United Faith has been a traditional basketball program at the NCISAA 1A level. Last season, they once again won another state championship and this year’s team looks poised for a repeat. First year head coach Darion Holloway, known as “Coach D,” has plenty to be excited about. Coach D has been with the program for four years and served as the associate head coach for the past three years. Upon arrival at open gym, the atmosphere in the gym was different. Immediately walking in, you could feel the energy in the gym. The players were engaged, talking on both ends of the court. They were loud and you could sense the chemistry and bond between what is a deep and talented roster. This team is extremely talented and has a lot of quality pieces at every position. Not only will United Faith be the top team at the NCISAA 1A level, they will also be in the conversation as one of the top teams in the state regardless of class or affiliation. Now, let’s take a closer look at the key players from open gym.

6’9 ’24 Isaiah Sutherland

There’s no question Isaiah Sutherland is oozing with upside and potential. He’s a gifted athlete that could be one premier players in the state for his class. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and what we saw yesterday is the first step in reaching his potential. To put it mildly, this was the best we’ve seen Sutherland in action. In two consecutive plays, he came down and knocked down a corner 3-pointer and followed it up with a thunderous tip back dunk. Sutherland played with effort and energy and was fully engaged the entire time at open gym. Give Coach D credit, he has hit all the right buttons with Sutherland. If his play yesterday at open gym can be repeated on a consistent basis, watch for his stock and recruitment to explode. 

6’2 ’24 Evan Morton

Morton transferred from Weddington and there’s no secret that he’s already solidified himself as the team’s vocal leader at the lead guard position. We’re talking about a strong, physical and explosive guard that has the ability to score from the perimeter or attack the basket with authority. Morton was terrific in communicating to his teammates and led by example on the defensive side of the court. We were impressed with his defensive posture as he sits low on defense and applies tremendous ball pressure. With the 2024 short on quality point guards, look for Morton to be in the conversation as one of the better two-way guards in the state for his class. 

6’5 ’23 Alex Bates

Bates has more than 15 D1 offers and what’s not to like in a strong, fundamentally sound perimeter shooter. Shooting translates at every level and Bates is exceptional at the catch and shoot coming off screens. He has a quick release, good elevation and outstanding shooting mechanics. More importantly, we were impressed with his shot selection and overall basketball IQ. Rarely, does he force or take poor shots and his shots all seem to be in rhythm and within the framework of the offense. With a premium on quality perimeter shooters, Bates will continue to be a “hot name” and prospect among D1 schools. Bates averaged 12.6 points per game last season.

6’3 ’23 Lance Gill

Lance Gill in our opinion will be the team’s “clue guy.” Gill averaged 9.6 points per game and over 5.0 rebounds per game, but more importantly filled the stat sheet with steals, assists, block shots and just making winning plays. In addition, Gill is a player that makes hustle plays and has a knack of being at the right place at the right time. Gill is a high energy guy that his comfortable being the “go to” guy or complimentary teammate. 

6’6 ’24 Dylan Deluca

Dylan Deluca transferred from Metrolina Christian and will provide size and excellent shooting at the forward position. Another high IQ and fundamentally sound player, Deluca is another nice fit for Coach D and United Faith. Like Bates, Deluca is an outstanding perimeter shooter that does a nice job coming off screens squaring up nicely to the rim. He has a nice feel for the game and allows the game come to him, rarely forcing or manufacturing shots. A great team player and complement to a star studded roster.

Best of the Rest

6’5 ’25 Bryce Slay is a name you’re going to hear a lot about. Tracking as one of the top players in the North Carolina 2025 class, Slay isn’t finished growing, which could be a scary thought. Slay has a unique blend of athleticism, size and matching skillset that will project him as a high major prospect. 6’0 ’25 JD Bowden is another outstanding young prospect at the point guard position that will share ball handling duties for United Faith. Overall, this is a deep and talented team. While they will be the heavy favorite to win the NCISAA 1A, be sure to include United Faith with the likes of Myers Park and Carmel Christian of the world. They have the talent and the depth and if they continue to bond and enhance their team chemistry, they will make a lot of noise this season.