6’5 ’25 Reece Starnes (Butler)

The strong-bodied big man was critical to Butler’s success. Starnes scored within the flow of the action, consistently running the floor and positioning himself to take advantage of second-chance opportunities. However, his pure dominance as a rebounder is what made him a true nightmare for opponents. Starnes utilizes his body well, displays great activity on the glass, and regularly secures multiple rebounds on the same possession.

Final stats: 16 points, 22 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal

6’6 ’24 Tyler Showalter (Butler)

While his teammate controlled the interior, Showalter did basically everything in his power to lead this group. He dictated the offense, applied consistent scoring pressure from all levels, and frequently stood out as the best player on the floor. Showalter shot the ball well, both off the catch and bounce, and made the extra whenever possible. He also finished around the basket and naturally caused matchup problems with his blend of size and skill.

Final stats: 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks

5’11 ’26 Zamarius Gladden (Huss)

Despite some struggles as a team, Gladden offered nice production throughout this contest. His balance as a combo-guard allowed him to initiate the offense, create for himself and others, and find scoring chances in various different roles. Gladden is a tough player with a high motor, quick first step, and scrappy nature. He routinely stepped up in key moments for this group.

Final stats: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals

6’4 ’24 Izaiah Littlejohn (Hickory)

Although several guys stood out for Hickory, Littlejohn is arguably as valuable to their success as anyone on the roster. He’s smart, steady, and possesses a well-rounded skillset. Littlejohn is capable of doing everything on the court. He’s skilled enough to consistently make plays with the ball in his hands, both as a scorer and playmaker. Littlejohn is also a quality athlete and defender. He should be a target for various types of programs.  

Final stats: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists

6’5 ’25 Zacch Wiggins (Wesleyan Christian)

It probably comes as no surprise, but Wiggins continues to set the tone and carry the torch for the Trojans. He asserts his leadership presence in a smooth, steady manner. Wiggins is a well-rounded wing with a high IQ and the ability to impact all facets of the game. He makes a constant impact, but knows how to properly assert himself to take over a game. Wiggins’ stock continues to trend upward.

Final stats: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists

6’1 ’28 Jaleel Smith (Northside Christian)

Quite possibly the most impressive player listed, Smith is truly incredible. Only an eighth-grader, his game is unbelievably advanced. Smith’s combination of IQ, poise, and “it” factor (in addition to his polished skillset) immediately separates him from the vast majority of his peers. He’s only gotten more and more comfortable over the recent weeks, and it’s evident through his high-level play. Whether dictating the offense, applying scoring pressure, or creating for others, Smith is already an offensive machine. He also defends and possesses a notable level of toughness for his age. Smith is tracking as one of the top players in North Carolina’s Class of 2028.

Final stats: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals