Though intangible, chemistry is often times the major separator between “good” teams and “great” ones. Chemistry outperforms talent on a regular basis. However, the Charlotte Hoyas are an example of what happens when talent combines with chemistry. Their on-court success over the last year has led to the Hoyas being one of the premier independent travel ball programs across North Carolina. There’s something to be said about a deep roster of smart, tough, unselfish players who root for each other’s success. Add in the tutelage of Coach Damorio Jackson and the entirety of their coaching staff, and it should come as no surprise to see what they’ve achieved. With so many college prospects on the squad, let’s take a closer look at their individual pieces…
While leadership comes in various forms for this group, 6’5 Karon Boyd (Cannon) and 6’5 Isaiah Williams (Porter Ridge) are an extremely significant part of the Hoyas’ unique approach. Their IQ, toughness, and versatility allow both guys to actively operate and adapt within various roles. In looking at Boyd, his value to the Hoyas is obvious. Missing a game tends to let others shine, and it did, but his absence also showed just how much he elevates his teammates. His return only furthered this notion, as Boyd finished the event in fairly dominant fashion on both ends of the floor. He legitimately played all positions, initiating the offense, controlling the glass, and defending every opponent in his path at a high level. Boyd also displayed playmaking and the ability to score from all levels at a nice rate. That being said, it’s pretty clear that Williams’ is also as valuable as anyone on the roster. His motor is arguably what separates him from other similar players, as Williams leaves no shadow of a doubt in his desire to win. He’s a phenomenal rebounder and defender with the combination of IQ and skill to apply nonstop offensive pressure. Williams scores from all levels, shows a willingness to make the hustle plays, and truly epitomizes winning in every movement he makes.
The guard trio of 5’10 CJ Wilson (Kannapolis), 6’0 Marcus Morgan (Cox Mill), and 6’4 Rasheed Baldwin (Cox Mill) typically round out the starting lineup. Wilson is an incredibly smart, poised floor general with an exceptional understanding of how to run a team on either end of the floor. His calm, methodical approach and well-rounded skillset probably doesn’t receive enough attention, but it’s a massive part of what makes him so successful. Wilson offers great balance between scoring and playmaking, proving to be efficient and reliable in both areas. He utilizes his strong, sturdy frame to defend bigger than his size, force turnovers, and capitalize on transition play. In looking at Morgan, it’s easy to see what has coaches buzzing. He’s another smart, strong, fairly balanced guard with a downhill mentality and game-changing defensive presence. Morgan’s combination of strength, agility, and anticipation allows him to suffocate opposing ball-handlers for the complete length of the floor. He also attacks the basket with force and finesse, and is capable of setting up others or finishing in a variety of ways. Although there are a ton of quality shooters on this roster, Baldwin is arguably the Hoyas’ top three-point shooter and overall spot-up threat. At a long, fluid 6-foot-4, his value should be apparent to all types of college coaches. Baldwin isn’t just a shooter, but he’s certainly dangerous off the catch and displays an understanding of how to attack closeouts as needed. He’s also a reliable defender and rebounder with toughness and the ability to apply terrific pressure with or without the ball in his hands.
Their depth is strong enough to feature next-level players off the bench. 6’0 Seth Bradford (Mountain Island Day) is a very balanced, well-rounded guard prospect with a knack for making plays within the flow of the action. He can reliably pass, handle, and shoot the ball while making his presence consistently felt on defense. Guys like 6’1 Greg Wenger (Porter Ridge) and 5’10 Dante Tekampe (Pine Lake Prep) provide great energy and perimeter shooting. Both also stand out as useful team defenders with an understanding of how to maximize their respective two-way roles. In addition, 6’4 Nathaniel Stout (Porter Ridge) and 6’4 Tyler Powell (Cox Mill) provide interior toughness and quality energy. Both guys do a great job of playing within the team and not forcing the action, and consistently involve themselves as defenders and two-way rebounders.
In rounding out the rest of this talent-laden roster, the backcourt duo of 5’11 Jaden Smith (West Cabarrus) and 5’11 Myles Morgan (Cox Mill) offer clear purposes. Smith offers a calm, steady demeanor backed by incredible effort and hard work. He defends with toughness, makes the extra pass, and finds ways to produce within the team. Meanwhile, Morgan’s ability as a knockdown shooting threat is a nice complement to his twin brother and the overall structure of this team. He maximizes his touches, defends his assignment well, and doesn’t try to do too much. 6’2 Carlton Anthony (Porter Ridge) is probably among the more underrated players on this roster, given his natural glue-guy ability and willingness to affect all facets of the game. He’s tough, smart, and displays quality versatility for his size/position. Anthony hustles, defends, and fills in the gaps offensively. Lastly, 6’1 Cameron Goodwin (Cox Mill) poses another lethal shooting threat. He’s terrific off the catch, but also shows the ability to access midrange jumpers within one to two dribbles. Goodwin moves well without the ball and defends his position effectively.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this incredible Charlotte Hoyas group wasn’t either. It’s taken years of fine-tuning and hard work to reach their current status among the top non-shoe-circuit teams in the state. However, this is still just the beginning of the journey for this collection of terrific young men. College coaches have definitely taken note of their success, and have already started making priorities throughout this roster. Expect to see an abundance of opportunities awarded to this group over the coming months.