Combine Academy comes in once again as one of the top teams, not only in the state but in the country, and it is easy to see why. The depth is all there, the talent is all there, and the coaching staff is there for this program to make a TON of noise. We said last year after the open gym that this program looked like a Top-10 team coming in and they finished that way. Now, they look even DEEPER and have a year under their belt… so this is a team that should be discussed as a potential Top-5 program in the country.
When you start looking at the roster, you start with some of the big-time figures leading the charge. 2023 6’2 Robert Dillingham will be one of the go-to leaders once again with a bigger target on his back, but he is certainly ok in handling it all. His ability to score the ball is incredible and plays the game like a future pro. Then, when you add 2022 6’2 Jayden Epps as well, it brings two of the best scoring prospects to the court on the same team. Epps plays with a natural feel, dissecting the defense, picking his spots, and plays with a physical nature on both ends.
2022 6’4 AJ Smith proved to be a go-to player last year and really shined on some of the biggest stages for Combine. Now, he is looking to take another step under McInnis and continue to show his ability to finish strong, play with a terrific IQ, and be a force inside and out with his size and strength as a guard. Another 2022 6’4 prospect that makes a difference on both sides is Bryce Alfino, who has seen his recruitment really take off due to his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, excel in transition, and be a true difference-maker on defense.
The guard play is absolutely terrific for Combine but this is a team with tremendous size as well. 2022 7’0 Patrick Wessler has a year under his belt and has only taken off, even more, this summer showing his footwork, his touch, his size, and his vision. It is why he should be regarded as one of the top bigs in the country. 2022 6’7 Omarion Bodrick is yet another difference-maker, especially with his athleticism and ability to be a gamechanger in blocking shots, his mobility, his power at the rim, and his ability to run and finish in transition. 2023 6’9 Mekhi Grant seems that he has continued to elevate his play, showing a stronger skillset down in the post while still being one of the top athletic forwards around. Then you also add 2023 7’0 Maya Bote, a developing center that is still learning his potential but can really make a mark as a shot-blocker and one that is capable of making his presence in the paint.
What makes this team so dangerous though is depth… this is a team that can and will come in waves; it honestly can be a difference-maker for this program on a national level. 2022 6’2 Antonio Hamlin is absolutely tough, using his body well and can step up when called upon in leading the charge. 2022 6’4 Joel Baucom provides that outside scoring presence but showed this summer that can create off the dribble; but he provides that necessary outside threat to stretch the defense. 2023 6’0 Kennard Davis is a quick point guard that excels out in the open floor, can penetrate the paint, and facilitate to open shooters.
2023 6’7 Matai Baptiste is a new name to the program but is one that will quietly be a target for several teams with his blend of size, his outside game, and ability to operate/play multiple positions. The same could go with 2024 6’6 Braylhan Thomas, who was able to learn last year and should receive more minutes and have a bigger role. Let’s not forget to mention 2024 Stephen Quinn, who has unlimited range, and 2024 Elijah Green, who provides even more depth and is a young player that can be dynamic on the court.