Kobe Christian, Gastonia Highland Tech, 6-3, Jr., G: Christian averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds as a sophomore.
Jackson Gabriel, Lincoln Charter, 6-2, Sr., G: One of the area’s top shooters, Gabriel averaged 17 points per game last season. The Lees-McRae recruit will lead a team that has gone 86-12 in the past three seasons.
Donovan Gregory, Carmel Christian, 6-4, Sr., W: Gregory, who signed with Appalachian State Wednesday, averaged 20 points and eight rebounds last season. He is one of the best athletes in North Carolina.
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Jayden Seymour, Northside Christian, 6-8, Jr., G/F: Seymour averaged 13 points and six rebounds last season and is one of the area’s most versatile players with his ability to play inside or out.
JC Tharrington, Charlotte Christian, 6-1, Sr., G: Expect his junior averages of 14 points, seven assists to rise. The Appalachian State signee could become his school’s all-time leading scorer this season.
Keep Your Eye On These Teams
Carmel Christian (3A private): The Cougars, who aren’t playing in a conference this season, have nine players getting Division I attention. Five signed scholarships Wednesday. Charlotte Country Day all-state transfer DeAngelo Epps adds to a group that returns four starters from last year’s state champion.
Charlotte Christian (4A private): The Knights return four senior starters from a 23-9 state quarter-finalist and added Arden Christ School transfer Peter Lash, a 6-5 junior who scored 15 points in his first game Tuesday. This will be a dangerous group that will be CISAA conference favorites and a legitimate threat to win the school’s first state title in 18 years.
Lincoln Charter (1A public): State power graduated three starters, but will again be strong. Four key reserves return along with promising freshman PG Anthony Breland. Expect another 20-plus win season and another state title run.
Northside Christian (2A private): Don’t let the 17-12 record from last season fool you. The Knights have averaged 24 wins per year over the past decade. College talent is everywhere including 6-8 forward Jayden Seymour and 6-4 freshman point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, who already has offers from Florida, South Florida and Virginia Tech.
▪ Providence Day will try to win a seventh straight CISAA conference title returning just one starter, junior 6-6 forward John Miralia. The Chargers are 53-3 against league competition the past six years.
▪ Gaston Day graduated three college recruits -- Nate Hinton (Houston), Quan McCluney (College of Charleston) and MJ Armstrong (Lincoln Memorial) -- but the Spartans still expect to challenge for a league title. Watch out for seniors Demilade Adelekun (13 ppg, 11 rpg) and John Crump (7 ppg).
▪ Highland Tech was 4-44 from 2015-17 but returns all five starters from a team that was 9-14 last season, including Kobe Christian, who averaged 22 points per game.
▪ Concord First Assembly has won 20 or more games for six straight seasons. Junior Cheick Traore (8 ppg, 8 rpg) and Eli Cupples (9 ppg) lead a team that’s among favorites to win the MAC title.
▪ Cannon School has three big-time freshmen in point guard Jaden Bradley, wing Harrison Alexander and power forward D.J. Nix. Despite returning two seniors, Cannon should contend for the CISAA.
▪ Keep an eye on Hickory Grove this season. Not usually a power school, the Lions have two budding stars in 6-4 sophomore A.J. Smith and 6-8 Jacori Owens, who recently picked up a Charlotte offer.