High School Sports

Why is former UNC star Jeff McInnis coaching a high school team? ‘I felt it was time’

Former UNC star Jeff McInnis on The Call

Former North Carolina basketball star Jeff McInnis takes The Call from the Charlotte Observer to discuss his new program, Combine Prep in Lincoln County and his plans for the future.
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Former North Carolina basketball star Jeff McInnis takes The Call from the Charlotte Observer to discuss his new program, Combine Prep in Lincoln County and his plans for the future.

In college at North Carolina, Charlotte’s Jeff McInnis became good friends with Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse.

All three went onto have long NBA careers, and now all three are coaching high school or college basketball.

In March, Wallace was named head coach at Durham Jordan High. In April, Stackhouse was named head coach at Vanderbilt. On Wednesday, it was McInnis’ turn.

McInnis, 44, was named head coach of Combine Academy’s national team.

Combine is a sports education boarding school on a 43-acre campus in Lincolnton. The school is owned by NBA player Trevor Booker, entrepreneur Jonah Baize, entrepreneur Matt Morris, and Entertainment Tax Advisors, a large consulting firm that primarily represents athletes and entertainers. Booker, Baize and Morris played basketball at Clemson.

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Jeff McInnis hugs Dean Smith prior to the Alumni Game on Friday September 4, 2009 in the Smith Center. Robert Willett (Raleigh) News & Observer staff file photo

As a sophomore at West Charlotte, McInnis led the Lions to an improbable state championship in 1991. He finished his high school career at national powerhouse Oak Hill (Va.) Academy and earned a scholarship to UNC, where he teamed up Stackhouse and Wallace.

McInnis was drafted in the second round by the Denver Nuggets in 1996. But in parts of his first five pro seasons, he had to fight his way back from Greece and the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association to get back to the NBA, where he would play in Cleveland with LeBron James.

After his NBA career ended in 2008, McInnis began coaching youth basketball in the Charlotte area, eventually starting a travel program, Team Charlotte, where he has helped dozens of players earn Division I scholarships, including current Kansas guard Devon Dotson, a 2018 McDonald’s All-American.

Former UNC star Jeff McInnis talks Steph Curry and the NBA finals, plus his former Tar Heel teammates Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse coaching plus the state of the UNC program

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