They are calling Phenom’s 2nd Annual City of Oaks Classic the most live 1-day basketball showcase in the 919 this season. In 2019, Roy Williams and Duke showed up to a standing room only crowd with a great atmosphere and even better games. That has carried over to this season, as through the year, Phenom Hoops’ events have consistently provided excitement and storylines that have kept people talking.
Phenom’s 2nd Annual City of Oaks Classic will take place THIS Saturday (January 11) at North Raleigh Christian Academy. Here are the storylines that matter to the fans, the media, the teams and the coaches alike.
Bobby Pettiford vs. Carter Whitt … North Carolina’s #1 vs #2 PG in 2021
BACKGROUND – Whitt has all the national notoriety and offers, from schools across the country, and deservedly so. The Leesville Road junior has earned everything he has gotten, his goal coming into this season was to average a triple-double and win a state championship. Raleigh got cut short watching Whitt at the John Wall Holiday Invitational as he was only able to play in 2 quarters of the first game, he is worth the price of admission. But so is Bobby Pettiford. Widely thought of as the #2 ranked point guard in North Carolina’s 2021 class. Pettiford is an absolute blur with the ball in his hands and, in his mind, he is the top dog, the #1 point guard in the class.
WHY IT’S MUST WATCH – Both of these players are being recruited at the high major level. Whitt is a known commodity, scoring over 20 per game, and Pettiford is an unknown commodity, scoring over 20 per game. They get their guys running, and playing fast. Both players want this one, and they want everyone to know who is the best. Strap in and enjoy this show, it is sure to provide some ridiculous highlights.
North Carolina’s Top Scorer, Elijah Jamison vs. The Home Team
BACKGROUND – Louisburg junior Elijah Jamison is averaging 34.2 points per game this season, but this isn’t anything new. He averaged 28.5 as a sophomore last year. For his career, only 9 games into his junior season, he has scored 1,514 career varsity points. The 6’3” scoring guard claims offers from the likes of Ole Miss, James Madison, and Elon. Along with his 34 points per game, he is shooting 56% from the field and grabbing 13.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
WHY IT’S MUST WATCH – Tiny 1A Louisburg does get to too many populated places, so many people still have not seen him. Well, he is getting the prime 8 PM time slot here, and everyone will be able to get a look at what Jamison is capable of. Will he go for 40 in this one, maybe … Jamison has scored over 30 points in 8 of 9 games this year and has already gone over 40 in one.
Jaylon Gibson vs. Jonas Aidoo … The ACC Signee vs. Under the Radar, Under Recruited 7 Footer
BACKGROUND – Jaylon Gibson came out of nowhere last year, picking up 20+ offers from October until he committed to Wake Forest. The likes of Iowa, Providence, Houston, Rutgers, Texas A&M, and others offered him before he landed with the local team. Gibson is a long and very mobile 6’11” forward. He can run, jump, block shots, shoot the ball and the list goes on with his capabilities. Jonas Aidoo, also a senior, just turned 17 years old, yes, he is very young and already 7 feet tall. Aidoo is a 40% type 3-point shooter and is the best shot-blocker in North Carolina. Both of these players’ best basketball is ahead of them, as they have very attractive natural traits that are incredibly valuable looking forward.
WHY IT’S MUST WATCH – Gibson is still a player not many have seen, but he is a bonafide high major center who will be playing in the ACC. If there is somewhere that is below under the radar, that is where Jonas Aidoo lays. This will be a big matchup because both players also don’t get many opportunities to go against high major guys who are their own size. This one could be very telling for rankings and coaches alike. Expect to see a couple of 7 footers do some things not a lot of guys their size can do.
North Carolina’s Top Unsigned Senior, Justin Thomas
BACKGROUND – Well, according to the national writers at 247 Sports, the 6’6” unsigned senior is ranked #127 in the country. Thomas, a wing, has a great frame and a complete skill set on the offensive end. Due to the makeup of this team, he guards the post and initiates a lot of the offense. Throughout the process, Thomas picked up offers from the likes of Georgia Tech and East Carolina. Watching him play, it makes sense, he looks the part and when he gets mean and nasty, he plays the part too.
WHY IT’S MUST WATCH – With the early signing period has come and gone, a lot of colleges have realigned and updated their recruiting boards. Thomas should be on the top of many of the boards as a must-watch player. If the coaches are watching, the fans should be too. What you get here is an athletic player, with pace, shooting stroke and the ability to rebound. He is capable of highlight-reel plays each time he steps on the floor.
Holly Springs vs. Piedmont Classical … Great PG and PF Matchups
BACKGROUND — On the surface, these two teams don’t seem to have much in common. However, when you dissect the rosters, you see some definite parallels that will make for exciting basketball. Holly Springs has two seniors who are committed to Division 1 programs with 6’6” Kaleb Scott (PF) going to Georgia State and 5’11” Marcus Elliott (PG) going to UNC Wilmington. Piedmont Classical has one senior committed to a Division 1 program with 6’7” Evan Joyner (PF) going to NC A&T and a Division 1 junior point guard in 6’ Jamarii Thomas who will fight tooth and nail for everything. Secondarily all three of these committed players were teammates on the Garner Road 17u team this summer. Looking at the Kaleb Scott and Evan Joyner matchup, while familiar and teammates, they are night and day as players, however, both very capable of a highlight-reel play. Elliott and Thomas will be a must-watch matchup as both are incredible competitors who are skilled and capable of going for 30 on any night. Add in the other players on the rosters, Trent McIntyre, Qualeem Poindexter, Amare Miller, Jalen Joiner from Piedmont and Dante Kiesenhofer and Max Robertson for Holly Springs and this game will be high paced and exciting for everyone.
WHY IT’S MUST WATCH – The pace of this game, mixed with the athletes on the floor will lead to some exciting, high-flying action. Numerous Division 1 basketball signees will be on the floor, while numerous other players who carry offers will join them. Piedmont Classical plays FAST and Holly Springs runs their sets. Regardless, whoever is able to set the pace will get this one. That said, this one will have some stuff in there which will certainly bring you out of your seats. Grab your popcorn and get your buddies, the first game of the day could very well be the best ….
South Granville vs. Leesville Road … THE SHOW!!
BACKGROUND — Of course we talked earlier about the Whitt/Pettiford matchup, but both of these teams are so much more than one player. If Jalen McDonald is back for Leesville Road, this may be one of the highest-flying matchups in North Carolina, this season. Pettiford has his team playing fast and Kobe Jones plays high above the rim. Add in Wy’Kise Allen’s ability to grab & push and Micah Jones ability to really shoot it and you have guys playing fast, with floor spacing and confidence. Leesville Road is led by Top 50 prospect Carter Whitt, the PG who has eyes in the back of his head. Add in what you get from the addition of high-flying Jalen McDonald, the gritty play of Chase Hakereem and the toughness of Scott Martin and these two teams have the horses. What’s best is they both expect to win this game and will come out playing hard.
WHY IT’S MUST WATCH — We touched on it above, but each of these teams has “special” type athletes on them and they are filled with players who play together and know their roles. Both teams are incredibly confident and are used to playing with one another. Watch for some high flying acrobatics, some of the type things that bring everyone to their feet. College coaches should enjoy this and the common fan will enjoy this game filled with unbridled excitement!!