It is getting close to that time of the year, where Phenom Hoops hits the road to check out teams and get an early glimpse of the talent around the area. We first started out heading to Lincolnton, to check in on Jeff McInnis and Combine Academy who is loaded once again.

I’m going to go on record early and say this… This is a Top-10 nationally ranked team! The amount of talent they have at multiple positions is crazy. But what makes them, in our eyes, a Top-10 team will be how they attack. Combine will be able to attack early and continue to attack, as Coach McInnis is looking to push the pace with who he has. And they will come in waves, weariing you down eventually on the court.

It was impressive to watch early on, as we breakdown this year’s team and players on what we saw on the court. There is so much talent, we had to make it into a 2-part series. Here is Part 1.

Antonio Hamlin (2022): Will be a key piece for this team in a big way and is a proven winner on the court.  Hamlin, who transferred from Mount St. Joseph’s, brings a strong feel for the game that the coaches are high on.  He plays with great energy, plays unselfish basketball, and looks to create and find open opportunities for his teammates.

Shawn Wilson (2021): Wilson is going to be a nice blend of leadership and experience, but also one that will be able to help in several areas with his ability to rebound, his good size, his ability to spot up and knock down shots, and finish around the rim. 

Patrick Wessler (2022): The big man is going to get a lot of work in but the sky is the limit and it will take some time.  With what Combine brings on the court, Wessler will have a lot of opportunities to have 1-on-1 matchups down low in the post, unlike previous years when defenses swarm him.  He continued to show nice touch and he is continuing to work on his mobility up and down the court. Wessler also showcased that range he has at times, knocking down a few three’s as well.

Darrius Davis (2021): With this team, energy on defense is key.  Davis really could fill that role with this team, as he showed he can get after it one-on-one, setting the tone and energy.  Davis continues to be aggressive in attacking but he could play a pivotal role for this team on both ends of the court.

Robert Dillingham (2023): Probably the best one-on-one offensive threat Combine has.  With what he showed this summer, Dillingham will be given a lot more freedom in how to operate and score.  He showed at practice that he is getting even better in reading defenses, leading the charge, finding his teammates but also continuing to show he can create for himself.

Jaylen Curry (2023): Curry is an absolute blur at times on the court.  And with the first step he has along with his length, his quick reaction, and his ability to score on multiple levels, he is going to be a tough matchup.  But that is only part of his game. Curry is going to be able to play multiple roles, whether he needs to score or use his quickness and vision to create for others. Also liked how he got after it on the defensive end.