Player of the Year

Jake Hart – Senior – Fuquay-Varina

Hart averaged 13.5p, 9.9r, 8.7a, 3.4s, and 0.9b per game in conference play while posting five(!!) triple-doubles. Hart also shot 63% from inside the arc in conference play as well, a testament to his elite finishing. He posted season highs of 25 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists, 7 steals, and 3 blocks. Most players would be lucky to hit one of those numbers in a career and Hart hit all five in one season. If those raw numbers aren’t enough, he dragged one of the most injury-riddled supporting casts in Wake County to a 9-5 conference record including a win over otherwise undefeated Garner. There isn’t a player in the area who does more for his team than him and that, combined with the insane raw numbers and winning impact, is why Jake Hart is the runaway GNRC player of the year.

HM: Andrew Grimes – Sophomore – Clayton

Defensive Player of the Year

Jake Hart – Senior – Fuquay-Varina

Hart made the entire Bengal offense work but that wasn’t why he won POY. Hart is the winner of this award because of his ability to make plays outside of the scheme. He’s able to manipulate plays and shut down entire parts of the court. He has the best instincts and feel in the county and if you watch any Fuquay-Varina game from this season you can actually see him using hand fakes, head fakes, and jab steps on defense to trick opponents into making the wrong decision. This type of processing ability is something that you rarely see from a high school player and we won’t see it again for a long time in the GNRC.

HM: Andrew Grimes – Sophomore – Clayton

6th Man of the Year

Tayshaun Whitner – Junior – Garner

Guys that come off the bench NEED to impact winning, usually in a low-maintenance way, and that is exactly what Tayshaun Whitner provides for Garner. He’s a high-level shooter that has a high feel, meaning he knows when to shoot when to drive, and when to pass. He’s one of the scrappiest players in the county and that’s shown in his ability to finish at the rim and his ability to guard. He’s a rugged defender that doesn’t fear matchups and will often cause fits for his man if they aren’t mentally or physically tough enough. His younger brother, Darius, is the honorable mention for this award, playing with a similar rugged and chip-on-the-shoulder style that Tayshaun has, albeit with a different skill set.

HM: Darius Whitner – Freshman – Garner

Newcomer of the Year

Maleke Green – Senior – South Garner

Green was a much-needed addition to the South Garner roster, one that helped them finish 5th in the conference and advance to the semifinals of the GNRC tournament. Green averaged 15.8p, 3.0r, 2.2a, and 2.3s in conference play. He’s a crafty and confident scorer that can get to his spots with relative ease. He plays that same crafty and confident style on defense, leading to a high amount of steals and deflections, as well as constant ball pressure. Operating mainly as a score-first combo guard, Green was far and away the best import into the GNRC this season, earning himself this award and a spot on the All-GNRC second team (see below).

HM: None

Freshman of the Year

Darius Whitner – Freshman – Garner

The GNRC is LOADED with 2026 talent, with each school having at least one impact freshman in the program. Whitner stood out for this award because of his mature approach to the game and his ability to impact the game. Whitner came off the bench for Garner and was a winner each and every night (a lot like his brother, mentioned above). Darius is a pass-first combo guard and prioritizes energy and toughness over his stats. Let’s not get it twisted though, Whitner can go. At 6’1” with a strong frame and plus athleticism, he’s a nightmare defensively. His ability to get paint touches and then make the correct read out of it is second to very, very few in NC’s 2026 class. The combination of winning, production, and obvious talent gave him a slight edge over Beale (Garner) and Terrell (Willow Spring) for the award.

HM: Kingston Beale – Freshman – Garner, Xavion Terrell – Freshman – Garner

Breakout Player of the Year

Andrew Schneider – Senior – Fuquay-Varina

Production, production, production. Schneider averaged 17.4p, 12.1r, and 2a per game in GNRC play. He mostly plays within his role as a ‘15 feet and in’ big man that excels at creating second chances and finishing around the rim. He’s a workhorse that’s relentless on the glass on both ends. Last season he averaged about 5p and 4r per game in conference play. A strong indicator of future double-double potential but no one could’ve predicted this type of outburst. His ability to scale up his production this much and not dip in efficiency from year to year is impressive and a testament to his consistency.

