Prep Insider Blog

Boys Basketball Team Capsules: Cabarrus County

Concord’s boys are hoping for a big turnaround in 2017-18
Concord’s boys are hoping for a big turnaround in 2017-18

Here are previews for boys basketball programs in the Observer’s coverage area in Cabarrus County. The profiles were put together by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards.

To see more county previews, visit this link

CANNON SCHOOL

Head Coach: Che Roth (6th year as the Cannon School basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 85-56.

2016-17 Record: 21-11 (8-2 in the CISAA Conference).

2017-18 Conference: CISAA Conference.

Returning Starters (3): Jairus Hamilton, Sr., G/F (6-8); Qon Murphy, Sr., G (6-6); Alex Cox, Sr., G (6-2).

Other Key Returnees: Ty Alexander, So., F (6-7); Alon Parker, Sr., PG (5-7); Will Exson, Sr., F (6-5). Key Newcomers: Jarvis Moss, Fr., SG (6-2); Alex Katsikaris, Jr., PG (6-2).

Outlook: The Cannon School basketball has its own dynamic duo in Hamilton (23 ppg) and Murphy (17 ppg), who are both major, Division I recruits, surrounded by strong role players. The Cougars have the talent to be right in the mix to challenge for a CISAA conference title, and be a serious, NCISAA 3A state contender (advanced to state semifinals last year).

--JAY EDWARDS

CENTRAL CABARRUS

Head Coach: Jim Baker (1st year as Central Cabarrus basketball coach; 36 year as college coach).

Coaching Career Record: 344-236.

2016-17 Record: 13-13 (9-9 in the South Piedmont Conference (SPC)).

2017-18 Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (4): Jake Rowden, Sr., PG (6-0); Adam Roller, Sr., G/F (6-2); Keani Mitchell, Sr., G/F (6-3); Jaylynn Bennett, Sr., G/F (6-2).

Other Key Returnee: Derrick Butler, Jr., G (6-1). Key Newcomer: Jadis Heslop, Jr., G (6-1).

Outlook: Former Catawba College basketball coach, Jim Baker (36 years as college coach), a Central Cabarrus team that has been up and down in recent years. The Vikings return four senior, starters, led by Roller (9 ppg) and Rowden (9 ppg, Pfeiffer University baseball commit), but know nothing is going to come easy in a loaded, SPC that boasts defending 3A state champion, Cox Mill. Baker, in his 1st year as a high school coach, looks to get his team in the middle of the SPC race and back into postseason, where a guard-heavy lineup will be difficult matchup for most teams.

--JAY EDWARDS

CONCORD

Head Coach: Jason Stowe (3rd year as Concord basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 33-21.

2016-17 Record: 10-16 (7-11 in the South Piedmont Conference (SPC)).

2017-18 Conference: South Piedmont 3A Conference.

Returning Starters (2): Jackson Threadgill, So., G (6-6); Jaylen O’Neal, Jr., F/G (6-5).

Other Key Returnees: Jordan Stowe, Jr., PG (6-3); Jackson Lippard, Jr., G (6-0); DeVonte Sampson, Jr., G/F (6-5); Ismeal Hooker, Sr., G/F (6-2). Key Newcomers: Shavonte Byers, Jr., G (6-2).

Outlook: Concord averaged 25 wins per season for the previous decade coming into the last season, when they endured their first losing season in some time going 10-16. But this year, the Spiders have reloaded led by 6-foot-6 sophomore guard, Threadgill (8 ppg), one of the top players in the state in his class, and 6-fooot-5 junior, O’Neal (12 ppg, 7 rpg) leading a wealth of young talent like Sampson. While Concord is young, they have the basketball IQ, length and talent to get back near the top of the SPC and be a factor deeper into the postseason (41-point loss to Freedom, 1st round last year).

--JAY EDWARDS

CONCORD FIRST ASSEMBLY

Head Coach: Frank Cantadore (7th year as Concord First Assembly basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 139-147.

2016-17 Record: 22-11 (8-2 in the Metrolina Athletic Conference (MAC)).

2017-18 Conference: Metrolina Athletic Conference/NCISAA 2A.

Returning Starters (2): Stephen Edoka, Sr., G (6-5); Strahinja Rajic, Sr., PG (6-4). Key Newcomers: Cheik Traoie, So., F (6-8); Bailey Bonham, Sr., F (6-6); Jimmy LeProst, Sr., F (6-6) (Victory Christian transfer).

Outlook: Concord First Assembly has become a consistent, NCISAA 2A state power, averaging 24 wins per season in the last five years. This year, the Eagles have another strong team, led by all-state guard, Edoka (15 ppg) and senior point guard, Rajic (10 ppg), which should give them a chance to be MAC contenders, again. Coach Cantadore and company’s focus then shifts to the playoff, where they were one win shy of playing for a state title last year. This season, Concord First Assembly wants to finish their season with a championship celebration.

