This is the final week of major summer basketball for area high school basketball players. Many of the nation’s top players and top teams are in Las Vegas for various shoe company events and there are also some strong regional events going on this weekend.
Here is a peek at some area top performers of the week so far.
CANNON SCHOOL: Qon Murphy, Cannon’s 6-6 senior wing, picked up an offer from Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPU) in Indianapolis.
CHARLOTTE CHRISTIAN: JC Tharrington, who played for Charlotte-based PSB Elite, is playing this week with the Georgia-based Game Elite team on the adidas circuit. Game Elite is a team made up of rising juniors who are playing “up” on the 17U circuit. Tharrington has scored 16 points in his three games with Game Elite so far.
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CHARLOTTE COUNTRY DAY: Ryan McLaurin was 8-for-8 from the field in an 80-66 win over 1Nation Sports at the Fab 48 tournament in Las Vegas. McLaurin, the Bucs point guard, finished with 16 points, five assists and three rebounds in the 16U game for rising juniors. Teammate Alex Tabor made 3-of-7 3-point shot attempts and finished with 11 points, five assists and three rebounds. McLaurin and Tabor play for Team Loaded 704, an adidas-affiliated organization.
COX MILL: Rechon “Leaky” Black made national headlines when he announced earlier this summer that he was returning to Concord for his senior year and enrolling at Cox Mill High, the reigning 3A state champs which features rising 6-6 junior Wendell Moore (who was recently voted, by some publications, the top player from the 16U division from Nike’s summer circuit, the EYBL; Moore led CP3 to the championship).
Well, on Thursday, Black -- a 6-foot-8 wing heading to North Carolina -- made headlines in the semifinals of a tournament featuring the top eight 17U teams from the EYBL in Las Vegas. Black’s CP3 lost a double-digit lead and lost to EYBL 17U champion Oakland Soldiers and fell in the semifinals, but not before Leaky blew up on Twitter and made ESPN with a top 10-worthy throwdown. UNC coach Roy Williams watched from the stands.
GASTON DAY: This summer, 6-6 senior point guard Nate Hinton has become one of the nation’s most talked about prospects while playing for the 17U Team Loaded NC team that plays on the adidas gauntlet. Hinton helped Team Loaded NC to a win over the Iowa Barnstormers Thursday night at the adidas summer championships. Team Loaded also beat Iowa earlier this months adidas’ Gauntlet league national semifinal.
Thursday night in Vegas, Hinton had 11 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Gaston Day teammate Quan McCluney, who has battled injuries much of the summer, had 12 points and two rebounds.
HICKORY GROVE: Cartier Jernigan, a rising junior guard who plays for the Nike-based Team United organization, picked up an offer from Hampton this week.
NORTH MECK: Rising sophomore Tristan Maxwell, son of former Houston Rockets world champ Vernon Maxwell, got off to go a good start in Las Vegas with the Nike-affiliated CP3 team. He had 33 points in two games.
PROVIDENCE DAY: All-state point guard Devon Dotson left the Under Armour-affiliated Team Charlotte team and joined an adidas-based S.C. Supreme team that features national No. 2 recruit Zion Williamson. Williamson and Dotson took on LaVar Ball’s Big Ballers team from California, which features 6-3 guard LaMelo Ball, who has scored more than 90 points in a game and appeared on WWE Raw in the same year.
Williamson’s team won the game, which brought record crowds to Las Vegas’ Cashman Center Wednesday night. The anticipation and crowd were so intense that LeBron James was told to stay away (he is in town training with future teammate Derrick Rose and reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook). The thinking was that an appearance by the King could make an already large and rowdy crowd even more excitable.
Playing in front of the type crowd rarely (if never) seen at a travel ball event, Williamson finished with 31 points, nine rebounds; Dotson had 20 points and eight rebounds. Ball had 36 points, 12 rebounds and five assists and nearly one million fans watched it online.
Dotson also had a strong second game, going for 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists in a 84-59 win over Team BBC Thursday. Williamson had 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks. Dotson, who recently was updated to a five-star recruit by at least one service, battled with another top-level national point guard. Immanuel Quickley finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and two assists for Team BBC. Quickley is ranked No. 10 overall in the 2018 class.
▪ Also in Las Vegas, Dotson’s all-state Providence Day teammate Trey Wertz, who picked up an ACC offer from Boston College last week, is playing for Team Loaded North Carolina, with Gaston Day’s Hinton and McCluney.
Wertz had a game-high 25 points, making 4-of-5 3-point attempts and all seven free throw attempts, in a win over the Mass Rivals Thursday afternoon. He also had eight rebounds and four assists. In a second game Thursday night, Wertz had 21 points, making 5-of-8 3-point attempts, to go with five assists and five rebounds in a win over Adidas Gauntlet semifinalist Iowa Barnstormers.