HM: Jabari Green – Sophomore – Cleveland

Coach of the Year

Charles Graves – SE Raleigh

We picked Southeast Raleigh to finish 5th in the GNRC in our preseason poll, behind Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Clayton, and Willow Spring. The Bulldogs went 5-3 against those teams in conference play and finished in 2nd place, securing a playoff spot in the process. Coach Graves returned a ton of production from last season and made the absolute most of it. His schemes and defenses were tailored to his roster’s specific strengths. His aggressive and physical defense allowed a handful of players to wreak havoc before running the break. Offensively, the same chaotic nature followed, putting a lot of pressure on defenses with an array of players that can drive and score. Exceeding expectations is a sign of good internal processes and that’s where this award comes in. His players seem to have bought into his system and style and spirits are high on Rock Quarry Road. Like they always say, attitude reflects leadership.

HM: Kent Bloms – Garner

All-GNRC First Team

Jake Hart – Senior – Fuquay-Varina

See Player of the Year.

Chris Crudup – Junior – Garner

Crudup’s role for Garner was to score in volume and do it efficiently. He’s done just that all season, scoring in bunches and doing it about as efficiently as you could ask a volume scorer to be. He’s a very confident shooter that will let it go whenever he’s got the room and he’s an underrated finisher at the rim as well. He’s got great craft when attacking the basket and his ability to adapt on the fly is impressive. Being a top scorer on a 23-3 team is usually a recipe for earning accolades and Crudup earned this one.

Tanner Mikulecky – Senior – Garner

Mikulecky was a key contributor for 23-3 Garner and his impact is felt all over every part of the game. Elite shooter and even better at drawing charges, Tanner was Garner’s resident sniper and garbage man at the same time. One of the leading scorers on the team that played plus-level defense and was the lone senior leader in the rotation. Garner is looking to make a deep run in the state playoffs and his level of play will have a bigger impact on those goals than anyone else on the roster.

Andrew Schneider – Senior – Fuquay-Varina

See Breakout Player of the Year.

Andrew Grimes – Sophomore – Clayton

The future (and present) of the GNRC, Grimes averaged 16.4p, 7.6r, and 2.4b per game in conference play. If it wasn’t for his strong summer on the 3SSB circuit, Grimes would’ve been a prime candidate for Breakout Player of the Year but people knew the sophomore was coming and he absolutely lived up to expectations. He’s got a unique skill set given his obvious and dominant inside abilities and his intriguing and developing shot and handle. The 2023 class is lucky that they’re getting out now because, for the next two years, all of these awards will be his to lose.

All-GNRC Second Team

Maleke Green – Senior – South Garner

See Newcomer of the Year.

Dylan Setzer – Senior – Fuquay-Varina

A brutal case of pneumonia kept Setzer from being a surefire first-team selection this season. The senior was at one point leading 4A East in both PPG and threes made before being sidelined for over a month with the illness. He still managed to average 14 PPG in conference play, albeit on some less-than-ideal shooting splits. His white-hot start, combined with some ridiculous scoring performances in between, earns him a spot on the second team.

Immanuel McClain – Senior – SE Raleigh

McClain was the leader and veteran presence for a younger SE Raleigh rotation. He led the team in scoring, was third in rebounds, and second in assists with averages of 11.8p, 3.5r, and 2.7a per game in conference play. SE Raleigh plays with a lot of chaos, both good and bad, and McClain has been the calming presence for them all season. His teammates seem to rally behind him and his leadership along with his production land him this accolade.

Viktor Alao – Junior – Willow Spring

Alao has one of the highest ceilings in Wake County’s 2024 class. He displayed incredible traits all season, including athleticism, playmaking, and shot creation. He averaged 11.6p, 5.0r, 2.7a, and 2.1s per game in conference play. He operated as the main guy this season and he definitely improved within that role over time. Look for him to have a big summer and challenge for GNRC POY honors in his senior campaign.

Janiveon Guyton – Senior – Corinth Holders

Guyton produced at a different level but lack of team success landed him on the second team. He scores and rebounds at a high rate and is an obvious recruit for D2/D3 coaches in the region. Had the Pirates managed a few more conference wins, he would’ve really pushed for first-team honors.

All-GNRC Third Team

Ghab Scott – Sophomore – Garner

Scott is one of the unsung heroes of Garner’s team. He’s a great defender, and super crafty in the paint, both as a passer and finisher. Scott handled the lead guard duties a majority of the time and handled them about as well as anyone could’ve asked. He isn’t a flashy pick and didn’t light it up as a scorer but his impact was integral to Garner’s success this season. One of the best young guards in the county.

