High School Sports

North Carolina’s top talent? Find them all in Cabarrus County

Cox Mill's Wendell Moore, from left, JM Robinson's Lavar Batts and Concord's Rechon Black have drawn offers from some of the best college basketball programs in the nation.
Cox Mill's Wendell Moore, from left, JM Robinson's Lavar Batts and Concord's Rechon Black have drawn offers from some of the best college basketball programs in the nation. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

The top high school basketball senior in North Carolina used to be Winston-Salem’s Harry Giles, a 6-foot-10 forward who spent the summer playing for his country with USA Basketball. But Giles has transferred from High Point Wesleyan to Oak Hill Academy (Va).

Giles might be the nation’s top player, regardless of class, and he plans to make his college announcement at the Phenom Hoops National Showcase in Winston-Salem on Nov. 14.

With Giles gone, North Carolina’s top senior looks like 6-foot-8 power forward Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, who transferred from Pinetown Northside to High Point Christian this season.

But in a rather unusual development, the state’s top players in each of the three classes below Adebayo’s all come from the same place: Cabarrus County.

The No. 1 player in the class of 2017 is Concord Robinson’s 6-3 point guard Lavar Batts Jr., who plays for his father at his high school.

The No. 1 player for 2018 is Concord High’s Rechon “Leaky” Black, a national top 20 player, who is a 6-7 point guard.

The No. 1 player in the class of 2019, Cox Mill’s 6-5 forward Wendell Moore Jr., is arguably the top player nationally in his class. Moore Jr. is just 14 , the age of many eighth-graders, and he already has four major-college offers.

“To have three high-major prospects from a small town like Concord is really unique,” said Rick Lewis, a N.C. scout with Phenom Hoop Report. “Start with Wendell. He’s 6-5 and projected to be 6-8. He’s sort of advanced beyond his age for a freshman. And unlike a lot of players with the reputation he has, he’s very unselfish.

“Lavar is 6-3 with a high motor and always give you max effort. Leaky? He looks like a younger, smaller version of (Duke freshman) Brandon Ingram. His torso is not that long and if it gets into proportion with his arms and legs, he could be 6-9 or 6-10. With the skill set he has, that’s pretty scary.”

Lewis predicts big things for all three Cabarrus County stars, but likes one thing especially about each of them.

“They are all three high academic students and high character kids,” Lewis said. “Sometimes we forget that. But it’s a pretty unique story to have that much talent in one town at the same time. That doesn’t happen often.”

Meet the No. 1s.

Lavar Batts Jr., Concord Robinson

Position: PG

Height: 6-3 Weight: 170 Age: 16 Grade: Junior.

2014-15 Averages: 18.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.0 spg

College offers: Tennessee, Old Dominion, East Carolina, UNC Wilmington, VCU, Yale, Georgia, Charlotte, Loyola Marymount

Interest: N.C. State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Butler, Vanderbilt, Marquette, Virginia Tech, Virginia

Coach’s quote: “Lavar is a hard working player on and off the court. He is a great teammate. (He) pushes and helps his teammates … and they enjoy working well together. The sky is the limit as long as he stays hungry and humble. Very lucky to have this kid on my team. He has a great group of guys to play with and this should be a great year.” – Concord Robinson coach Lavar Batts Sr.

Rechon Black, Concord

Position: PG

Height: 6-7 Weight: 180 Age: 16 Grade: Soph.

2014-15 Averages: 12 ppg, 5.0 apg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 spg, 1.0 bpg

College Offers: Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Charlotte, Georgia Southern, Western Carolina

Interest: Ohio State, UNC, Virginia, N.C. State, Syracuse, Maryland, Missouri, Marquette, South Florida, Florida, Stanford and Oregon

Coach’s quote: “What makes Rechon special is his basketball IQ. He doesn’t look to score a lot of points. He just wants to win. The best stat for a PG is a W. He’s been very humble during this process and I’m glad a kid that plays the game the right way is getting the recognition he deserves.” – Concord coach Jason Stowe

Wendell Moore Jr., Cox Mill

Position: PG/W

Height: 6-5 Weight: 185 Age: 14 Grade: Freshman

2014-15 Averages (at Harris Road Middle School): 22 ppg, 10 rpg, 8 apg

Offers: Wake Forest, Tennessee, N.C. State, Charlotte

Interest: North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Kentucky

Coach’s quote: “As great as Wendell is on the floor, he is even better off. He is a very humble kid with a contagious smile. He just turned 14 years old and has four major Division 1 offers and has yet to play a high school game. Basketball IQ is through the roof, his skill and ability is off the charts. (He) can play all four positions and really loves to get his teammates going.” – Cox Mill coach Jody Barbee

Related stories from Charlotte Observer