On Sunday The Carolina Riptide got the better of the NC Ice in the Phenom Stay Positive 16U Gold Championship game in an 80-67 victory that provided an opportunity for both teams to showcase their talents in a major way. The game was really close for the majority of the first half with both teams neck and neck throughout the first half. As the 2nd half got going 5’10 2021 Clay Hodges and 6’1 2021 Callahan Reed started to impact the games on both ends of the floor, making life difficult for some of the Ice’s biggest offensive threats. The Riptide eventually got out to a 19 point lead, but the Ice showed no signs of quit, narrowing back down to single digits with around 3:30 left in the game. Eventually the Riptide knocked down some Free Throws and came away with the 13 point victory, let’s take a look at some of the standouts!
North Carolina Ice 16U:
6’6 2021 Treyvon Byrd
Byrd was the best long term prospect in this game, with his versatility, length, and freak athletic ability Byrd is one of the most most exciting players in NC’s 2021 class. He’s had multiple ridiculous moments over the course of his young playing career, and has the potential to create a viral moment out of essentially nothing. Byrd has continued in his development nicely in the past year, his body language has improved drastically, and he’s a much more vocal teammate along with that. His decision making has improved in a major fashion as well, but he still has a ways to go if he ever wants to maximize on his potential. He is significantly improved his consistency from the perimeter as well, and as he continues to get more experience and teaching moments under his belt, he should continue to develop into a player that is earning D1 scholarships at this time next summer. Expect him to really blossom throughout the rest of the summer in a major fashion.
5’11 2021 Isaiah Escobar
Escobar showed monster improvements since our last viewing and the primary reason behind that looks to be primarily based around confidence. He’s stepping into his perimeter jumpers thinking they’re going in, and is making serious strides in his ability to initiate offense and run a team. At this point he’s more of a combo guard than a pure point, but as he continues to develop both physically, and his skillset, he should develop into a really capable college level prospect. Hopefully he can build on some of the really positive contributions he made and turn it into a great summer for himself and his teammates.
6’4 2021 Ryan Roberts
Roberts is one of the top college prospects on this NC Ice squad with his ability to shoot the cover off of the ball from deep and his dramatic improvement in his all around skillset over the last 6 months. He’s a versatile defensive piece as well, using his size and athleticism to make plays on that end of the court. As a shooter, he can get hot or cold, and as Roberts is able to improve his consistency from out there, and continue to develop his abilities to impact the game in other ways offensively, Roberts should become a scholarship level guy in the near future.
5’10 2021 Clay Hodges
Hodges is one of the most competitive players in the State of North Carolina regardless of class. He’s an incredibly fundamentally sound player that impacts the game in a variety of ways, his decision making is nothing short of spectacular, and possesses the ability to light it up from the perimeter if he gets the space. Defensively he’s an absolute pest, getting in the way of everything the opposition is trying to do, he has quick hands, and a knack for knocking the ball loose and getting steals. He’s a kid that simply makes life difficult for the opposition, and could be on my team any day of the week regardless of the roster construct.
6’1 2021 Callahan Reed
Reed is as sound a playmaker as they come, never looking to make the selfish play, but the winning one instead. He’s a smooth floor general, allowing the play to develop, using his poise and patience to accurately assess the defense and make the right play. He’s efficient with his shots as well, never forcing the issue, but is capable of creating for himself both in transition or the half court setting. On the defensive end, he’s incredibly bought in, doing more than just holding his own at that end of the court. Expect Reed to have a great summer that provides himself a nice foundation for his recruitment to pick up in the next 12-18 months.
6’2 2021 Christian Taylor
Taylor is starting to really emerge as one of the Riptide’s go to options at the offensive end of the floor due to his willingness to get down hill and keep the defense on their heels at all times. He’s a high motor wing guard that provides this Riptide team with a spark of athleticism and toughness. He’s a physical player that excels in transition, using his athleticism to finish above the rim giving this team a spark of energy when he does. Taylor should have a great summer and help this Riptide team win a lot of games.