HoopState Sleeper Report Volume 1: Class of 2017
Every year in North Carolina, there are exceptional high school basketball players that slip through the cracks of college recruiting. For example recently in 2012, Chris Flemmings of Cary HS went virtually un-recruited, yet became a star early in his career at Division 2 power Barton College. He would then transfer to UNCW as a walk-on and lead them in scoring in route to an NCAA tournament berth in the 2015-2016 season. Also in 2015, 5’9” freshman point guard Chris Clemons of Millbrook (Raleigh) took Division 1 Big South Conference by storm, leading Campbell University in scoring as a freshman while earning “Freshman of the Year” honors.
Hassan Whiteside from Gastonia, NC burst on the scene at Marshall leading the NCAA in blocked shots as a freshman before re-inventing himself as a double-double machine with the Miami Heat in the NBA. Stephen Curry who went virtually un-recruited out of Charlotte Christian in 2006 dazzled basketball fans around the world during his stint at Davidson, later becoming a lottery pick and the current 2 time NBA Most Valuable Player for the Golden State Warriors. Kent Bazemore, a 2007 sleeper prospect from Bertie HS in NC starred for four years at Old Dominion, and has since developed into a highly productive do-it-all wing for the Atlanta Hawks.
As mentioned before, every year at every level collegiately, there are a few players that slip through the cracks from the state of North Carolina and many of them go on to become highly productive college players. Some of them go even further. If you are a college coach and you love a sleeper prospect, listed below are a few players you may not be too familiar with, but these student-athletes all have the potential and skill to be a diamond in the rough for your program. Be on the lookout for them all this up and coming season.
Name, High School, Height, Weight, Position(s) (Projected Level of Play)
Stats are from 2015-2015 season.
Note: Projected level of play is subjective.
Jaquan Miles, Northampton County HS, 6’6” 190 SG/SF (MM-HM)
31.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 3.1 steals, 1.3 blocks
Jaquan “J.J.’ Miles has generated quite a buzz since January. He “quietly” averaged over 30 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists last season, garnering 2015-2016 Player of the Year honors in the Two-Rivers 1A Conference. Miles is a 6’6” rangy athlete that can get hot from downtown and has a solid mid-range game as well. He is surprisingly unselfish for such a bigtime scorer, showing a solid passing ability as well. Defensively, when active he’s shown to be a solid defender and an underrated rebounder. He picked up several Division 1 offers this summer and it’s a matter of time before bigger schools start inquiring about him. Expect staggering overall numbers across the board yet again this season and don’t hesitate to take a trip to small Conway, NC and see this kid for yourself.
John Bowen, West Bladen HS, 6’6” 180 SF (LM-D2) *4.3 GPA
12.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, 1.0 steals
Bowen is a long and deceptive athlete that does many things well. After enjoying a solid junior campaign and a solid summer with Flight 22 (AAU), don’t be surprised if he has a breakout senior season, landing a few offers. Bowen can put the ball on the floor, shoot over smaller defenders and drive by taller and bigger defenders. Defensively he can contest many shots on the wing and in the post. He has an opportunity as a senior to become the leader and be a matchup nightmare night in and night out for his West Bladen HS due to his versatile skillset and size. Potential is everything with this kid and if he plays up to it this season, colleges will be all over him.
Don Pigford, Greene Central, 6’4″ 175 SG/SF (D2-NAIA)
10.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.3 blocks
Pigford is a freakishly long and athletic wing. Possesses extraordinary leaping ability and uses his length well to crash the glass for put-backs and defensive boards. Doesn’t need to have many plays ran for him in order to be an effective player. Never really stops moving and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time on both sides of the ball. We could see him stepping into more of a leadership role in his senior season and solidifying himself as a do it all wing, capable of impacting the game in multiple ways. With an improved jump-shot and more evidence of his slashing ability to the basket, Pigford could really grab the attention of several colleges this upcoming season.
Tyree Wiggins, Ayden-Grifton, 6’3” 170 SG/SF (D3-NAIA)
13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals
Wiggins is a solid knock down shooter, hailing from Ayden-Grifton HS. He is rangy, lengthy and a solid slasher that could be poised to score a bunch of points for his HS team this season. During his junior season, at times he showed that he can really get hot from beyond the arc and pile on points in a hurry. Tyree possesses solid length and has enough quickness and athleticism to be a pesky defender when motivated on the defensive end. If he puts his mind to it, he could have much success in his senior season and attract several college looks before his final high school season concludes.
Devonte Pettaway, North Pitt HS, 6’0” 160 PG (LM-D2) *3.4 GPA
16.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.1 steals
This lead guard from North Pitt flew under the radar last season. Pettaway is a quick, fast, aggressive and confident point guard. He loves getting in the paint for mid-range pull-up jumpers and finishes well around the rim with both his strong hand and his off hand. He has an underrated court vision and a slick handle that keeps defenders off balance. He’s very good student in the classroom and college coaches should be making quite a few trips to check this kid out this season. With him at the lead guard position, North Pitt has the all pieces necessary to make a deep run in the state playoffs this year. He brings the toughness, grit and IQ to his team that all coaches love from their point guard.
