It doesn’t make much sense, especially now with a steady stream of players coming from the state of South Carolina who are claiming major success. In this upcoming 2019 NBA Draft there are two players who played all four years of high school projected in the TOP 5. That is not it, you have guys like Nick Claxton at Georgia, Cartier Diarra at Kansas State, Jordan Bruner at Yale, Sharone Wright Jr at Wake Forest, Aaron Nesmith at Vanderbilt and many others who are climbing up draft boards.
Phenom Hoops is fortunate to run a nationally recognized company. In 2018 Phenom Hoops hosted 45 events, and saw 20,000 prospects, from across the United States and Canada, walk through its doors. Not only that, we are credentialed to the major events across the country. We see all the major prospects, rub elbows with all the major scouts and even field questions and conversations when asked about players from our region who deserve to be ranked high.
North Carolina and Georgia have no issues, with an abundance of players ranked year in and year out. These are the two states who butt up to South Carolina. The national media have no issues getting to these two states and seeing the players. However, there comes an issue when projecting South Carolina guys moving forward.
Not sure to what the cause is of this, a couple of things we can think of off the cuff are there is only one shoe sponsored travel ball program in the state. The Upward Stars program does a great job with their players, and their guys play at an extremely high level on the national stage. However, North Carolina has seven shoe sponsored programs and Georgia has six. Also, in South Carolina, many of the players tend to stay at home, at their base school. Looking at North Carolina and Georgia, there are a lot of moving pieces year to year.
Naturally, with their being thousands, if not millions, of players across the country to see, these few scouts are forced to go to the areas where they get the most bang for their buck. The shoe sponsored circuits and games where multiple prospects are playing in. Let us be clear, we are not saying they are lazy, however this national media is missing out on a large portion of a national level talent.
If you include Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, of the seven players mentioned above only Zion and Nesmith were ranked in the Top 100. The rest weren’t found on national rankings, however, they are now on the NBA boards. This 2019 class in South Carolina may end up this way as well. We all know Josiah James, and with DJ Burns classifying up to 2018 and Christian Brown and Juwan Gary transferring out of state, this state still has national level talent.
Here are some South Carolina players in the 2019 Class Who Should be on Every Top 150 Ranking
6’2″ Trae Hannibal (South Carolina)
Hartsville HS (Hartsville, SC)
Hannibal is stronger and more athletic that most point guards. He has excellent vision (possibly his best attribute) and an aggressive downhill type style that keeps the opposition on its toes, on both ends. Looking at the national rankings, Hannibal should be slotted in the 75 range. They should find out at South Carolina, soon enough.
6’1″ Tre Jackson (Iowa State)
Blythewood HS (Blythewood, SC)
Jackson is a crafty and high scoring guard who plays with a load of confidence. A game somewhat reminiscent of former Steve Prohm protégé Isaiah Canaan. He will be great in this pick and roll, spread system at Iowa State. He has the handle to get anywhere he wants on the floor, he has the footwork to get any shot he wants and he has the range to consistently knock down from 3. He played for Team SC this summer, the same program Ja Morant and Nick Claxton played with. He can get where he wants on the floor and get any shot he wants on the floor, against anyone.
6’2″ Chico Carter Jr. (Murray State)
Cardinal Newman (Columbia, SC)
Murray State is starting to become Point Guard U. It seems they bring in a new PG, groom him for a couple of years then put him into the first round. Well, after Morant leaves, Carter is up next. Carter has been on a tear this senior season, he is averaging 22 points per game and is winning. Carter plays with an unbelievable chip on his shoulder. He is one of the best self-motivators we have seen, which is the main reason (going along with all his skill) we know he’ll far exceed any expectations at every level.
5’11” Mikey Dukes (unsigned)
First Baptist (Charleston, SC)
Simply put, Dukes is the fastest player in the southeast with the ball in his hands. Dukes is explosive, both vertically and horizontally. He is a high level on the ball defender, for 94 feet, and very strong. Dukes plays fast, but with a great pace. He has control over the game and finishes with strength in the paint. He also has showcased a nice pull-up jump shot and excellent vision with the ball. Dukes is also a high major football prospect and will have the option of playing either, at a high level, in college.
6’8″ Jalyn McCreary (unsigned)
Legacy Early College (Greenville, SC)
McCreary comes from Georgia, but is spending his senior season in South Carolina. Legacy Early College is a top 50 ranked program, so it is a bit surprising how he is still under the national radar. The bouncy lefty is first and foremost ridiculously explosive, with his head at the rim. He also has great ball skills, with initiating capabilities and good vision with the ball in his hands. Look for him to have upside as a defender, both on and off the ball and as a rebounder from his wing position. Another one who should easily be within the Top 100.
6’7″ CJ Felder (Boston College)
Sumter HS (Sumter, SC)
Felder is a strong and explosive forward. He plays aggressively on both ends, well above the rim. Felder played this summer with the Upward Stars program and signed with Boston College during the early period. Felder’s game fits exactly what the modern game is like. He has positional versatility on the defensive end and he has initiation and finishing ability on the offensive end. With the shift of play style, the rankings should like a player like this.