Dave Telep's Carolina Challenge this past weekend showcased the top 80 high school basketball players in the state of North Carolina. The event proved once again that the state is a hotbed for promising basketball talent.
You can find some brief player evaluations below, including a few players that Wake's coaching staff has expressed interest in pursuing.
Devonte Boykins - 2014 PG: An active lefty guard who really likes to attack the rim. He has good ball handling ability and showed an ability to facilitate for others at times. He needs to learn to go right more often, though, and despite being very bouncy, he is a tad undersized so that could be an issue. Overall, however, he is a good prospect to keep an eye on. Bzdelik, Battle and Larue were at one of his state tournament games a few weeks ago.
JaQuel Richmond - 2014 PG: A very athletic guard who is tracking to be an elite high major recruit. He has break-away speed in the open floor and uses his athleticism to finish well around the rim. His ball handling is outstanding, and he also showed an ability to hit shots off the dribble. He can make careless mistakes on the floor and does need to improve the consistency on his jumper. He is definitely one of the top point guards in a state that is filled with elite 2014 guards.
Kendrick Flomo - 2014 PG: A quick 6'1 point guard who made a lot of good decisions on the court. He showed an ability to get in the lane and finish with either hand and also knocked down a couple of outside jump shots. He is definitely a guy worth tracking.
Shelton Mitchell - 2014 PG: In my opinion, he was the stud of the camp. Once again, he showed an incredible ability to lead a team, and this was a team made up of players that he does not normally play with. He dominated a match-up between him and Richmond. Everything a coach wants in a point guard he did - he demanded the ball, found others on the break and in the half court, and broke his defender down and scored or facilitated.
"Mitchell is an unbelievable guard," New Hanover coach Kirk Angel, who coached Mitchell's team during the day said. "I can’t believe he’s only a sophomore." Angel's New Hanover team won the NC 4A State Championship earlier this year.
His court vision is off the charts. He has good speed and quickness, but it is his change of pace that makes him so effective. I also saw him hit a contested three, but the ease at which he gets into the paint combined with his ability to facilitate is what defines him at this point in his development. He is absolutely an elite level point guard. Bzdelik and company are recruiting him hard, and he would be a huge get for the Deacs. Shelton's interview with BSD can be found here.
BJ Gladden - 2014 SF: A worker. He goes hard on both ends of the floor and is very aggressive in attacking the rim. He is not overly athletic but has a big, strong body that will benefit him at the next level. He finished the camp in the top five in scoring and will find a home in college simply due to his motor. He does need to learn to incorporate more variety in his offensive game, not just putting his head down and attacking the rim in a direct path. Wake has expressed interest in him in the past.
Christian Hairston - 2013 SF: An athletic, versatile wing who is kind of a late bloomer but is oozing with potential. He displayed elite athleticism, as he put down a few huge dunks throughout the day. At 6'7 he can handle the ball and is tough to stop in the open floor. His style of play can be compared to a more athletic version of Aaron Rountree. He did show an ability to knock down a few pull up jumpers but needs to work on his consistency.
Hairston has visited Wake twice and seems to really like what we have to offer. In normal years it wouldn't make too much sense to take Hairston, as we already have multiple players that can play the three spot, but given our situation I would not have a problem taking him. He has the ability to develop into a big two guard and has a very high ceiling. His interview with BSD can be found here.
Josh Newkirk - 2013 PG: A scoring guard with elite level athleticism who used this to finish in a variety of ways. He has an ability to knock known perimeter shots but will take a lot of them. He is very one-dimensional and needs to learn to impact the game in ways other than just scoring.
Theo Pinson - 2014 SG: ESPN ranks him as the ninth best overall prospect in the 2014 class, and he has the athleticism and potential to live up to this ranking. His jump shot has kind of a funky form to it but goes in more often than not. He loves to have the ball in his hands, and if he can add strength and learn to use his athleticism to attack the rim more often, rather than settle for deep jumpers, then he could be a dominant player at the next level.
According to ACC basketball recruiting analyst Clint Jackson, Pinson has a current list of NC State, Wake, UNC, Duke, Louisville, Tennessee, Kansas, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.
Greg McClinton - 2013 SF: McClinton has the potential to be a great player but needs to learn that he cannot take plays off and disappear for stretches of the game. He is a slasher who uses his big time athleticism to finish around the rim. His jump shot needs a lot of work, as it has a side rotation to it off of the release. Wake, Louisville and Xavier are on his list.
Martin Twins: Caleb and Cody Martin - 2014 SGs: Very similar players who are both 6'7 and are as fundamentally sound as you get at the high school level. Caleb, the better shooter of the two, showed he is able to knock down open jump shots on a consistent basis. His release is a little slow, as he got a couple of outside shots blocked, but that can be improved upon. The next day at the NC Phenom 150 Camp, his talent was on full display. He beat his defender off the dribble regularly and finished a few times with big dunks. This set up his outside game - at one point he hit three threes in a row off the dribble that really got the crowd in attendance going.
Cody has a solid outside jump shot as well but thrives by attacking the paint and finishing around the basket. The two will most likely be a package deal and are listing Wake, NC State, and Virginia Tech.
Tony Nunn - 2013 C: Nunn is a space eater. At 6'9 and 260 pounds, he really battles for position in the paint. Once he gets the ball, however, he struggles to finish. He really does not have a go-to post move. If this area of his game was developed, he could become a solid prospect, as big men are hard to come by. Wake has been rumored to be somewhat interested in Nunn, but he did not list Wake Forest. He claims a Cincinnati offer.
Chuck Ogbodo - 2013 C: Ogbodo is a raw center who is very limited offensively. Right now, he is much more comfortable on the defensive end blocking shots. However, he has only been playing basketball for two years, so he could develop into a solid big man. In order for him to reach his full potential, he will need to add weight to his lean frame. He currently holds an offer from Appalachian State.
Other players there that may be of interest were Patrick Rooks, Kennedy Meeks, Anton Gill, and Isaiah Hicks. Rooks is a Clemson commit who can flat out score the ball and stroke it from deep. Meeks, to me, was not that impressive but is an incredible passer for his size. Wake has fallen down his list and most likely has no legitimate shot at landing him.
Gill is big time. I thought he, along with Mitchell, dominated the camp. He can score from anywhere on the court and really competes. Wake really missed on him when he signed with Louisville.
Isaiah Hicks is a UNC commit and lived up to his high ranking by leading the camp in scoring. He is a very active athlete and even showed that he can step out and knock down mid-range jumpers.
Overall, what I came away with was that there are a lot of quality guards in North Carolina. With the departures of Chennault and Fields, Wake could definitely benefit from landing at least one of them.