Anyone who has closely followed grassroots basketball within North Carolina should know about the dominance and unwavering success of Millbrook over the last five to ten years. They’ve definitely seen some noteworthy names come through, including Chris Clemons (Houston Rockets), but have maintained their elite status on a yearly basis without needing five-stars or nationally-regarded prospects. However, the current roster has more than enough talent to attract fans, college coaches, and everything in between. Guys like Will Felton and Eric van der Heijden have obvious appeal, especially given each of their production last season, but someone like Redford Dunton certainly adds a new dynamic to this group.
Previously at Heritage, Dunton has been a noteworthy name for quite some time. He was highly-regarded coming into high school, recognized as one of the top forty players at the CP3 Rising Stars Camp, and was able to contribute right away. Despite scoring the ball at a very efficient rate during his freshman season, there were still concerns surrounding his shooting mechanics. Unfortunately, that would follow him for the next two years. It didn’t seem to matter how blatantly effective and productive Dunton was in every facet of the game, coaches remained fixated on his shot form. In looking at the raw numbers, his shooting splits (FG%/3P%/FT%) have evolved in the following manner:
Based on his trajectory, it’s even more surprising that college coaches haven’t begun to make him more of a priority. Furthermore, there is a distinct difference between possessing broken and unorthodox shot mechanics. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a broken jumper while Lonzo Ball does not. Folks were determined to pick apart Ball’s form but he’s already become an above-average shooter in the NBA with just some minor tweaks. Let’s put it this way, Dunton would hold at least a handful of offers if he shot the exact same percentages with different mechanics—which is genuinely bizarre.
Regardless of his recruitment, there’s no denying that Dunton will be a clear asset to Millbrook. His pending arrival at the wing/forward position allows Van der Heijden to slide down into what is likely his natural place as a skilled, floor-spacing power forward while Felton can continue to anchor the middle. Though they are very different players, Dunton’s addition somewhat nullifies the loss of Sam Hood. He will provide IQ, scoring, defense, rebounding, toughness, and a well-rounded presence to an already-successful Millbrook squad.
As far as the team construct, there have been some potential questions regarding their backcourt depth. Although they are set to lose six seniors (including Jalen McCoy, Adam Carey, and Zach Miller), Chris Daniels and Silas Demary Jr. should offer enough scoring and initiation skills to operate as their lead creators. Beyond that, this group probably won’t destroy teams from three-point territory but should have enough perimeter shooting to get by. It’s likely that Millbrook’s upcoming season will have a “championship or bust” type of feel due to their veteran-laden roster. The NCHSAA 4A classification could be as much of an open race as ever before, so will the addition of Dunton vault this group to the next level?