Phenom Hoops traveled to Concord to watch open gym at Concord First Assembly, defending NCISAA 2A state champions. Gone from the team is all state Charles Minlend along with five other seniors. Coach Frank Canadore had to regroup and has ten new players to varsity. Today, we will take a closer look at some of the top players for First Assembly.
6'9 Sr. Nico Payne
Payne has a strong, sturdy frame along with an enormous 7'4 wingspan. Last week, Payne received his first D1 offer from Campbell University and we expect many more to follow suit. At open gym, we were impressed with his senior leadership. He was very vocal and will be the 'go to' guy for Coach Canadore. Payne is an excellent two handed rebounder and makes quick and accurate outlet passes. He runs the floor well and has passer friendly hands. While he has the physical strength to overpower most players at the high school level, Payne has the ability to step out and hit an occasional midrange jumper. Last year, Payne shot 85% from the free throw line.
6'7 Sr. Mike Featherston
Featherston transferred from Greensboro Grimsley and was a nice late addition to the First Assembly roster. Featherston has advanced ball handling and passing skills for his size/position. More importantly, he can play and guard multiple positions. He is best with the ball in his hands and his court vision and decision making was impressive. He doesn't look to score and is always looking up for the 'pitch ahead' pass. At times, Featherston is a little too 'unselfish' on the court. According to Coach Canadore, Featherston sports an impressive 37 GPA. He'll be an terrific utility guy this season and D2 schools should be hot on his trail.
6'2 Sr. Marquise Beasley
Beasley is a crafty PG that possesses a certain smoothness to his game. He's good at going to this off hand (left hand) and makes outstanding decisions with the ball. Since Beasley plays with such a fluid pace, his quickness is often overlooked. Beasley is a pass first PG, but has the ability to score when called upon. The next step in his development is to become more consistent with his outside jumper.
6'0 Fr. Jordan Minlend
Jordan is the younger brother of Charles Minlend. While not has tall as Charles, he does have the long arms and strong/muscular legs. Minlend plays with poise and maturity and will be called upon for contributions to the teams this season.
6'0 Jr. Weston Edwards
Edwards is an excellent 3-point shooter with tremendous range. In addition, he is a strong defender and could be the one 'glue guy' on this year's team.