The 3rd annual Carolina Challenge was once again a big hit; filled with 80 of the top high school basketball players in the state of North Carolina, from the 2010 class through the 2012 class. The event, held at Cary Academy brought out many who did not leave disappointed, between the high flying dunks, jaw dropping passes, and supreme athleticism, fans left wanting more. Below I will break down the top post players, top perimeter players, and the top sleepers from the camp.
Top Post Players:
CJ Leslie (6’9” SF/PF) – This one is a given. Leslie is a combo forward and showcased his extraordinary handle for a big man, but I still elected to put him among the post players based on his size and shot blocking ability. Leslie, a combo forward who is known for playing above the rim had a great camp; putting his full game on display. Leslie is a McDonalds All American talent and if he plays as hard as he did at the Carolina Challenge consistently will challenge to be top player in the entire 2010 class.
Damontre Harris (6’9” PF) – Harris is a long, athletic forward, who can knock down mid range jumpers, block shots, and battle for boards at a high level. Harris has flown pretty much under the radar for some time now, but that should change shortly. Harris should be a mid major lock and I think the high majors will come calling if he continues his development.
Marshall Plumlee (6’11” C) – Marshall was one of the few true post players in camp and should follow in his brothers’ foot steps, in turning into a high major prospect. He has come a long way since last season. He battles underneath, runs the floor well, and wears his emotions on his sleeve. His shooting form is a bit mechanical and his offensive game is not fully developed, but by the time he is a senior he should have a slew of scholarship offers.
Jacob Lawson (6’7” PF/SF) – Lawson is a very athletic, strong combo forward. Lawson, like Leslie plays both inside and out. He showed a nice release and rotation on his jumper from behind the arc, although not many baskets fell for him. And he battled underneath using his strong build and athleticism to board. Lawson should transition to a full time wing in the future and the high majors should take notice.
Top Perimeter Players:
Ian Miller (6’2” SG/PG) – Miller may have been the top perimeter player at the camp. Check out the NCISAA Tourney recap to learn more about Miller.
JT Terrell (6’3” SG) – Terrell who is committed to Wake Forest is a true showman and high level scorer. JT has a lot of range, can handle the ball, penetrate, and dish. If he can transition to the point, look out!
Reggie Bullock (6’7” SG) – Bullock is a mini Kevin Durant, a long versatile perimeter player. Bullock has a lot of upside and that is probably why UNC got him as a sophomore. His best days are still ahead of him.
Marquis Rankin (6’ PG) – Rankin did more than I have ever seen before out of him. He really cut loose showing a pretty jumper with range, a lot of leaping ability (throwing two big dunks down in transition), and a strong handle. He convinced me that he is a high major point guard.
PJ Hairston (6’5” SG) – Hairston was one of the best shooting guards in the country as a sophomore. He has big time range and can knock down three’s in high volume when he is feeling it. Hairston a strongly built guard, can do more than just shoot it though, he uses his strength to muscle his way to the hoop, drawing fouls, and competes for boards.
Deuce Bello (6’3” SG) – Bello is quite possibly the top perimeter talent at the camp, which is saying a lot, considering Reggie Bullock, Hairston, Terrell, etc were all in attendance. Bello was wowing the crowd with his ridiculous athleticism in warm-ups and he continued to impress during the games. He has the ability to blow by his defenders with his first step or break them down off the dribble, with an impressive handle. Bello must develop his jumper and work on his fundamentals if he truly wants to reach his potential.
Top Sleepers at the Camp:
Akil Mitchell (6’6” SF) – Mitchell showed he has a pretty jumper and worked hard all day, using his solid build to compete for boards on the interior.
Jeremy Ingram (6’1” SG) – Ingram showed a super soft shot with big time range. He also impressed with creating off the dribble.
Stargell Love (6’2” PG) – Love is a cat quick, strong point guard. He has a tremendous ability to get in the lane, absorb contact and finish or find an open team-mate. If he continues to develop the jumper and cut down on turnovers, he can be very productive mid level player.
Detrique Baker (6’8” PF) – Baker is a pretty long, active PF, showed a solid mid range jumper, shot blocking ability, and hustle.
Corey Raley-Ross (6’3” SG/PG) – Corey was very impressive at camp, showing a great deal of athleticism, mid range game, and ability to get in the lane and cause trouble. Mid level schools should be all over him.
Anthony Thomas (6’7” SF) – Thomas has a lot of upside, a big SF with a nice mid range game and 3 point range. He handles the ball well for a SF and should be a fine mid major prospect.
Leek Leek (6’6” SF) – Leek Leek is a big time athlete who showed impressive range on his jumper. He is a very active player and needs to work on his right hand to realize his full potential.
Jacquise Moore (6’1” PG/SG) – Moore is a bundle of energy. He is a tremendous defensive player, racking up steals, and sliding his feet nicely. He is a very good athlete and shows the ability to get in the land to score or knock down long range three’s regularly.
Braxton Ogbueze (6’ PG/SG) – Braxton was very impressive for a freshman, hitting long range bombs, playing tough D, and competing with the older players.
There were many other impressive players that were not mentioned above, as the camp was loaded with talent from top to bottom. North Carolina hoops is on the rise, and this camp proved.