High School Sports

Charlotte area’s best high school players hone their game at N.C. Top 80 camp

Hough High forward Qon Murphy (49) looks to pass as he is guarded by Berry Academy’s Jamarius Burton (42) during a scrimmage game at the N.C. Top 80 camp at the Proehlific Park sports complex in Greensboro, N.C., on Sunday, March 13, 2016.
Hough High forward Qon Murphy (49) looks to pass as he is guarded by Berry Academy’s Jamarius Burton (42) during a scrimmage game at the N.C. Top 80 camp at the Proehlific Park sports complex in Greensboro, N.C., on Sunday, March 13, 2016. Bill Kiser

GREENSBORO

Charlotte Catholic’s B.J. Mack hasn’t gotten much sleep in the past 24 hours.

After helping the Cougars win on Saturday night, Mack was back on the court Sunday for the N.C. Top 80 prospects camp.

“I got a few hours sleep,” Mack said. “I’m just trying to get better. I get to see how the game’s growing, and see all my friends I play against (in AAU ball).”

The N.C. Top 80, now in its third year, is open to the top freshman, sophomore and junior high school players in North Carolina as chosen by college scouting website PhenomHoopReport.com.

“The depth of the camp, the quality of the players and also the size,” of the players stood out to PhenomHoopReport.com founder Rick Lewis. “Plus, the average GPA (grade point average) of the campers was 3.5. That’s amazing, and the thing I’m the most pleased about.”

Mack was among the 27 players from Observer-area schools that took part in the invitation-only camp, which drew nearly 100 players to the Proehlific Park sports complex.

“I play against a lot of these guys all the time,” Mack said. “I’m already seeing things I need to work on, like posting up lower and finding my spots on the floor where I know I can score from.”

While Mack’s day was cut short – he sprained an ankle early in his first scrimmage game – it had still been a busy 24 hours for the 6-foot-8 freshman.

Mack said that he was still coming to terms with Catholic’s come-from-behind, 49-46 victory over Cary for the 4A state title in Chapel Hill on Saturday night. The Cougars had to overcome a 25-12 halftime deficit to win their first-ever state championship in basketball.

“Coach (Mike King) said at the half, ‘We’ve always been a second-half team, so this was going to be our half,’” Mack said. “Whenever we’ve been down, we’ve always came back in the second half and won.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet, not yet. It’s still kind of a blur to me.”

Strong sophomore class: While the soon-to-graduate Class of 2016 produced three national top 10 recruits from North Carolina, Lewis said that the state’s sophomore class could rival them just in sheer numbers.

Two of the top three sophomores in the PhenomHoopReport.com’s Class of 2018 rankings were at the N.C. Top 80 camp – Concord guard Leaky Black, a North Carolina commit; and Providence Day guard Devon Dotson. Concord Cannon forward Jarius Hamilton, No. 3 on the 2018 list, did not attend Sunday’s camp.

“We have at least three kids that should be a legitimate top 25 (nationally),” Lewis said. “It all goes in cycles – the 2016 class was one of the strongest in the country. I don’t think the 2018 class is going to be as strong at the very top, the top five to top 10, but there’ll be more kids in the 25-50 range and the top 100 range.”

Dotson gets award: Dotson, who helped Providence Day win its first NCISAA 3A state title since 1999, was named “Mr. Top 80” – the N.C. Top 80’s most valuable player award – in a vote of the camp’s coaches.

Other award winners were West Stanly sophomore forward Adafe Price (Mr. Defense), Raleigh Word of God junior guard Blake Harris (Mr. Playmaker), Raleigh Ravenscroft junior wing Ian DuBose (Mr. Station), and Burlington School junior forward John Meeks (Mr. Hustle).

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