By: Wake Hoops
As we finally reach the top five for the 2025 class, we find ourselves with five guys who should leave their marks on the national scene when it's all said and done. Some of them have already begun doing that while others are due for a breakthrough any week now.
The complete rankings can be found here.
(1) 6'6' Jackson Keith (Southern)
Keith has won District 6 POY in back-to-back years with a real opportunity to be the first 4-time District POY in the history of the NCBCA. After leading Southern to a second straight third-round appearance in the 3A playoffs, Keith followed that up with a very productive individual summer. He was invited to both the Pangos and Adidas All-American camps, having standout performances at each event. He's an elite scorer with a well-rounded shot-making arsenal. He has a physical frame and he's more than comfortable using that strength to his advantage, specifically when creating space for his shot. He thrives getting downhill, able to finish in traffic, pull up in a variety of ways, or make the correct passing read. He has a lot of defensive upside, thanks to his instincts and physical tools. He matches up well 2-4, able to slide his feet like a guard and wall up like a big. He has all the makings of a prototypical ACC wing, and his national stock will only continue to rise over the next two seasons.
(2) 6'8' Colt Langdon (Millbrook)
Langdon is already amongst the long list of Millbrook greats and has the potential to go down as the greatest, becoming a rare sophomore to reach the 1,000-point mark. He's an elite shooter with great size and an active motor. He's a career 39% shooter from three on over 5 attempts/game. He has guard skills on the wing and a mature mid-post scoring arsenal to compliment his outside prowess. He's been on a steady incline as an overall athlete and as the burst and vertical pop continue to improve, we should see more layers being added to his game. He's remarkably consistent as a scorer, rebounder, and defender and rarely has an off night. Defensively, he plays hard and with good instincts. He's savvy, able to outsmart more athletic matchups. His high floor and obvious role at the next level make him a legit national prospect and he's currently being treated as such.
(3) 6'8' Isaac Ericksen (Green Level)
Ericksen is the most unheralded of the top five as far as recruitment and national attention goes as he's still relatively a secret outside of NC. That shouldn't last much longer as Ericksen has all the makings of a breakout prospect. He was the focal point of one of the best independent teams in the state this summer with SW15H Elite. As the focal point, he showcased his ability to create off the dribble, finish through traffic, defend multiple positions, and (most importantly) space the floor consistently from deep. His shooting mechanics continue to look more fluid with each viewing. He has shown real flashes of isolation scoring off the dribble and it's an area of his game that can really boost his stock as he continues to fill into his frame and add strength. Ericksen can play a variety of roles at the next level and seeing where specifically he will fit best is still to be determined given how unique his skillset is.
(4) 6'8' Preston Copeland (St. David's)
Copeland is a prototypical rim-to-rim big that has come on very strong over the past 6-8 months. He's gone from a future project to productive and occasionally dominant. He's a legit 6'8' with a strong frame and great athletic tools. He gets off the ground quickly when going for rebounds, contests, or finishes. He's also very mobile and moves very fluidly in the open court and in tight spaces. He has a knack for blocking shots and continues to be one of the best rim protectors in the state. Offensively, he's very comfortable as a roller, working as a good finisher and passer. He has solid vision and is able to quickly find the open man when doubled. Copeland is still putting the pieces together and we should see another jump from him sometime soon. He has soft hands and good footwork which, combined with all his other intangibles, lays the groundwork for a pretty promising and fun prospect.
(5) 6'8' Andrew Grimes (Clayton) Grimes is an interesting forward prospect as he's very productive as a scorer and defender and he still has plenty of room to grow before he hits his ceiling. He averaged 17p/7r/2b this past winter for Clayton, earning himself a spot on our All-GNRC 1st Team and GNRC All-Defensive Team. His base value comes as a rim-running big man that can protect the paint at a high level, but Grimes has shown that he can expand beyond that. While he only shot 23% from three last year, the FT% (76% on 114a) and his fluid mechanics give reason to believe that he'll be a valuable shooter sooner rather than later. He's an active rebounder with a solid motor and good instincts. He's improving rapidly as a fluid mover with some real flashes being shown last season, especially when he was in the open court. He looked very comfortable handling the ball and creating for himself in spurts, a trait that should be looked at closely this season. As a post threat, he knows how to properly seal and can score in isolated back-to-basket matchups with relative efficiency. There are a lot of variables that seem to be right on the edge of a breakthrough for Grimes, which should make for an intriguing winter.