One of the most exciting parts about watching notable players graduate is getting to see how their teammates respond to said departure. Naturally, the show must go on, but there are usually structural kinks to work out within the bigger scheme of things. This article concept has appeared twice before, and largely represented guys who were somewhat under the radar. Now, after the entire summer season, we have plenty of basis to add a few more candidates to the list. (This doesn’t apply to freshmen, since they currently no record of production on the high school level.) Let’s take a closer look…

6’6 ’22 Josh Scovens (Page)

The possibility of a player doubling their (already productive) stat-line from one season to the next is pretty unlikely, but it feels almost probable for Josh Scovens. We’ve touched on this specific topic previously, but it wouldn’t hurt to reemphasize. In short: Scovens will immediately absorb majority of the departed shot attempts from Jaden Ellis (11.4) and Zion Connor (7.5), and should easily expand from his previous scoring average. That being said, he should be able to improve his numbers while still maintaining positive scoring efficiency across the board. Even though he was sidelined for July, arguably no player showcased more positional expansion over the last calendar year. Now, as a legitimate wing/forward, Scovens’ IQ, skill, athleticism, and versatile offensive game should cause a ton of problems for opponents. 

6’5 ’22 Karon Boyd (Cannon)

Although other guys from Cannon (like Austin Swartz or DJ Nix) could be included on this list, Karon Boyd will arguably be the x-factor for this group’s success—especially after the departure of their primary interior piece (Christian Reeves). There is some slight positional overlap between he and Nix, but Boyd’s motor and sheer defensive presence could allow him to see opportunities at various positions. It’s easy to see where he operates as a mismatch center, since he’s too mobile for interior opponents and way stronger than any perimeter assignment—but capable of containing either position. Between Boyd’s summer production and the departure of seniors (Elijah Ormiston and Jarvis Moss), it’s easy to see a path where his all-around production could rival that of anyone in the state. 

6’2 ’22 Jamori McDougald (Overhills)

Potentially North Carolina’s best kept secret (though it hasn’t been intentional), Jamori McDougald continues to soar under the radar after quietly transferring to Overhills High School earlier this month. While his production might not explode quite like some others on this list, he will certainly be as valuable as anyone. For starters, Overhills already has a solid group of players and should immediately improve with the addition of McDougald. He’s a smart, balanced floor general with the ability to breakdown opponents, reliably set up others, and apply efficient scoring pressure from anywhere on the floor. McDougald plays with excellent pace, unselfishness, and a calm demeanor on the court. It’s very difficult to see a scenario where McDougald doesn’t quickly emerge as a leader for his new squad. 

6’5 ’23 Jah Short (Farmville Central)

After discussing the first name on this list, it should come as no surprise to see Jah Short regarded as an obvious breakout candidate. Guys like Neeko Taylor and Jayden Pitt should also see a noticeable uptick in production, but majority of the departed responsibilities will be handed to Short—and rightfully so. He’s a long, smart, athletic guard prospect with the blend of size, skill, and toughness to be a priority for a variety of different programs. His leadership presence with Garner Road has more than solidified his ability and understanding of how to properly lead a team. Although the backcourt pairing worked out just fine (resulting in a state championship), folks should expect Short to seamlessly transition into a dominant figure for the Jaguars. 

6’5 ’23 Brock Rose (Ardrey Kell)

Though we previously featured two of his teammates (Brandon Nelson and Evan Smith), it’s only fitting that Brock Rose receives acknowledgement for his likely uptick in production. Between the departed trio of Elijah Gray, Knoah Carver, and Peyton Gerald, there will be over 32 shots per game to be redistributed amongst the current personnel. After everything he showcased throughout the travel ball season, it would be very difficult to envision a scenario where Rose’s production doesn’t expand exponentially. He’s a knockdown shooter with size, but also showed more than enough ability to defend, rebound, attack closeouts, and make plays with the ball in his hands. Rose’s expected uptick in production almost feels like a surefire thing, but it’ll be necessary for the Knights to maintain their championship-level status from last season.