With travel ball season officially starting in North Carolina, with the Phenom Opening, The competition is high, it is still new. The coaches are into it, the fans are into it, the media and college coaches are lining the sideline and (most importantly) the players are into it.
We were fortunate to have some incredible games, however at Proehlific Park, there were two that stood out.
NC Empire Vs. Greensboro Warriors
We knew this would be a sneaky game coming in. Both of these teams are ridiculously competitive, not only that they have players who will be fighting, all summer, for the same scholarships.
NC Empire is led by their three-headed monster of 6’4” MJ Wilkerson, 6’10” Myles Evans and 5’10” David Murphy. Each player had their moments, and played each showed they will be ready for April. Evans is a lefty who can face up and is great on the block. Wilkerson is a high octane athlete, he defends and aggressively attacks downhill. Murphy is a shifty guard who has a tight handle and plays with ridiculous confidence.
Greensboro Warriors team has a depth of talent, but their best two here were their 6’4” wing combination of Brandon Thomas and Ahmil Flowers. Thomas showed comfort on and off the ball as he both initiated offense and finished possessions on that end. Flowers is a straight bucket getter. All 3 levels he is looking to score and does so with confidence and at a high clip.
Flowers and Evans are bonafide D1 prospects while Wilkerson, Murphy and Thomas are scholarship players D1s should be monitoring closely.
As you would expect, with this type of talent all over the floor, the game went into overtime. NC Empire led for a lot of the game, however, in overtime it was the Greensboro Warriors who scored first and held on. Again, these two programs should have coaches at every level (D1, D2, D3, NAIA, Juco) watch closely and intently during the April Live Period.
Team Winston 17s Vs. Team Loaded NC 16s
There were prospects all over the floor here as each team had 10 players who were scholarship caliber guys. Yes, there were 20 players in this game who are deserved of college basketball scholarships.
As you can imagine, with that type of talent on the floor this game got heated. And yes, the competitive spirits were flowing, the trash was being talked and the sidelines were out of their seats chirping as well. All in all, the atmosphere was off the charts.
Team Winston got out to a big early lead, between 12 and 15 points until about 10 minutes left in the game. A quick technical foul on Winston shifted the momentum than the Loaded NC guard duo of Brock Williams and Elijah Jamison really took over the game.
Team Winston has a pair of forwards who should end up having multiple D1 offer Aprils. 6’6” unsigned senior Zack Austin showcased the ability to defend across multiple positions while consistently knocking down three ball and finishing at the rim. 6’7” 2020 Jakob Moore has the potential to become one of the hotter commodities in this region with D1 coaches. He is long and has great pop around the rim. The defensive-minded player is a rim protector who can also move is feet, very switchable. Offensively, he scored around the basket and from the high post.
Loaded NC 16s has one of NCs most exciting player in Jalen McDonald who is a good passer from the high post but also an incredible leaper/weak side shot blocker. However, the story here was the guard duo. Brock Williams and Elijah Jamison really turned the game on its head defensively in the second half. Brock Williams was great pressuring the ball and creating turnovers. Jamison did well in the passing lanes and playing a strong type of press defense. Both players finished plays offensively, getting a lot in transition.
Again, this game went into overtime as well and when there Loaded NC scored first and kept the lead. These are two teams who are INCREDIBLY deep, but also two teams who should expect to win A LOT of games this summer….