Given the shift into the new calendar year, this period always serves as a meaningful time for prospects and college coaches alike. On one hand, these high school seniors have already gotten somewhat of a feel for how their recruitment is going to unfold during the second half of the season. Most kids are still in the process of fielding offers and accumulating opportunities while college coaches are actually crossing names off their lists. It’s been said countless times in the last two years: high school kids are simply not getting pursued as aggressively as before. This might seem contradictory since over 30 players in North Carolina’s Class of 2022 have already pledged next-level commitments, but that’s largely due to the increased fear of losing their scholarship. The leverage for college coaches has become undeniable, but there’s still a slew of available talent that should warrant attention from Division I programs. After focusing on private/independent schools in our first installment, let’s take a closer look at the top available players in public school…

6’5 Chase Lowe (Weddington)

It should come as no surprise to see the list starting with Lowe, as he’s certainly earned every headline and bit of status over the last calendar year. The consistent buzzword surrounding the unique wing prospect is “winner.” Regardless of his skillset, position, or anything else, Lowe is a proven difference-maker and someone who legitimately contributes to winning in all possible settings. His identity is somewhat uncommon as a smart 6-foot-5 ball-handling southpaw with elite vision and strong downhill ability. Lowe is a lethal playmaker with the ball in his hands, but also scores the ball at a nice rate as needed. He’s also a quality rebounder and versatile defender with the instincts to force turnovers and defend multiple positions. There’s no need to overthink it, Lowe is better than his sluggish recruitment. 

6’6 Josh Scovens (Page)

The quick shift in eras at Page pretty much guaranteed Scovens for a breakout senior season, and he’s largely delivered. Although he’s having little to no issue of shining as a nightly leader, most of his supporting cast has struggled at outperforming expectations. Either way, that is no reason for Scovens’ lack of offers. Sure, there were some ups and downs during the summer (specifically with an injury), but it feels like he’s more than proven his appeal over the recent months. Twelve months ago, Scovens was still a forward attempting to become a wing. Now, he’s a true matchup problem at either position and can alter his approach based on opposing personnel. Between his IQ, size, versatility, and three-level scoring chops, some program is going to secure a gem in Scovens.

6’1 Davion Cunningham (North Meck)

It’s very interesting how folks will let an injury affect their feelings on a player (even after returning to full strength), and that’s seems to be what has happened with Cunningham. Prior to being sidelined last season, he showcased all the makings of a tough, sharp, heady floor general with the tools to appeal to Division I coaches. He’s a quick, timely defender with the blend of positioning, athleticism, and anticipation to force turnovers at a seemingly nonstop rate. Cunningham thrives in transition but is more than comfortable at making plays within the half-court. He touches the paint at a high volume, where he’s a reliable finisher and playmaker, and can knock down jumpers as needed. Cunningham is a natural leader and will succeed wherever he ultimately ends up. 

6’6 Jeremy Dixon (Kinston)

Although one would expect a lot of recruitment for the 6-foot-6 primary leader for a prestigious Kinston program, Dixon hasn’t gotten a fair shake. Like most players listed, he’s another guy who would’ve probably already collected offers and committed in a normal year. However, college coaches are keeping things way closer to the chest than ever before. The idea of passing on a long, tough, athletic wing/forward prospect with nice versatility on both ends of the floor has become a new luxury. When did we get to a point where programs can afford to not pursue or prioritize someone like Dixon? He possesses the skill, mentality, and general physical traits to be an asset for a variety of different programs. Dixon could be even better at the next level.

6’5 Logan Blair (Harding)

The fact that Blair has always been an overlooked and under-recruited prospect by college coaches only feeds into the negative trends of high school basketball. Too many folks are enticed by these typical combo-guards, when guys like Blair are actually able to move the needle. He’s a smart, strong, mobile forward prospect with the versatility to control the glass while actively toggling between three positions defensively. Blair is a natural glue-guy with the motor, toughness, and low-maintenance identity to truly thrive in all possible settings. He’s a reliable finisher, capable passer and shooter, and excellent overall teammate who makes winning plays on both ends of the floor. Every team can utilize someone like him. Blair is definitely a scholarship-worthy prospect and someone who should be coveted by a variety of programs going forward.