High School Sports

UNC recruit Coby White, Virginia Tech recruit BJ Mack shine at NC Top 80 camp Sunday

Charlotte Christian's BJ Mack, center, is a Virginia Tech recruit
Charlotte Christian's BJ Mack, center, is a Virginia Tech recruit jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

How good is the high school basketball talent in North Carolina right now?

Well, the annual N.C. Top 80 camp for the state’s top freshmen, sophomore and junior high school basketball players had to expand to 120 players this year. Rick Lewis, an analyst for Phenom Hoop Report -- a web-based scouting service that tracks the state closely and hosts the camp-- said the homegrown talent right now is as deep as its ever been.

Lewis said the 2018 class, for example, doesn’t have the star power of 2016 -- a memorable class that produced three top 10 national recruits in Dennis Smith (NC State), Bam Adebayo (Kentucky) and Harry Giles (Duke) -- but it’s much deeper.

While some analysts have said 2018 could be North Carolina’s best class ever, given that depth, the 2019 and 2020 classes are also stuffed full of good players.

And that’s why Lewis took more players than usual this year.

“We just had to expand it,” Lewis said. “Everybody knows who your top 40 guys are, but once you get that next 40 in the mix, it’s tough. You can take 100 kids in North Carolina, put them in a hat, and they’re all just as good. It’s just unbelievably deep in terms of talent. Out of the 120 we had at camp, 100 of them are sure-fire D1 prospects.”

Lewis said N.C. players have more opportunity for exposure now with the plethora of summer travel teams around the state, versus in years past where there were just a handful. And he also thinks that North Carolina’s long-standing reputation as the “Hoop State” has a lot to do with it, too.

“North Carolina is a hot-bed for basketball,” Lewis said. “Just like all those years that South Carolina was a hot-bed for football. Kids eat and breathe basketball in North Carolina, and North Carolina (with more than 10 million residents) is the 10th most populated state in the country. When you have a state population like that and you’ve got the ACC here with North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest, basketball’s like a second religion here. Kids gravitate towards playing.”

The Top 5 Players from Sunday’s N.C. Top 80

Phenom Hoop Report analyst Rick Lewis offers his insights on the top five performers from Saturday’s annual NC Top 80 camp in Greensboro:

Keyshaun and Kobe Langley, Southwest Guilford, both 6-1, 2019

The day before the Top 80, the Langley twins led SW Guilford to the NCHSAA 4A state championship. Still they came to the camp and showcased their blend of athleticism and skill set. They are blessed with tremendous athleticism and may be two of the quicker and most explosive guards in their class. Both are committed to Virginia Tech.

BJ Mack, Charlotte Christian, 6-8, 2019

The Virginia Tech commit showcased an advanced skill set in the post and has the ability to step out and hit the mid-range jump shot. He has passer friendly hands and unbelievable footwork in the paint. We were impressed with his patience and poise throughout the day. In addition, he may be one of the better passing big men in the country. His passing skills from the post are reminiscent of UNC’s Kennedy Meeks.

LINK: Sophomore BJ Mack fulfills ACC dreams

Blake Preston, Charlotte Christian, 6-9, 2019

Without question, this was a break out performance by Blake Preston. In the first game of camp, he poured in 39 points showcasing a nice arsenal of offensive moves. He has excellent hands and ran the floor extremely well. Tracking as a mid major prospect, don’t be surprised for high majors to jump right in and start recruiting him sooner rather than later. He has all the physical attributes and intangibles that will make him one of the top hot prospects in North Carolina this spring and summer.

Hunter Tyson, Piedmont, 6-8, 2018

Hunter showcased a complete all around skill set. As a matter of fact, 247 National Recruiting Analyst Andrew Slater stated Hunter had a chance to jump into the national top 100 national rankings. He has good length/wingspan and has tremendous range. He can score from all three levels and demonstrated his advanced skill set at the NC Top 80. The versatile wing has the ability to put the ball on the floor and is also very tough and gritty around the paint. He is being recruited hard by Clemson and Tennessee and look for his stock to climb even more this spring and summer.

LINK: Piedmont High coach says Hunter Tyson is best high school shooter he’s ever seen

Coby White, Wilson Greenfield, 6-4, 2018

The UNC commit is simply wired to score and without question the best scorer in N.C. high school basketball. What separated Coby from his peers was the amount of energy and effort he displayed in all the station work and it carried over to the games. He averaged over 35 points per game and there may not be a better guard in the country at attacking and finishing at the rim. While he is one of the top players in the state and his national stock will continue to climb, Coby White is an excellent student and also high character young man.

LINK: How high-scoring Coby White came to choose UNC and coach Roy Williams