By: Patrick O’Brien and Rick Lewis

The talent around the Charlotte area should have fans excited heading into the season.  Phenom Hoops makes an effort to get out and see many of the teams early on during their open gym tour.  One school of curiosity is Vance high school, with several talented and young prospects on the roster.

Patrick and Rick headed out to the gym to get a better understanding of what the Cougars have this season.  Here is what we found.

Senior Daniel Ransom looking for a HUGE season

2020 6’5 Daniel Ransom: After a season in which he averaged 9 points per game, Ransom could be in for a big season at Vance and he certainly showed it at the open gym.  Physically, Ransom looks ready to dominate inside and out, as one can tell he has put in the work.  His versatility on the floor, toughness, and motor immediately separates from the rest, as he goes non-stop on the court.  He gets it done inside and out and now with his senior leadership; Ransom is going to be a huge presence this year for Vance.

Coach Rick: Daniel Ransom is the epitome of hard work and being a “self-made player.” Each season, Ransom has enhanced his skill set and developed into a college-ready prospect. Playing in front of future college head coach, Mark Prosser of Western Carolina, Ransom sported a physically chiseled frame. We have already been impressed with his full-throttle approach and relentless motor. That being said, Ransom has expanded his game and showcased tremendous range on his 3-point shooting, not to mention a high degree of efficiency. There’s a lot of excitement with the arrival of their freshman class, but it will be the steady leadership he will provide that will determine a deep NCHSAA playoff run.

Young prospects blooming into something special

2023 5’11 Jaylen Curry: Curry is a name many know with his play this summer with Team CP3.  Now, the young but talented guard looks to be a big part for Vance this upcoming season as well.  Curry brings length immediately to the table, using that to be a headache for opponents scoring-wise.  He excels in pushing the tempo and scoring, but also his vision in the open court and IQ.  What makes him even better is the pressure and competitiveness that he puts on himself to become one of the best players; he takes pride in it on both sides of the ball.

Coach Rick: Jaylen Curry has the complete package and will be instrumental into Vance’s overall success. We’re talking about a lengthy and athletic combo guard that has an advanced skill set. He impressed us with his ball-handling and superb court vision where he was zipping passes off the dribble with precision and accuracy. In addition, Curry has the ability to score from all three levels and is masterful in keeping defenses off balance with his ability to create space with his cat-quick athleticism.

2022 6’6 Daniel Sanford: Physically, Sanford passes all the eye tests.  He can be a versatile forward that brings a great combination of size and strength.  His hands are incredible to go along with his 7’0+ wingspan, is always active, and runs the floor really well.  Sanford also knows how to score the ball in an array of ways, especially with the mid-range and around the basket.  This young man is only scratching the surface of his potential.

Coach Rick: We currently have Daniel Sanford ranked no. 9 in our North Carolina 2022 rankings and HC Mark Prossner of Western Carolina apparently agreed. After posting an outstanding performance in open gym, Sanford immediately received an offer from Western Carolina. That being said, what you currently see if still not the finished product. We’re talking about a sturdy, strong, and extremely long (7’3 wingspan) power forward that also combines a rather smooth and fluid game. We were impressed with his overall feel, poise, and maturity on the court. More importantly, he plays under control and makes outstanding decisions once he catches the ball in the paint. He has extremely huge hands and his upside will only continue to grow along with his game.

2023 5’10 Trey Green: Green is and will be yet another Charlotte PG that will earn HM attention.  At a young age, he has an incredible feel for the game.  Green is fundamentally sound, understands how to set up and lead an offense, and has a high IQ.  He has been in the weight room getting stronger, as well as preparing for football.  Green displayed a clean, crisp jumper that makes him dangerous on the court but also terrific vision in finding his teammates.

Coach Rick: We’ve seen Trey Green countless times during the spring/summer and have always been impressed with his athleticism and overall matching skill set. Green and Curry will form one of the top underclassmen backcourt duos in the state and if the open gym was any indication, they fed off each others strength and complimented each other nicely. Green has a textbook jumper and has the ability to stretch the defense with his outstanding 3-point shooting range.

Keep an eye these 2022 prospects as well

2022 Kendall Smith: Coach calls him his secret weapon but he won’t be a secret for too long.  He brings length to the table immediately but still is developing his body.  Smith is a willing defender on the court and can be a deadly knockdown shooter.  Will play a critical role this season for Vance.

Coach Rick: Kendall Smith was the surprise player on the busy open gym tour. We’re talking about a lengthy and athletic guard that has an outstanding range and ability to score from all three levels. While he caught our eye with his shooting efficiency, we were more impressed with his lateral quickness and outstanding on the ball defense.

2022 Anthony Moore: Moore is a thicker and physically ready guard early on that showcased a nice feel for the game along the perimeter.  At the open gym, he knocked down quite a few outside shots.

2022 Antoine Piper: Another physical guard that can create some mismatches.  He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and get by bigger, slower forwards but also use his frame and strength to post up smaller prospects.

Also watch out for 2022 guard Corey Gaines this season, as he should be able to contribute as well.

Senior leaders

2020 Davon Smith: Smith is a lengthy prospect that displayed understanding and ability to initiate an offense but also use that size to his advantage to rise up over defenders.

2020 Jheison Saunds: He is that do-it-all, physical, grind it out type prospect that will help this team go a long way.  He can physically match up with any type opponents and will his way with his physical frame offensively.  He really brings that competitive energy to the floor and does the dirty work on the floor.

Team Notes:

Coach Rick: Vance High School might just be the sleeper team in the state and could make a serious run in the NCHSAA 4A playoffs. This team has tremendous balance, highly skilled college prospects and a blend of youth and senior veterans that will make them a dangerous team and a serious contender for a title run.