Since the last Carolina Corner, we have had a string of commitments from both Carolinas, a peak at our updated 2022 rankings for North Carolina and with February approaching, we look at the state-title favorites in each classification.
Tyler McKinney to LMU
One of WNC’s top players, Tyler McKinney of Asheville Christian Academy has picked Lincoln Memorial University as his college destination. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard is averaging 22 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for Asheville Christian Academy.
On his commitment Tyler said, “LMU was just the best fit for me. Coach Shertz and the staff made me feel at home and wanted from the beginning. It’s a beautiful campus and a school which has an extremely successful basketball program and puts extreme emphasis on the basketball program as a whole which is obviously paying off.”
His Head Coach at Asheville Christian, Andy Ray stated that “Tyler has worked extremely hard in the classroom, in the gym, and in the weight room to create an opportunity to further his education and continue to play basketball at the next level. He certainly is fun to coach and watch play the game. Lincoln Memorial is a fine school and has had tremendous success in their basketball program.”
Randy Jonhson to Holy Cross
Charlotte Latin guard Randy Johnson chose Holy Cross earlier this week over some other Division I and Division II offers. The lightning-quick point guard who spent the travel season playing with PSB-McCarthy on our HoopSeen stage at The Best of the South.
Johnson had this to say about his commitment, “They needed a PG and they so happened to fall in love with my game and once I went on my official visit I knew it was the right place for me. Coach Evans has been in contact with me everyday since the first time he reached out, they showed how much they not only wanted me but had a need for me. They love the way I can create for others and what I can do on the defensive end, as well as the leadership qualities I carry. Coach Nelson came down and visited my parents here in Charlotte a week before my visit and spoke highly of the school in terms of the academic side of things and what vision he had for the program. We all like the direction of where everything is headed. We’ve got a strong recruiting class that we’re still going to add to and some great young pieces already there. The timing was perfect. We’ll all have the opportunity to grow together and hopefully go dancing in March soon!”
South Florence Duo Make Decisions
6-foot-1, Justice Jackson, a shooting guard turned point guard this year for South Florence High School has committed to Head Coach Kyle Perry and Limestone. Jackson has length and scoring ability that should allow him to see significant minutes early in his career at Limestone.
His teammate at South Florence, Brian Sparks has committed to Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sparks, a guard that can get to the rim and has more of a slashing/scoring game is averaging nearly 16 points this season for South Florence.
State Title Predictions
In a week it will be the month of February. The last month of high school basketball. It sure does go by fast. Teams have had their shot at showing who is the best of the best. We take a look at who we think will be cutting the nets down in March in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
From the east, Raleigh Millbrook Wildcats have to be the team to beat and the team that many think will be the last team standing in March for the coveted NCHSAA 4-A state title. Led by New Mexico signee Nolan Dorsey, the Wildcats have one of the biggest teams in the state with 6-foot-9 Sam Hood, 6-foot-8 Will Felton and 6-foot-7 Eric van der Heijden. Their lone loss comes from national-powerhouse Montverde Academy from Florida.
From the West, North Mecklenburg is the best team I have saw this season from North Carolina. Led by Georgia Tech signee Tristan Maxwell, a chip-on-the-shoulder scoring guard and one of the most exciting players with the ball in his hands in the state and 2021 guard Chris Ford, Head Coach Duane Lewis should have his North Meck team taking on Millbrook for the 4-A title.
In the east, Fayetteville Westover is undefeated this season and are sitting at 18-0 on the season. Led by 6-foot-4 junior guard D’Marco Dunn is leading the way at 20 points per game and has been picking up Division One offers this season. Also helping out in the scoring column is unsigned senior forward Traymond Willis-Shaw at 14.3 points per game and 6 rebounds.
Heading West, Freedom High School in Morganton is the best team on this side of the state. Led by James Freeman and Bradley Davis, this one-two punch have been dominating the season for Freedom. Their lone loss comes at the hands of South Caldwell HS, 78-73 back on January 10th. Cox Mill HS and Ty Johnson are also right there with Freedom as the team to come out of the West.
