks) and he had Presbyterian and William and Mary watching. McLean, a lefty, is a tough, hard-nosed player. He can initiate offense as a combo guard, he can defend across the perimeter and he can shoot the ball, scoring from each level. From a production standpoint, there are few out there better. He should be in line for a big year, and as far as Village goes, McLean will carry them.
6'7' 2020 Justin Thomas
Thomas just has the look of a high-level wing. With all the skills of a guard, he is long and athletic, he can handle the ball, push the break, create from the wing and shoot the ball. It makes sense why the likes of Georgia Tech and East Carolina offered this summer and why Rivals has him ranked among the nation's Top 150 prospects. Thomas is a great complementary player, who is capable of going off for big numbers. He finishes well at the rim with great length and he has touch and confidence in his pull up game and shooting ability. Georgia State was by yesterday, and expect more to swing through. He is a great kid, a hard-working and supremely talented.
Also, be sure to keep an eye out for 2022 duo Jalen Higgins and Zy McLean.