Grimsley Emerging as a Top Public-School Program in Greensboro
Despite watching three of last seasonís starters transfer to other programs, it doesnít take much to see that Grimsley still has a roster worthy of attention. The additions of Richard Goods and Kareem Osman will help alleviate some of the lost production, but it also appears as if Nick Keith is ready to take another step forward as a prospect. Keithís skill, athleticism, and effortlessness as a scorer/shot-creator will be a nightly problem for opponents. Heís a useful playmaker and defender, but will also need to emerge as a leader for this group. Goods provides the team with something theyíve lacked since Travis Shaw/Daniel Cooper: a legitimate interior piece. Under the guidance of Coach Corbett, this could be massive for all parties involved. Add in the scrappy play of Osman and the blossoming identity of Henry Trent, and itís easy to see their path to success.
Lake Norman Has All the Pieces to Contend
It should probably go without saying, but this is easily the most talented roster Coach Hodges has seen during his tenure at Lake Norman. Between Will Googins, Josh Yates, Nick Arnold, Trent Steinour, Tre McKinnon, Taurean McKinnon, Grant Dryden, and several others, this team is loaded with college-level players. The Wildcats have a healthy mix of seasoned veterans and young pieces, but the Arnold-McKinnon-Steinour trio will ultimately determine how far this group can advance. Thereís a lot appeal throughout this roster, so itíll be interesting to see how things unfold during the season.
Carson Will Surprise Folks
Given the lack of attention directed towards Carson since the departure of Jamarius Hairston, this group will inevitably surprise folks this season. They are young, unassuming, and lack true size, making the perfect recipe for a team slated to outperform expectations. It all starts with CP Perry, who already possesses a high-level combination of IQ, poise, and polish for a freshman. His toughness, natural leadership qualities, and balance between scoring and playmaking should make him one of the most productive players in his class. Guys like Jacob Mills, Jonah Drye, and Colin Ball will also be major focal points. Mills is easily one of the best shooters in North Carolinaóregardless of class. Drye provides a crafty offensive game and scrappy defensive presence. Rounding out the group, Ball is a blue-collar piece who plays hard, does the dirty work, and actively fills in the gaps on both ends. Expect them to have their first winning season since 2018-19.
Prince Nwokemodo Tracking as a Notable Prospect
Given the fact that big men naturally tend to develop slower than others, there should be a lot of buzz circulating about Prince Nwokemodo and his overall trajectory. The length, fluidity, and motor have all been visible from an early age, so whatís new? Well, itís clear that Nwokemodo is making huge strides on both ends of the floor. Heís developed timing and is learning how to properly utilize the aforementioned physical tools to overwhelm opponents. At 6-foot-11, Nwokemodo is already a very impactful rim-protector and two-way rebounder. Heís excellent at swatting shots into the bleachers, but has also gotten better at simply altering shots without fouling. Nwokemodo does a great job of securing rebounds, locating a guard, and running the floor hard in transition (although he did look comfortable advancing the ball himself when necessary). Heís also an incredible lob threat and putback finisher with the athleticism and long arms to finish above or through contesting defenders. Thereís a lot of special qualities with Nwokemodo, so donít be surprised if he starts warranting attention from national outlets and high-major programs.
Chambers Continuing to Shine
Likely the preseason title favorite for most, Chambers seems to get better each time they take the floor. Sure, they saw several key pieces graduate from last season, yet might be positioned even better to contend for a championship. The steady production and leadership of Maurio Hanson and Jordan Patton are the main constants here. Thereís nothing preventing him from averaging a double-double as their returning focal point. Meanwhile, Patton remains extremely under-recruited despite being a versatile piece who produces in every possible setting. The addition of Markus Kerr and emergence of Tarris Bouie is a big reason why this group is firmly set in the top tier of programs in North Carolina. Add in guys like KaíMari Cooke, Jaydon Terrell, Malik McCotter, and Cameron Thompson, and the Cougars should go toe-to-toe with anyone in the state.
Asheville Christian Getting Better and Better
While they might not receive as much attention as other contenders, Asheville Christian will undoubtedly make a push for the championship. Itís easy to be enticed by the likes of Ian Bailey, Brendan Bailey, Gabe Erbeck, Liviu Anton, and Heath Skjoldager. They are a talented group with chemistry, a slew of college-level prospects, and a proven head coach in Andy Ray. Although they donít have the same on-paper appeal as others, their recipe for winning games will inevitably lead them deep in the playoffs.