What an event. And when you have this much talent with this many good teams, there are bound to be some great storylines that come from it … We have talked about Cam Thomas’ scoring ability and how Jaden Bradley is the best point guard in the country …
Here are 5 storylines that stood out over the weekend (not sure how we narrowed it to only five and we may have a secondary article coming on this, but here is part 1)…
Combine Academy and Moravian Prep Make Case for Top 25 Recognition
Three weeks into the season and these two programs have become the most talked about in the region. Moravian came in with expectations, their breakout season happened last year. Still, with a target firmly on their back, they have decimated all comers to this point. Led by 6’9” 5-star Josh Hall and new NC State commit Shakeel Moore, Moravian has used their extreme length and athleticism to pressure teams up and down the floor. Moore is a game-changing on the ball defender and Hall is every bit of his 5-star ranking. Add in the mammoth Javarzia Belton, senior wing Jahmari Harvey with a deep bench filled with dudes, this team is on a clear path, taking all comers in stride.
Combine is in the position of Moravian last year. They are the team sneaking up on people, well, not anymore. This Jeff McInnis run team is the epitome of TEAM. Every night, it is someone different, capable of dropping a 30 ball. In this event, it was 2022 5-star Jalen Hood Schifino. Last week it was 6’9” Jacori Owens and 2021 Kris Robinson. Add in the energy of Ja’Mylan Blakeney, the toughness of Josh Rubio and the brashness of the 2023 studs Robert Dillingham and Mekhai Grant. This team plays together and McInnis has them running great sets, on both ends of the floor.
These two teams will match up next Friday, do not be surprised if the winner here ends up in the Top 25 nationally.
Cannon Suggests They’re the Top Private School Team in North Carolina
They have the talent, they have the coaching and they certainly have the confidence. Cannon is playing unbelievable basketball right now. A very respectable thing for them is their first three weekends, they’re going to Cannon to beat Cannon, going to Ravenscroft to beat Ravenscroft and now heading to Greensboro Day to play against the preseason Top 25 team. Like the matchup mentioned previously, this will be very telling for the top spot in the state. Sophomore Jaden Bradley is the top point guard in the country, for his class. He is as dominating player as there is in the hoop state. Add in what you have with sharpshooter Jarvis Moss and the gritty DJ Nix, this team has the star power to compete with anyone. Cannon will most likely enter next week as the top NCISAA team in the state, with a showdown with Greensboro Day looming on Friday night, who will probably be number 2.
Duke showed up 3 deep for Bediako. Alabama, NC State, Louisville, and others were all in watching the 7’ 2021 prospect play. Bediako did not disappoint, as he showcased a mix of dominance and upside to having every coach in the building drooling. Bediako had one 3 play stretch where he blocked a shot man up, knocked down a three, blocked a shot weak side then grabbed the board and pushed the break. Two plays later he caught a vicious body off an alley-oop. He is bleeding with upside, but he comes through with the toughness and timing. A rim-protecting big who can move and shoot with range is a valuable commodity, Bediako is just scratching the surface.
Jaylon Gibson Proves His Point
Playing against Oak Hill is no small task. Bradley Ezewiro is going to LSU and Emmanuel Okopomo has numerous high major offers as well. Gibson, a Wake Forest commit, did all he could in this one. He is a very long 7 footer, who moves like a wing. He is athletic, he shot the ball well and he showed he could handle and finish. So much upside here, but now he is on the radar, people see the ACC committed big man, is just that. An ACC level big man.
Greenfield and Trinity are Better Than we Thought
Greenfield continues to be slept on. We don’t know why we do it, they continue to win and the bring back talent. They are led by do-everything guard Dji Bailey, who is committed to Wake Forest. Creighton Lebo is the unsung hero, the killer. He guards the opposition’s best perimeter player and knocks down all the shots. 6’7” Trey Pittman held it down for the bigs. Collin Guilford and Jordan Lynch played excellent minutes this weekend and watch out for Hampton Evans, the 8th grader has called next.
Trinity is always good, this should come as no surprise. Led by their sophomore trio of 6’5” Freddie Dillione, 6’1” Jamari McDougald and 5’10” Cam Oates, this trio has excellent chemistry and they can all pass, shoot and handle. Add in do everything tough guy senior Trevon Jackson and 6’8” skilled Todd Burt and that starting line up is hard to match up with. With senior transfer Marcus Boykin coming in to solidify the guard position and 6’8” junior brute Rob Wright they have a nice bench too. Lots of talent on this team, with a depth of players, good size and shooter. Yes, watch out for this team, they have reloaded.