The travel ball season is always full of surprises. Given the shaky nature of the recruiting landscape, there’s truly no telling which programs are even looking to extend offers to high school players. Majority of programs (for whatever reason) find it more advantageous to pursue kids who already claim a slew of scholarships, as opposed to someone who could actually be a viable, realistic option. Understandably, kids go too high far too often. However, it makes no sense for a low-major program to offer a kid with twenty high-major offers—especially in the eleventh hour. It’s a pure waste of time. Instead, it would seem much smarter to hunt for guys who are talented enough yet have little to no buzz. Let’s take a closer look at some of the guys currently on the rise in North Carolina’s Class of 2024…
6’5 Rakease Passmore (Combine Academy)
Since he was already a pretty highly regarded prospect with multiple Division I offers, it would be difficult to say Rakease Passmore “blew up.” That being said, his recruitment has clearly taken another step forward. Prior to the spring, Passmore claimed offers from Murray State, Western Carolina, NC A&T, Wake Forest, and Appalachian State. Since the beginning of May, he has collected scholarships from East Carolina, Florida International, New Mexico State, Charleston, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and NC State. So, what caused this sudden shift? He’s always possessed the tools and flashes of ability, but his time with Garner Road has allowed Passmore to consistently shine against higher levels of competition. He’s hitting shots, showing off the bounce ability, and still posing a major threat as a downhill force. Expect his stock to continue rising.
6’5 Austin Swartz (Cannon)
Similar to the previous entry, Austin Swartz earned offers from Radford and Houston Baptist but has seen his recruitment skyrocket since April—collecting eight offers (Appalachian State, Iona, NC A&T, Charleston, Georgia, Houston, South Florida, and Richmond) since then. Quite possibly the top shot-maker in the state, his game is incredibly smooth and polished. Swartz can effortlessly create shots (and convert) from anywhere on the floor, but also possesses IQ, vision, playmaking ability, and useful defensive instincts. Though he’s a lethal creator, he is more than comfortable at spotting-up alongside another primary ball-handler. Swartz is able to fill it up in a hurry or assert himself within the flow of the team structure. The translatable skills are quite obvious, so folks should only expect his offer sheet to continue growing.
6’5 Bishop Boswell (Myers Park)
It feels like this should’ve happened way sooner, but Bishop Boswell is finally beginning to see his recruitment take off. The fact that he received an offer from Houston in September of 2020, then an offer from NC A&T in June of 2021, and then nothing else until last month–June 2022–is actually somewhat bizarre. In order to earn scholarships from Wake Forest, South Florida, Georgia, and Texas A&M, surely something drastic changed…right? Well, no. Boswell has always been this guy, but coaches have become ridiculously bullish on his presence with Myers Park. However, the tools and ability have been there since the start. Boswell is a smart, athletic, well-rounded guard who excels at running a team or finding opportunities without the ball. Boswell’s stock should only continue to rise.
6’4 Jaylen Cross (Northwest Guilford)
Despite being the only listed player without an offer, Jaylen Cross’ stock continues to trend in a positive direction. He’s a long, wiry, dynamic guard prospect with the all-around tools and skillset to appeal to various types of Division I programs. Cross is a nice ball-handler and playmaker with the necessary blend of IQ, vision, and creativity to make impressive decisions with the ball in his hands. He creates well and scores the ball with ease from all three levels, but truly doesn’t require the ball to make a lasing impact. Cross is an amazing teammate with maturity, unselfishness, and the willingness to make hustle plays whenever possible. He’s simply a reliable player who can always be trusted on the court. Cross doesn’t make erratic decisions or try to do too much, and will genuinely embrace any type of role. The offers will inevitably come sooner than later.
6’6 Jayden Harris (Salisbury)
Quite possibly the most coveted prospect in the state, Jayden Harris has rapidly become the top priority for a ton of Division I programs. His recruitment expanded from a lone Western Carolina offer to Radford, Hampton, Texas A&M, South Florida, Charleston, Siena, Ohio, Houston, NC A&T, Tennessee, VCU, High Point, Norfolk State, Illinois, NC State, and Richmond—all since the beginning of May. Harris is an extremely smooth wing prospect with a beautiful jumper and the shot-creation skills to burden a heavy offensive load in every possible setting. He can generate (and convert) clean looks from all three levels, set up others, and make his presence felt on the glass. Harris is also a useful defender who utilizes his length well on either side of the ball. Between his physical growth, translatable tools, and blossoming skillset, it’s easy to see why he’s become such a desirable commodity.