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Josh Tec's Carolina Jam Notes from Opening Night

16, Apr 2022

Josh Tec's Carolina Jam Notes from Opening Night

RALEIGH—I love North Carolina for a lot of reasons. There aren’t many places that I feel more comfortable in. I don’t know how else to describe it other than it feels right. Maybe it has something to do with how basketball-crazy this state is. Kentucky and Indiana are the only other places that I’ve seen truly obsess over the sport to the same degree. 

Having said that, it should be evident that I’ve been anticipating this trip to Raleigh for quite some time. I’ve already hit Sheetz and Harris Teeter. I have trips to Jubala and Black and White lined up too. I appreciate the small landmarks that let me know I’m not in Atlanta. 

I also appreciate the setup at the Carolina Jam. It’s pretty perfect. It’s got the feel of a massive event while not being overwhelming. As you can tell, I’ve had a great Friday, and the action on the court didn’t disappoint either. Here’s a quick recap of some of what I saw. 


Glad(den) I Started With Grassroots

My weekend in Raleigh started by seeing a convincing win by Grassroots NC in the 16U division, and I’m glad it did because I got a chance to see 2025 G Chance Gladden. The 6-foot-1 point guard out of Cary immediately caught my eye with hot shooting from the perimeter. Gladden rattled off a trio of 3-pointers in the first half to help set the tone for Grassroots. After his ability to let it fly caught my attention, the intricacies of his game kept it. I was surprised to find out that Gladden was so young because he comes off as mature beyond his years. I heard constant communication from him on both ends of the floor, which is often hard to goad out of young players. He was always the first to encourage teammates, call out assignments, and cheer from the bench. Read any of my writing. I appreciate that stuff. 

This Grassroots NC group is one that I’ll be coming back to as the weekend goes on. They have talented players up and down the roster. Gladden won’t be the only one you hear about from HoopSeen this weekend. I can assure you that. 


Dreaming’ Big, Winnin’ Big

Dream Big Elite took home a convincing win in their opener. After a back-and-forth battle with All Carolina DB Elite gained separation in the second half and won 75-67. 

JJ Henderson‘s versatility was particularly hard to miss. The 6-foot-4, long-armed forward is a good playmaker from the perimeter, and he uses his length well while playing in the post. Henderson already created some of the weekend’s highlights with emphatic, posterizing dunks—yes, multiple—and a handful of blocks. 

Another guy to watch on this squad is 6-foot-3 Paker Hodgson, who can shoot the absolute life out of the ball. Hodgson finished with 21, including four 3-pointers. 


Walker Woodall’s Winning Wildcats 

Walker Woodall helped close out Friday with a big-time performance to lead Wildcats Elite to a win. 

The 6-foot-5 wing was the embodiment of Wildcats Elite’s gritty win. Tough-minded and willing to stand his ground in a hotly-contested game, Woodall showed that he’s not going to back down from a challenge. He poured in 17 to help keep WCE’s edge over a tough, surging Norcross Heat team. 

Woodall brought the toughness, did the dirty work, and showed that he can step out and hit shots from as far out as Wilmington. 


Josh Tec

Josh Tec is a Georgia State graduate with a degree in journalism. Tec aspires to work in basketball media as his career continues. At Georgia State, he graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors and was recognized as a leader in the classroom. Outside of basketball, Tec loves movies and perpetually seeks out his next favorite film.