The 2026 class in North Carolina has a chance to be special. It has a combination of high level talent, potential and depth. It has a chance to be one of the best classes the state has seen in years. It is still early, but as everyone continues to develop, it will be exciting to see where the players in this class end up in the coming years.

On Sunday, the NC Sophomore 40 had some of the best talent in the state in attendance. Let’s take a closer look at the top performers from this weekend.

6’7 2026 Cole Cloer (Orange)
Cole Cloer is the top ranked player in the NC 2026 class and he showcased his full offensive arsenal this past weekend while earning MVP honors. Offensively, there are no gaps in his game. When you combine his length and athleticism with his shot-making and creation ability, he can score with the best of them. He has the ability to score from all three levels. He shoots the ball extremely well and with range, whether off the bounce or the catch. Over the past year, he has really improved his ability to create off the bounce and make plays downhill. He fearlessly attacks the basket, doesn’t shy away from contact, and can finish above the rim. One thing that impressed me with his play this weekend, were the strides he’s made as a playmaker. He has the ability to take over the game with his scoring or his playmaking ability. Cloer currently holds offers from Tennessee, NC State, Wake Forest, Iowa, Mississippi State, VCU, Appalachian State, and High Point. He is a Top 25 Nationally worthy player, and it won’t be long before he receives an offer from Blue Blood programs.

6’5 2026 Antonio McKoy (Harrells Christian)
Antonio McKoy was excellent on both ends of the floor this weekend. He was arguably the best two-way player in attendance. Not only did McKoy lead the camp in scoring, but he walked away with Mr. Defense honors. He has a high motor and plays every single possession with purpose on both ends of the floor. McKoy is the type of player who will help you win games. It starts with his pressure on the defensive end. He wreaks havoc both on and off the ball, utilizing his length to create steals and turn defense to offense. McKoy excels in transition, attacking the basket in straight line drives and finishing above the rim. Offensively, he has made tremendous strides as a perimeter threat. He showcased the ability to knock down multiple three-pointers off the catch. As he continues to improve as a shooter, it will open up his ability to attack off the bounce. And you will see his overall game and recruitment really take off. Expect McKoy to help put Harrells Christian in contention for the NCISAA 2A State Championship.

6’5 2026 Markus Kerr (Julius L. Chambers)
Markus Kerr is one of the youngest players in the NC 2026 class, having just turned 15 years old in August. With that being said, he has one of the most advanced skillsets and overall feel for the game. He took home Mr. Offense honors at the camp. Kerr plays the game under his own terms and doesn’t rush. He plays with poise and gets to his spots when he wants. He does a really good job of utilizing his size and changes pace well to attack off the bounce. Over the past six months, Kerr has put on noticeable muscle, which has really helped him begin to finish through contact better at the end of drives. At his size, whether it is in the midrange or at the end of drives, he is able to rise up and finish over defenders. In addition, he is a consistent threat from behind the arc. More importantly, Kerr has a really high IQ and makes the right play. Kerr is a high major prospect who currently holds offers from Wake Forest, VCU, Mississippi State, Charlotte, College of Charleston, Hampton, NC A&T, High Point, Mount St. Mary’s, and Radford.

6’8 2026 Justin Caldwell (Trinity Christian)
If we would have had an award for best post performance, Justin Caldwell would have walked away with those honors. He was the without question the best forward prospect in attendance. He was absolutely dominant on the interior. He commands so much attention in the paint. He is tough, physical, and creates deep post position. Caldwell does an excellent job of sealing defenders. He can finish with both power and touch, as he is able to finish above the rim and through contact, as well as go over either shoulder for the hook shot. He has tremendous hands and footwork. In addition, Caldwell has improved his quickness, explosiveness, and his perimeter game. These additions to his game will make him a mismatch nightmare. He can bully you inside or take you out on the perimeter, where he knocked down multiple three-pointers off the catch, and is able to face-up and create off the bounce with his improved handle. Caldwell currently holds offers from VCU, Mississippi State, Radford, Norfolk State and Hampton.

6’2 2026 Chaise Smith (Washington)
Chaise Smith has developed a reputation as a dynamic playmaking guard with quickness and explosiveness. In my previous viewings of Smith, he has showcased his ability to score the basketball from all three levels, creating his own shot however he wants. He has elite end to end speed. But what impressed me the most this past weekend was his playmaking ability. He earned Mr. Playmaker honors at camp and rightfully so. He puts constant pressure on opponents with his ability to create paint touches. I was extremely impressed with his decision making at the end of drives. While playing at that speed, he gets into the paint under control and delivers timely passes on target to his teammates, putting them in easy scoring positions. Smith currently holds offers from College of Charleston, High Point, and Hampton, but you can surely expect his offer sheet to grow this season.

6’8 2026 Josiah Sanders (Berean Baptist)
Josiah Sanders has a unique mix of size and skill, and it is no question that he is one of the best long-term prospects in North Carolina’s 2026 class. . He is at his best with the ball in his hands as a creator/facilitator, as he earned Mr. Playmaker honors at camp. Sanders has a high IQ, sees the floor extremely well, and makes the right play. He excels creating off the bounce, utilizing his size to finish through contact, but more importantly he wants to get his teammates involved. He can make all the necessary next level reads off the bounce, and at his size, he can pass over the top of defenses. He is more than capable from the perimeter, but as he continues to improve in this area, his game will take off even more. Sanders is a versatile defender who can guard multiple positions. In addition, he rebounds well and initiates the point of attack. Sanders holds offers from College of Charleston, High Point, Radford, Hampton, and Coastal Carolina. It won’t be long before Sanders picks up multiple high major offers.

6’6 2026 Michael Phillips II (Grace Christian)
Michael Phillips is without question the most improved player in the class of 2026. His game is rapidly taking off and has become a clear Division 1 prospect. College coaches need to put his name in their SIM card ASAP. It won’t be long before Phillips picks up his first offer. With each viewing, Phillips gains more and more confidence. At 6’6, Phillips has excellent length to go along with his sharpshooting ability. His ability to space the floor from deep and shoot over top of defenders, allows him to get his shot off with ease. In addition, he has a well-rounded skillset. He can put the ball on the deck and create off the bounce. He is a high IQ player who understands the game and doesn’t force the issue. Defensively, he is able to guard multiple positions given his length and fluidity. He rebounds well for his position and utilizes his length in the passing lanes. Phillips plays each possession with purpose and walked away with Mr. Hustle honors at camp, while also finishing as the second leading scorer. As Phillips continues to fill out and put on muscle, he will be a priority for college coaches.