The Carolina Corner with @JustinByerly
In this week's Carolina Corner, we take a look at unsigned big man Jonas Aidoo, new offers for Jamarii Thomas, Luke Stankavage's Charlotte Hoops Challenge performance, the jobs WCU and UNCA are doing and a quick look at the top of the 2022 class.
NC's Best Unsigned Big?
In a class that isn't as deep for big men as years past, 6-foot-11 forward Jonas Aidoo of Durham (NC) Voyager Academy is a prospect who's recruitment is picking up traction and should be on mid-major to high-major recruiting lists for the 2020 class. Length and size are what is causing college coaches to notice Aidoo, along with his ability to stretch the floor and handle the ball. He can start the break off the rebound and can score from the perimeter while also having a soft touch around the rim and the ability to block and alter shots.
Appalachian State and High Point University have already offered Aidoo, who spent the travel season with NC Red Storm, one of the top independent teams in the state. Aidoo is receiving interest from Houston, North Carolina Central, Tulsa, Wake Forest, Rutgers, VCU, Temple and Virginia Tech.
A Quick Look at 2022
Our class of 2022 rankings will be coming out within the next month and we are going to dive into the top three prospects now. Here are the top 3 prospects in the class of 2022.
1. Jaden Bradley - The 6-foot-2 point guard had an amazing display at The Charlotte Hoops Challenge and proved his national ranking of a top-10 prospect in this class. He keeps his composure, can score from anywhere on the floor and can do it against anyone. He thrives in breaking down the defense and scoring in the paint while he is also one of the best passing point guards I have seen this early in their recruitment. He holds offers from the ACC, SEC and Big 10 among others.
2. MJ Rice - The 6-foot-6 Durham (NC) Academy standout spent this travel season in the 17U division with Team Wall playing on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit. He is one of the more athletic players in the country with his ability to finishing through contact, his ability to play above the rim, and his upper body strength. He is a constant mid-range shooter, has really good size for his position and he can create off the dribble. A more unsung attribute that Rice possesses is his rebounding ability. He scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Durham Academy in a win over Greensboro Day earlier in the season.
3. Jalen Hood-Schifino - The Lincolnton (NC) Combine Academy point guard has the size to be a dominant college lead guard. He has the handle and the decision making ability that shines for a player his age. He has a consistent three-point shot, he has a really strong feel for the game and has a high basketball IQ. Playing under former NBA player Jeff McInnis during the high school season and during the travel season with Team Charlotte will only make Hood-Schifino a household name over the next three seasons.
UNCA and WCU Off to Good Start
How about the job that UNC-Asheville and Western Carolina University have had to start their season. Mike Morrell's UNC-A squad is off to a 4-2 record so far, reaching their win total from last season barely into December. Wins against Brevard, Charlotte, St. Andrews and The Citadel with their only losses coming to the ACC's Wake Forest and the SEC's Tennessee.
Western Carolina is off to a 6-2 start with their only losses (4 point loss to Florida State) and Georgia. Their win total from last season was 7-25 overall and have almost eclipsed that mark at the start of December. Head Coach Mark Prosser has things rolling in the mountains of WNC.
A big match-up this wee, kend with UNC-Asheville traveling to Cullowhee to take on Western Carolina University on Saturday at 4 PM.
Piedmont Classical's Thomas Picks Up Offers
Jamarii Thomas, a class of 2021 point guard from Greensboro (NC) Piedmont Classical picked up offers from Mars Hill University and Catawba this week. The high-flying guard is coming back from an ACL injury last season and has started this season off with a flurry of top-notch games. He is at his best when he is attacking the defense and getting to the rim, he can score from all spots on the floor and is an above average passer. He also holds an offer from Lees-McRae that he picked up back in August.
Stankavage Has Big Charlotte Hoops Challenge
We all make mistakes. All of us. I am not condoning anyone's actions as being okay or sweeping anything under the rug. Regardless of what happened last year, Charlotte (NC) Ardrey Kell's 2020 guard Luke Stankavage is a Division I basketball player. Against Concord (NC) Cannon School, Stankavage made eight three-pointers en route to 38 points against arguably the best team in Charlotte and in the state. He needs to get his chance to play at that level and anyone still talking about what happened last season during the playoffs needs to move on. We do it for pro athletes all the time for things much worse.
Stankavage has paid a hefty price for his actions and now is the time to forgive and let the kid's dream of playing collegiate basketball run it's course. These are high school athletes that make mistakes on the floor and in life. Let them learn from their mistakes and continue on with their life. I won't name names, but it was good to hear a story about a father who's son has an offer from a Division I school that was in attendance on Saturday at the event, tell the assistant coach that they should be recruiting Stankavage. At the end of the day this is why I spend my time behind a computer or in a gym for a lot of days in the year, to help prospects get to college and get a degree.