by: Ethan Reece

2022 Evan Smith (Team Purple)
Ardrey Kell will have a lot of guys stepping up to make plays this season and their clear leader will be Evan from the PG position. This was my first time watching Evan and I was very impressed. As good a floor general as I’ve seen in recent months, Evan excelled in handling the pressure and controlling the pace. Can be quick but is best using his body to shield off defenders and get them off balance. Ran the show all day featuring a buzzer-beating game winner in game 1 and 32 points in a high-caliber matchup against Chambers. He’s not going to make mistakes and will inevitably be making his presence felt this season competing with the best of the NCHSAA 4A class.

2023 RJ Milliken (Team Purple)
Another Ardey Kell guard that will be a key piece this season, RJ is without a doubt their most dangerous shooter. I saw him all summer torching the nets and leading his Charlotte Royals squad. He brings a good physical approach while maintaining a calm manner. Knocked down 5 big threes in a tight morning battle and followed that up with 4 more in game 2, given any space he’ll make you pay. I look forward to seeing his role developed this season paired with Evan Smith and Brock Rose.

2025 Gevonte Ware (1 of 1)
My eyes popped when I saw Gevonte was only a freshman. You just don’t see young guys with that physically mature of a body and demanding such a presence for the defense to focus in on down low. He shows a lot of early feel and good footwork to boost his skill set and frame around the basket. It’s early and one could only imagine where he’ll be as a senior but he’s fully equipped and ready to make a big impact leading at the varsity level this season.

2022 Dawson Edwards and 2023 Camden Taylor (NC Wildcats)
These two guys have looked good all fall and were absolutely outstanding today. They brought the energy big time in a high caliber matchup against Chambers and Jaylen Curry. Applying nonstop pressure and utilizing their quickness on both ends. Edwards is probably the quickest guard I’ve seen in a while and is very smart making plays especially in the open court. Taylor has stepped up and gotten better each week, really filling his role and being a quality leader and team player. I expect strong seasons from both these guys, Edwards at Jordan High and Taylor at Franklinton.