Markell Freeman, Riverside (Martin) HS, 6’6” 185 SF/PF (D2-LM)
13.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 1.6 blocks
Do not be surprised if Riverside makes a deep run in the state playoffs this up and coming season. Markell Freeman will be a huge reason if they go far. Listed at 6’6”, he brings versatility on both ends, above average athleticism and a strong basketball IQ to his Riverside (Martin) HS team. Defensively, he plays passing lanes well, blocks weak-side shots, moves his feet well along the perimeter and draws a bevy of charges. Offensively, he’s sneaky in the post. He has a quick first step and finishes well at or around the rim. With his size, athleticism and versatility, Markell has a chance to become an excellent player at the next level.
Zion Jackson, KIPP Pride, 6’3” 170 SG/PG (D2-LM)
11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.3 steals
Don’t let the numbers fool you. Zion is a very capable and productive wing who played through a shortened junior season at KIPP Pride on the 2015-2016 season. As a sophomore, Jackson was a solid 18 point game scorer that contributed evenly across the board. Expect him to return to his previous form in his senior season and play his way into serious college considerations. KIPP isn’t known much for their athletics programs, but if you are a college coach that loves finding diamonds in the rough, here is the perfect opportunity to do so. Zion is a solid athlete with good length and a ton of potential to become a jack of all trades player at the next level offensively and defensively.
Tyler Maye, Farmville Central HS, 6’1” 170 PG (MM-LM)
24.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 3.1 steals
If anyone didn’t know who Tyler Maye was coming into last season, they should definitely know who he is by now. Maye took NC by storm, leading his Farmville Central HS to an undefeated season, securing the 2A State Championship and State Title MVP honors as. Maye possesses one of the best jump-shots in NC. He was deadly beyond the arc, from mid-range and finishing at the rim all least season in tune to 24 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game last season. Defensively he hounded opposing teams point guards and created a ton of easy scoring opportunities off of steals as well. Expect more of the same and more from the savvy lead guard entering into his senior season. Don’t be surprised to see his recruitment soar.
Tyjarek Simmons, Roanoke-Rapids, 5’8” 150 PG/SG (D3-NAIA) *3.2 GPA
15.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.7 steals
Despite being small in stature, make no mistake about the game this kid possesses. He plays much bigger than his size and makes life miserable for his opponents on a nightly basis. Tyjarek possesses extreme quickness, a smooth stroke and a slick handle. In transition, his ability to create typically leaves defenders in retreat mode allowing him to pull up and knock down mid-range jumpers and use hesitations that lead to uncontested layups. He is very much capable of huge scoring outbursts and willing his team to victories. Defensively, he’s very active and hounds opposing ball handlers in tune to snatching away nearly 3 steals per game. He will be under the radar in his senior season due to his size and playing in a small 1A conference, but this kid has game.
Zach Robeson, Camden, 5’11” 155 PG/SG (D2-D3) *4.1 GPA
18.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals
When it’s all said and done, Zach Robeson will probably be in the NC top 10 scoring leaders by the end of this up and coming season. Robeson has improved his scoring average every season since arriving at Camden in Eastern, NC. Expect another leap in his scoring production. He is a lights out shooter with an improving ability to create his shot off the dribble. Moves extremely well off the ball too. With every shot attempt, you feel he is going to make it. During summer competition, he showed off his improved handle and an improved lateral quickness defensively. His size may hinder him from garnering bigger looks from some schools, but his shooting ability and high basketball IQ should solidify him a few college offers regardless. Elite shooter.
L’Shawn Davis, North Lenoir, 5’11” 155 PG (LM-D2)
17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 4.1 steals
Davis is arguably the fastest guard in Eastern, NC with the ball. Labeling him as a blur would be an understatement. All he needs is the slightest creep of space and he will blow by even elite defenders with ease. Very shifty and electric point guard that gets to the rim at will and finishes well with either hand. Defensively, he’s very aggressive (although at times too aggressive) and gets tons of deflections and steals leading to uncontested layups on the offensive end. Has shown an improved jump-shot and an improved ability to find teammates in a half-court setting as well. Davis has already attracted the attention of several college program and looks to continue building on the success of his junior season and the experience he gained playing with Stackhouse Elite on the summer circuit.
James Moore, South Creek HS, 6’7” 190 PF/C (LM-D2)
15.1 points, 15.7 rebounds, 10.6 blocks, 2.1 steals
Only a handful of high school ballplayers can say that they averaged a triple double. James Moore, an explosive and long armed agile post player is one of them. He was able to consistently put up these monster numbers in his junior season while leading his South Creek HS team to the Eastern NC 1A Regionals before falling to the eventual state champion Voyager Academy. Moore has excellent timing and spacing when it comes to blocking shots and he makes life miserable for offensive players that aim to attack the rim. Offensively, he’s very raw but has good enough spring to dunk the ball off of drop steps in traffic and to gather several put-back slams every game around the rim.