Each year, the travel ball season is absolutely filled with storylines, subplots, and various different avenues for excitement. At this point, most folks have begun making their opinions heard regarding the top players in North Carolina’s Class of 2024. While it’s probably too early to make any aggressive conclusions about rankings, or even offers, guys like Jarin Stevenson, Rakease Passmore, and countless others already stand out as obvious talents. Meanwhile, there are dozens upon dozens of other noteworthy freshmen who will also stand out as definite program-changers. This article will examine five prospects deserving of more attention from the masses…
5’11 Christian Andrews (Dorman)
Although the article’s title is supposed to only represent North Carolina, we will still claim Christian Andrews for the sake of his time at Asheville Christian. However, the smart, tough point guard prospect is transferring to Dorman for the remainder of his high school career. While most people have become quite familiar with his abilities as a heady game manager, Andrews has showcased the full arsenal as a clear leader for Upward Stars. He’s a balanced offensive force with vision, defensive prowess, and efficient three-level scoring ability. Andrews can reliably create for himself and others, regularly dissembling the opposing defense with his penetration sense and transition presence. Folks should expect him to be a focal point for Dorman over the coming years.
6’2 Miles Beard (Hickory Ridge)
There are a lot of freshmen who are deserving of more attention, but it’s somewhat confusing how few individuals are currently talking about Miles Beard. Though Hickory Ridge had some struggles as a team, Beard already stood out as one of their most productive pieces. Add in the departure of Jordan Marsh and various seniors, and the well-rounded guard should stand out as an obvious leader over the foreseeable future. His impressive production during the travel season with CC Elite has been impossible to ignore. Beard can control the offensive action with the ball in his hands, or simply apply quality scoring pressure alongside another primary ball-handler. Given his current showings and continued growth, folks should be excited about his upcoming sophomore season.
6’3 Micah Gilbert (Charlotte Christian)
There are many guys who could already be considered towards the top of their respective class, and folks could easily place Micah Gilbert in that category. However, his inclusion on this list simply comes through the notion that not enough people are talking about him in general. It should be largely unsurprising, given how he’s developed and transitioned from an appealing young prospect to a polished two-way leader. Gilbert already possessed skill and advanced feel as an eighth-grader but now has the size and athleticism to further establish himself within any context at the high school level. Given Charlotte Christian’s foursome of sophomores, Gilbert should be a seamless fit and vital cog for the Knights’ core going forward.
6’3 Austin Swartz (Cannon)
It’s been a pretty incredible twelve-month stretch for Austin Swartz, but still feels like just the beginning of his ascension into stardom. Though already a quality player at a young age, his physical growth and overall development as a leader has been something to see. Swartz is a very skilled, well-rounded guard/wing prospect with the ability to score with efficiency from everywhere on the floor. However, he’s arguably at his best when applying pressure from beyond the arc. Swartz is a knockdown shooter, capable playmaker, and useful defender who consistently stands out with his rebounding presence. He plays hard and displays intelligence on either side of the ball. Given the loss of multiple key seniors, one should expect Swartz to expand his production and take another step forward during his upcoming sophomore season at Cannon.
5’11 Carson Daniel (Central Cabarrus)
Sibling pairings, specifically twins, tend to receive the short end of the stick in regards to how they are usually evaluated from the general public. That being said, the Daniel twins have already begun showcasing separate, not redundant identities. Though both are already very useful and talented, Carson often stands out more through his mentality as a true floor general. He’s an extremely reliable playmaker with the necessary blend of IQ, craftiness, and quickness to get wherever he wants on the floor. Daniel does a phenomenal job of probing the paint and unselfishly dictating the action while still actively seizing any available scoring opportunities. He’s also a heady defender with a high motor and sharp instincts for forcing turnovers. The brotherly duo should honestly dominate and attract college coaches over the coming years for Central Cabarrus.