Josh Alford – Junior – SE Raleigh

Alford averaged 8.4p, 8.3r, and 3.2a per game this season. He operated as one of many secondary options after senior guard McClain. Alford earns this spot thanks to his clutch shooting and x-factor scoring. His combination of shooting, athleticism, and finishing makes him an enticing prospect to keep an eye on over the next couple of years.

Cam’ren Reyes – Sophomore – Garner

Reyes is one of the smoothest scorers in the county, regardless of class. He had a strong season starting for Garner, having a handful of scoring outbursts and always displaying an under-control and polished game. He has about as much potential as any 2025 guard in the state right now.

Jabari Green – Sophomore – Cleveland

Green is a confident scorer that broke out this year for a rebuilding Cleveland program. He averaged 15.2p, 2.4r, and 2.3a in conference play. He struggled with consistency at times but found his stride as the season went on. Green leads a bright, young core for the Rams and should have this program back in the playoff mix as early as next season.

Kaden Morris – Junior – Cleveland

Morris was a consistent force inside, anchoring the paint on defense and acting as a constant double-double threat. He’s a low-maintenance production machine that has a really high floor. His touch around the rim and feel on defense (see below) make him one of the better two-way bigs in the greater Raleigh area.

All-GNRC Honorable Mentions

Chase Seawell – Senior – Corinth Holders

Seawell provided solid production all season for the Pirates but the lack of team success hindered his chances to rise up these awards. The guard still deserves a mention due to just raw production. He was top three on the team in every stat and first in assists. Corinth Holders will miss his presence a lot next season.

Jon Robinson – Sophomore – SE Raleigh

Robinson was one of the X-factors that SE Raleigh relied on to get them to 2nd in the conference. His ability to score without eating touches is extremely valuable. He’s got limitless potential thanks to his skillset and frame. You have to appreciate the consistency and production that he brings every night to this SE Raleigh team.

Cole Murray – Senior – South Garner

Murray had a solid year from a raw production standpoint, averaging 9.1p, 4.9r, and 3.1a per game in conference play. His efficiency struggles kept him from earning a spot higher on this list but his consistency and production earned him this mention.

Justice Mitchell – Sophomore – Clayton

Mitchell was one of the most low-maintenance players I saw play this season. You don’t even realize he’s touched the ball and he already has 10 and 5. He’s solid around the rim, able to get to the rim and finish through and around contact. He’s only going to continue to improve so this start to his career is a great sign.

Keaton Bloms – Sophomore – Garner

The garbage man for Garner does a lot of the dirty work that keeps the Trojan machine running from behind the scenes. The coach’s son plays with high feel and is good at minimizing mistakes. He takes his shots when he gets them, makes the right read, and makes a consistent effort on the glass and on the defensive end. He doesn’t have the pretty scoring numbers traditionally associated with these awards but his consistent impact toward winning deserves the mention.

All-Defensive Team

Jake Hart – Senior – Fuquay-Varina

See Defensive Player of the Year.

Ghab Scott – Sophomore – Garner

Scott is one of the quickest players in the county and he takes full advantage of that on defense. His constant havoc on the ball cannot be ignored and he’s really good at making unconfident guards pay for their hesitancy. His lack of size doesn’t really seem to be a concern and he should be one of the top perimeter defenders in eastern NC by the time he graduates.

Jeremiah Grantham – Senior – SE Raleigh

Grantham is long, athletic, and can guard any position. He’s great at applying pressure to the ball, playing passing lanes, and acting as a weakside rim protector. Coach Graves consistently puts him in a position to cause the most disruption and Grantham delivers. Every team needs a versatile wing defender and Jeremiah is the best in the GNRC.

Andrew Grimes – Sophomore – Clayton

Grimes is already an elite rim protector that affects every shot around the rim whether he blocks it or not. This season he operated mostly inside and around the rim but in the future expect him to break out as an all-around defender, which could be his calling card as he enters college.

Kaden Morris – Junior – Cleveland

Morris is a big and sturdy anchor down low and disrupts a lot with his frame and instincts. He takes up a ton of space inside and his ability to move for his size makes him the prototypical rim protector. The NC State baseball commit is a high school version of Steven Adams, with a comparable frame and feel for the game on the defensive end.