Phenom Open Gym Tour: “Lake Norman, the future looks bright”

Phenom Hoops travelled to Lake Norman High School to kick start the 2022-23 basketball season to cover open gym. To put it mildly, Coach Grant Hodges has plenty to be excited about, and the “The Lake Show” should be one of the favorites in the Greater Metro 4A Conference. Last season, Lake Norman finished 17-11 overall, 5-7 in conference play with a young, talented and promising team. Losing only Davis Wagner (13.4 PPG) to graduation, Lake Norman returns leading scorer, 6’4 senior Cole Callaway (17.1 PPG), 6’5 sophomore Tre McKinnon (11.8 PPG), 6’4 senior Henderson Williams (7.1 PPG), 6’2 senior Alex Gruber (6.5 PPG), and 6’9 sophomore Trent Steinour (4.0 PPG). Now, throw in the likes of 5’11 sophomore Josh Yates and 5’10 freshman Nick Arnold and you have the makings of a well-rounded team that should make a deep playoff run in the NCHSAA 4A. Now, let’s take a closer look at Lake Norman

6’4 ’23 Cole Callaway

Callaway is the heart and soul of Lake Norman. He was the team’s leading scorer last season and has only gotten better over the course of the summer. Known for his long-range shooting from beyond the 3-point line, Callaway has improved his athleticism. He has gotten stronger, quicker, and has improved tremendously off the bounce. More importantly, Callaway has become a more complete player, adding rebounding to his already impressive resume. 

6’5 ’25 Tre McKinnon

If McKinnon can repeat his performance at open gym consistently throughout the season, he could be in the conversation as one of the top players in the Greater Metro 4A Conference. Standing a long, lengthy, athletic, and explosive 6’5, McKinnon has improved his shooting mechanics, follow through, arch and range. To put it mildly, McKinnon looked exceptional at open gym. If McKinnon continues to “buy in” on the defensive end of the court, he could easily be one of the premier players in the loaded North Carolina 2025 class. Without question, McKinnon has all the ingredients to become a high-level prospect and this can be achieved by a consistent motor and dedication to becoming a high-level defender.

6’9 ’25 Trent Steinour

Steinour has excellent mobility in the open court and continues to make huge strides in his overall game. He runs the floor extremely well, can pass nicely out of the high post, and does an adequate job of posting up on the low block. Continued strength will elevate Steinour to the next level. He currently has solid fundamentals and once he mastered a “go-to” post move, he will be hard to stop. More importantly, Steinour has nice shooting technique and fundamentals and has the ability to step out and knock down an occasional 3-pointer. 

6’2 ’23 Alex Gruber

Gruber will be Mr. Reliable for Coach Grant Hodges. A player that can play on and off the ball, Gruber is a “team first” player that will do all the little things to help his team win. With a team filled with firepower, Gruber may just be the team’s “glue guy” this season. He has sneaky athleticism and will be rock steady for Lake Norman. 

6’4 ’23 Henderson Williams 

Williams is a typical “throw-back” player that just makes one hustle play after another. He’s going to grab loose ball, make the extra effort to secure a rebound, and has excellent anticipation that allows him to score “garbage points” in the paint. Williams is a player that doesn’t command the ball and does all the simple things that are important for a team’s success. 

5’11 ’25 Josh Yates

Yates is a crafty and fearless floor general. He has exceptional ball-handling skills and has the ability to create for himself or his teammates. Yates looked extremely comfortable and confident as the team’s floor general. He has tremendous court vision and made proper reads on the defense. 

What to expect

This could be a special year for Lake Norman, providing all the players continue to buy in to Coach Grant Hodges “team first” philosophy. Lake Norman has plenty of talent and quality depth at the point guard position. They should be the pre-season favorite in the Greater Metro 4A. In addition, Coach Grant Hodges has strengthened his non-confidence schedule and has some tough early season matchups against NCISAA 1A state champion United Faith and NCHSAA 3A power Central Cabarrus which should be great tests that will should prove valuable come playoff time