Ranking prospects is an interesting method to try and encapsulate the fluidity of overall player movement. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who tend to form these ranking lists typically opt to make updates on a periodic basis rather than monthly or bi-weekly. Two important points need to be made. First (for those who oppose the aforementioned fluidity of rankings), all major “rankings” usually change from week to week. Look at ESPN’s NBA Power Rankings or MVP Rankings, they update constantly. The issue comes into play with amateur sports and projecting outward. If Player X outperforms Player Y, Player X should theoretically be ahead of Player Y (assuming they are the same level of prospect). However, this ideology is somewhat shaky prior to reaching the highest levels in a given sport. Second, and more importantly, this is not a ranking. Although these are top-tier players within their class, this list holds no relevance to Phenom Hoops’ actual rankings. Let’s take a look…
6’5 Comeh Emuobor (Ravenscroft/Team CP3)
Since basically surfacing last summer, pretty much everyone within North Carolina has gotten on board with the ideal that Comeh Emuobor is worthy of more attention from Division I coaches. The uptick in status is well-deserved, given his incredible combination of IQ, toughness, skill, and athleticism. However, upon adding in his elite defensive instincts, Emuobor’s stock rises even higher. His low-maintenance identity allows him to make a lasting impact without being required to be the offensive focal point—though he is capable of expanding his production and leading as needed. Emuobor is an excellent finisher and reliable shot-maker from the perimeter, showing consistent abilities as a cutter, creator, and spot-up threat. He’s a phenomenal rebounder for his position and regularly overwhelms opponents with his presence in transition. Despite being regarded as an obvious Division I talent last August and collecting a pair of scholarships within the recent months (Virginia Tech and NC A&T), Emuobor is still deserving of more offers.
6’5 Bryce Cash (Charlotte Christian/Team Curry)
It’s usually discouraged to have public bias towards an individual player’s recruitment, but there’s simply no logical explanation regarding the lack of offers for Bryce Cash. Maybe coaches want someone who started on varsity for a major program and finished in the top three of all statistical categories as a freshman. Oh wait, he already did that. Then surely they must’ve been waiting on him to showcase some type of clear growth and development as a sophomore, right? Obviously not, since Cash literally increased his production across the board whilst carrying his team to an improved record and being the leader in all statistical categories (except ranking second in rebounds). Although this is written text, hopefully folks can still feel the facetious tone bleeding through. Furthermore, Cash’s identity nor production has wavered during the travel ball season with Team Curry. It’s confusing how a smart, tough, skilled, well-rounded 6-foot-5 guard with the ability to run a team is being overlooked, but that’s nearly guaranteed to change over the coming months.
6’4 Jah Short (Farmville Central/Garner Road)
Anyone who has followed Phenom Hoops over the last few years should already know about the strong likening for Jah Short. Arguably no player in the state is more poised for a breakout high school season, which has been further evidenced by his production with Garner Road throughout the current travel ball season. From both a skill and physical standpoint, Short already checks all the boxes to be highly sought after by various types of Division I programs. Like numerous others, he actually showcases two different identities within the same player. Previously with Farmville Central, Short was clearly not the first option as a freshman or sophomore. Meanwhile, he stood out as an undisputed leader in the summer following both high school seasons. We’ve rapidly traversed through the last two years to reach this transition point, where Short will be tasked with maintaining his high-level leadership qualities and stretches of sheer dominance as the focal point for Farmville Central.
6’10 Riley Allenspach (Lake Norman Christian/Team Curry)
Between his lineage and long list of favorable attributes, few guys in North Carolina can match the overall appeal of Riley Allenspach. Due to playing a smaller role within Lake Norman Christian’s talent-laden roster, most folks don’t really know much about him. In the limited opportunities he received with the Ospreys, Allenspach mainly operated as a rebounder, hustle player, and floor-spacing option from the perimeter. However, it’s almost the opposite with Team Curry. In the travel season, Allenspach still displays range and flashes of perimeter ability but typically operates and produces from the block. He moves pretty well for his size and understands how to utilize his body on either end of the floor. Allenspach also displays IQ, touch, vision, and a willingness to run the floor properly in transition. George Mason became his first offer earlier last month, but folks should expect his offer sheet to grow exponentially over the coming months.
6’9 Jaydin Spillman (Winston-Salem Christian/NLPB)
Quite possibly the most underrated prospect within North Carolina’s Class of 2023, Jaydin Spillman should already hold five to ten scholarship offers from Division I programs. That being said, he has zero. While it’s understandable in some capacity, holding out offers for prospects who are already talented enough or potentially “too good” for some programs is becoming beyond idiotic. Since Spillman can already reliably rebound, block shots, and stretch the floor, one would think that the 6-foot-9 post player should be a definite priority for various college coaches. Add in his IQ, fluidity, and clear upside with continued physical development, and it seems nonsensical to even be making these points. Given the constant praise Spillman has received over the last calendar year, it’s truly shocking to see the lack of action within his recruitment. However, we’ve maintained that he possesses the necessary abilities to be regarded as one of the top prospects in the state by the end of his journey.