--JAY EDWARDS

COX MILL

Head Coach: Jody Barbee (5th year as Cox Mill basketball coach).

Coaching Record: 91-27 at Cox Mill.

2016-17 Record: 27-6 (16-2 in the South Piedmont Conference (SPC)).

2017-18 Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (4): Wendell Moore, Jr., F/G (6-5); Joel Hall, Sr., F (6-3); Cody Cline, Jr., PG (6-1); Caleb Stone-Carrawell, Jr., F (6-6, 200). Key Newcomers: Rechon "Leaky" Black, Sr., PG (6-8, 195).

Outlook: The rich are getting richer as the defending 3A state champions add former Concord standout, Rechon "Leaky" Black (North Carolina commit) to an already loaded team with their all-everything star in Moore (25 ppg, 9 rpg, major, Division I recruit), Stone-Carrawell (8 ppg). Cox Mill’s goal from day one will be repeat as state champions, and with their experience, length and talent anything less would be a disappointment for this team.

--JAY EDWARDS

HICKORY RIDGE

Head Coach: Robert Machado (11th year as Hickory Ridge basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 134-124.

2016-17 Record: 20-8 (14-4 in the South Piedmont Conference (SPC)).

2017-18 Conference: Southwestern 4A Conference.

Returning Starters (0): None.

Other Key Returnees: Dorian Bell, Sr., PG (6-0). Key Newcomers: Kevon Meertins, Sr., G (6-1); Raheem Thomas, Sr., G (6-2); Jarrett Gardner, Sr., F (6-4).

Outlook: The Ragin’ Bulls have won 59 games in the last three years, but will take on a whole new challenge moving into the Southwestern 4A conference without any starters back. However, Coach Macado has some experience on his roster and will look to the senior quartet of Bell, Gardner, Meertins and Thomas to help finish in the middle of the league standings and get to the playoffs in their 1st year in class 4A.

--JAY EDWARDS

JAY M. ROBINSON

Head Coach: Lavar Batts, Sr. (4th year as Jay M. Robinson basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 78-18.

2016-17 Record: 22-8 (14-4 in the South Piedmont Conference (SPC)).

2017-18 Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (2): Vi’chon Means, Sr., G/F (6-2); Isaac Boothe, So., PG (5-9). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Coach Batts and the Bulldogs have a lot to replace including all-state guard, Lavar Batts, Jr (now at N.C. State). However, this year, Robinson will boast another dynamic backcourt in Boothe (12 ppg) and Means (14 ppg) as they try to stay near the top of the SPC standings and in position to make a playoff run.

--JAY EDWARDS

MOUNT PLEASANT

Head Coach: George Walker (3rd year as Mount Pleasant basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 59-57.

2016-17 Record: 10-16 (3-7 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Rocky River Conference/2A.

Returning Starters (4): Trey Barnhardt, Sr., G/F (6-5); Evan DeVitto, Sr., G (6-1); Brandon Smith, Jr., F (6-4); Bryson Efird, Jr., G (6-0). Other Key Returning Players: Ryan Bonnett, Jr., C (6-9).

Key Newcomers: Hunter Sloop, Fr., F (6-6); Wyatt Gonion-Waldref, So., G (6-0).

Outlook: Mount Pleasant earned double-digit victories for the 1st time in over a decade last year at 10-16. This year, Coach Walker looks to keep that momentum going with four starters back, led by Barnhardt (8 ppg, 6 rpg) and the 6-foot-9 junior, Bonnett. The Tigers have the ability to play big (6-9, 6-6, 6-5, 6-4) and have the talent to contend in the Rocky River conference and get a strong, playoff seed.

--JAY EDWARDS

NORTHWEST CABARRUS

Head Coach: Eric Jackson (5th year as Northwest Cabarrus basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 32-60 at Northwest Cabarrus.

2016-17 Record: 7-16 (4-14 in the South Piedmont Conference (SPC)).

2017-18 Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (5): Trevor Hobson, Sr., PG (5-10); Fredo Gustave, Jr., SG (6-3); Elijah Isom, Jr., F (6-4); Chalen Stafford-Gill, Jr., F (6-6); Davis Kirk, Sr., G (6-1).

Other Key Returnees: Hayden Murdock, Jr., G (6-2). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Northwest Cabarrus hasn’t had a winning season since the 2012-13 season. But this could be the year the Trojans change their fortunes as they return all five starters, led by Gustave (5 ppg, 5 rpg) and Stafford-Gill (11 ppg, 6 rpg). Northwest Cabarrus has the attitude, experience and talent to make a move up the SPC standings and get back into the playoffs.

--JAY EDWARDS

**Note: Carolina International did not respond to our request for boys’ preseason information.

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