This past weekend, Phenom Hoops traveled out to Rise in Advance, North Carolina for our annual Team Camp. This event always serves as a kickstart to June, as players go back to their respective high schools and prepare for the upcoming Live periods. There’s usually a fair number of takeaways but it’s also easy to get carried away or overexcited by the sheer change of pace from travel ball. Either way, various teams made noise, individuals put on notable performances, and coaches were able to assess their rosters. Among the most exciting, entertaining programs on display were the Wildcats of Lake Norman. Let’s take a closer look at some of their roster…
This roster construct allows for a slew of guys to shine, but 6’9 ’25 Trent Steinour will likely determine how far this group can go. His progression over the last twelve months has been legitimately spectacular. The foundational tools were already in place, but the improved strength and athleticism have really allowed his game to blossom. He truly checks all the boxes of a modern big man. Between his fluidity, touch, perimeter shooting, and timing as a rebounder and rim-protector, he has basically anything you’d want from a big man. Steinour continues to improve as a screener in the two-man game, where he’s shown the ability to effectively pop or roll. He’s also a reliable post-up option with the ability to go over either shoulder. Steinour rebounds well, anchors the paint defensively, and offers an adaptable offensive presence. It’s easy to see why he’s starting to collect offers from high-major programs, especially given his trajectory.
After showing flashes of greatness for years, it seems like 6’5 ’25 Tre McKinnon has put it all together. He’s a long, rangy wing prospect with athleticism, versatility, and a rapidly-improving skillset. McKinnon always possessed ball skills, but has clearly progressed as a creator—both for himself and others. He attacks the basket with consistency and plays well above the rim, but can also finish with craftiness or through contact. McKinnon is a versatile piece on both ends of the floor, given his ability to defend multiple positions, rebound at a constant rate, and alter his offensive approach based on matchup. He’s visibly progressed as a perimeter shooter, both from midrange and beyond the arc, yet still does a great job of applying downhill pressure. Add in his uptick in two-way energy, and Division I schools have been smart to get involved over the recent months. Expect his identity and recruitment to continue trending upward.
Upon making his returning appearance with this group, it’s safe to say the vast majority of spectators were impressed with 6’5 ’24 Bobby Hardison. Already a talented player prior to his season at Hargrave, Hardison has grown multiple inches while making clear strides as an overall prospect. Despite already having IQ, poise, and confidence—each of those traits has only gotten stronger. He’s smart, crafty, and well-rounded with the ability to play with or without the ball in his hands. Hardison shoots the ball at a high percentage, attacks well off the bounce, and can pull-up, finish around the basket, or set up others. He contains his assignment well defensively and rebounds the ball at a quality rate (especially for his size/position). Hardison is also great in transition and is capable of producing in various different roles. It’ll be interesting to see how his recruitment unfolds going forward, as he’ll be a major piece for this group. Various types of programs should be extending offers.
The guard grouping of 5’11 ’26 Nick Arnold, 5’11 ’25 Josh Yates, and 5’10 ’24 Will Googins each bring an impactful identity to the table. Despite his young age, Arnold is an incredibly poised, reliable two-way floor general. He’s an elite defender with the necessary blend of quickness, toughness, positioning, and instincts to make life absolutely miserable for opponents. Whether mirroring full-court or simply stifling ball-handlers at the point of attack, he consistently forces the opposition to explore other creation avenues. In addition to his nightmarish defensive prowess, Arnold is a highly intelligent playmaker with a tight handle and excellent penetration sense. He makes the right play with unwavering consistency and shines as a leader by example on both ends of the floor. Meanwhile, Yates provides a quality balance between playmaking and three-level scoring. He’s able to provide ball-handling relief but can also produce as an off-guard. Yates has only gotten better and better since returning from his injury, so don’t be surprised when his stock continues to rise. Rounding out this group, Googins is a scrappy, heady guard with the ability to do a variety of different things on the court. He’s capable of running the action, getting others involved, scoring from all levels, and making his presence felt defensively.
While the aforementioned six would be an ample amount of talent for most high school programs, guys like 6’5 ’24 Grant Dryden and 6’3 ’26 Taurean McKinnon just add to their load of contributors. Dryden provides size, energy, and a knockdown shooting presence. He doesn’t require the ball to be effective, but is capable of consistently producing in various roles. Dryden defends, makes hustle plays, and poses a lethal spot-up threat. Meanwhile, McKinnon is truly just scratching the surface of his long-term gifts. He’s a great athlete with size, length, fluidity, and a high motor on both ends of the floor. However, McKinnon’s skillset should only continue to blossom over these next few years. Expect him to gradually burst onto the scene.
Additionally, guys like 6’2 ’24 Fynn Hales, 6’5 ’24 Danny Burbidge, 5’11 ’24 Nate Cioffi, 6’4 ’25 Bryson Demby, 6’4 ’25 Kaleb Oloyede, 6’3 ’25 Caden Mendolia, and 6’3 ’25 Marco Papis are all capable of providing meaningful minutes off the bench. Each of the senior grouping displayed an understanding of how to make an impact within the flow of the action. On the other side, these juniors should only continue to see their respective roles expand over the next two seasons. Regardless, this roster has a considerable amount of talent—both to compete for a state championship and to appeal to college programs of all levels. The Wildcats of Lake Norman will undoubtedly turn heads this season.