Per Wake Co. Hoops
2021-22: 20-7 (12-2), 1st in SWAC, 3rd Round of Playoffs (L to Panther Creek 69-73)
Gabe Proctor – Graduated – Playing at Guilford College
Isaac Holmes – Graduated – Playing at Indiana State University
Patrick Sams – Graduated
Sam Gregg – Graduated
Colin Cleary – Graduated
Andrew Hill – Graduated
Henry Deaton – Graduated
Mous Diop – Senior
Drew Weschler – Senior
Terry Hicks – Senior
Noah Toster – Senior
Aiden Neiger – Senior
Jalen Lewis – Senior
Kendall Lanier – Sophomore
Starters: Terry Hicks, Drew Weschler, Noah Toster, Mous Diop, Aiden Neiger
Bench: Jalen Lewis, Kendall Lanier, Chuks Ezeonu, Jake Mattachione
The Patriots finished last season with 6.58 Wins Over Average (WOA) which was good for 3rd in Wake County, 5th in 4A East, and 9th in 4A overall. They return six seniors, most of whom got little to no playing time behind a loaded 2022 class for the Patriots.
Apex Friendship is coming off of a 4-year run that saw the program go 81-20. Those 81 wins are second only to Millbrook in that span, and 10 more than anyone else. Every key piece from those 4 years is gone, and the question for the Patriots is what happens next?
In the Patriots’ 3rd round loss to Panther Creek this past February, their juniors (now seniors) played a combined 12 minutes, which is just 7.5% of the total minutes played (12/160). They lose a lot of valuable experience and are replacing almost everything going into this season.
Coach Lowman is one of, if not the best, coaches in Wake County. He has consistently gotten the most out of his teams and his most talented teams have made deep runs in the playoffs. Even in years with less talent, Lowman and his staff have continued to put unselfish, cohesive, and winning teams out onto the floor. This year’s team has sneaky talent and with the way this program operates, they are going to always find a way to be competitive.
This Apex Friendship squad will be led by two guys, Mous Diop and Drew Weschler. Mous is a tall, strong forward that can score at all three levels while Drew is a smaller, quick guard that can shoot from anywhere on the right side of half-court. These two together are going to be tough to stop but they will have to truly elevate themselves to new heights if they want to compete with the best in the SWAC.
Terry Hicks and Noah Toster are the 3rd and 4th guys in the Patriot’s big 4 this year. Terry is a strong-bodied guard that will most likely handle PG duties this season. Noah is a lanky wing that can do a little bit of everything, a swiss army knife type of player.
The bench is where this team finds a lot of their question marks. Their entire bench will be filled out with JV players from a season ago. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but Apex Friendship teams of the past are usually at their best when their bench is rich with experience. Younger players will get a chance to prove themselves and we will have to wait and see which ones step up.
My best guess for a player to step up is sophomore guard Kendall Lanier. Kendall is steady and smooth at the point guard position and has the IQ to thrive in the Patriots’ famous system. Kendall had a solid summer with the team and he impressed me with his ability to shoot and his ability to run the offense. There have been many great guards that have come through the school in the past few years and I can’t help but think that Kendall is next in line.
I don’t think that Friendship will continue to dominate the way that they have been in the past 4 years, but this is a scary team and I think people are underestimating them due to what they lost. They have a solid starting unit and potential off the bench. I expect this team to still be in the top half of the SWAC and to be in the playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised if coach Lowman’s group makes another playoff run this year.