The top team in the east, Farmville Central have been in this place for the past two seasons. Led by NCCU signee Justin Wirght and NC State junior commitment Terquavion Smith, Larry Williford’s program has only two blemishes this far into the season coming at the hands of Patrick School (NJ) and Millbrook HS at The John Wall Holiday Invitational.
The top team in the 2-A west division so far this season is Mountain Heritage in Burnsville. The Cougars are 18-1 this season heading into February with their only loss coming from Tennessee power Science Hill HS in Johnson City. Led by seniors Justus Shelton at 16.3 points, Callin Randolph at 13.1 points, Nathaniel Ledford at 12.5 points, Lucas Jenkins at 9.9 points this senior-laden group has been playing together for almost 15 years and will not take anything less than a state-title march in the coming months.
In the east, Washington High School is 14-0 to start the season heading into the final month. Led by seniors Cedez Norman at 17.3 points, Quymel Chesson at 11.4 points and De’Andre Downing at 13.5 points per game. Sophomore Omar Harris is punching in at 13.1 points per game and a big factor so far this season.
My prediction for the 1-A West is Lincoln Charter in Lincolnton. The 18-2 Eagles have been one of the top teams in the state for the last 3-4 years under head coach Bradley Gabriel and are led by sophomore Sam Cogan at nearly 18 points per game. Senior guard Axel Holm who has committed to 12.4 points per game and junior guard Troy Fulton is producing at 15.3 points per game. Their only two losses come from Living Water Christian and state private classification power Greensboro Day.
Updated 2022 HoopSeenNC Rankings
The class of 2022 for the state is strong and a familiar name is at the top.
Check out our HOOPSEENNC 2022 RANKINGS
The 6-foot-3 point guard had a tremendous November and December for Cannon School. He is a national top-10 recruit and spends the travel season playing with B. Maze Elite. Bradley has offers from Florida State, Xavier, DePaul, Boston College, Army, Arizona State, Texas A&M, Maryland, Seton Hall, Clemson, Texas Tech, Pitt, Wichita State, ETSU, Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, Auburn, and Wake Forest. North Carolina’s staff has been in to see him recently and Duke has expressed interest and started the recruiting process.
At #2 is Durham (NC) Academy forward MJ Rice. The ultra-athletic small forward has the size as a sophomore and skill level to be a top-priority for high-major schools. At 6-foot-6 Rice can play multiple positions on the floor and can defend multiple positions. He holds offers from Providence, Pitt, Ole Miss, NCCU and Boston College.
After some careful thought and reviewing notes, DJ Nix, a 6-foot-7 forward for Cannon School comes in at #3 in our rankings. Stretching the floor with his shooting and his length moved Nix up to the top-3. He was spectacular in two games at The Charlotte Hoops Challenge, scoring 26 points two nights in a row. Most of his scoring consisted of shots from beyond the three-point line and a smooth mid-range game. He holds offers from Boston College, Washington State, Houston Baptist and College of Charleston.
Pitt commitment Jalen Hood-Schifino comes into our first rankings at #4. The 6-foot-4 point guard is a Pittsburgh native and gives Head Coach Jeff Capel a legitimate top-25 player in the class of 2022. Playing at Combine Academy with a national schedule and his former NBA player travel coach Jeff McInnis gives Hood-Schifino the opportunity to play year-round with his coach. A facilitating point guard, he thrives at getting his teammates involved and his ability to get paint touches.
Christ Schol forward Deante Green rounds out the top five for the 2022 rankings. The skilled, mobile forward has a soft touch around the basket and has great timing with shot-blocking and rebounding. What will go a little unnoticed is Green will have two years playing with and battling in practice with Harvard signee big man Justice Ajogbor who is considered a top-80 national recruit. Green holds offers from Wake Forest, Xavier, Penn State, DePaul, Texas A&M, Elon, Norfolk State, NC A&T and Winthrop.
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