From the Sidelines
Stars of Tomorrow
Previewing the 2021 Class
Rick Lewis/Jamie Shaw
The state of North Carolina is absolutely loaded with high level talent. Each class has a bevy of star power and the 2021 class is no exception. While we have produced rankings for the 2018, 2019, and 2019 class, it has been a standard practice of the Phenom Hoop Report not to rank players in the freshman class until they have completed a full season. That being said, we will provide some thoughts, insight and opinions on some of the top trending freshmen in the state. The freshmen listed are players we have enjoyed multiple viewing via travel ball, camp setting and the most important setting which is their high school setting. Now, let’s take a closer look:
6’3 Carson McCorkle (Greensboro Day)
While Carson McCorkle looks the part of the local choir boy, make no mistake about it, this young man has game. We’re talking about a young player that has an advanced skill set beyond his years/grade. McCorkle has an unbelievable high basketball IQ and impeccable feel for the game. Playing for legendary high school coach Freddy Johnson, he has enjoyed the luxury of playing in the wings of Clemson signee John Newman and Georgia signee Will Dillard. That being said, McCorkle had his coming out part with a national audience on ESPN2 when Greensboro Day traveled down to Spartanburg to play high school sensation Zion Williamson and Spartanburg Day. First of all, McCorkle excels within a team structure and is a perfect example of a true team player. While McCorkle has the ability to single handedly take over a game with his advanced skill set and crafty play, he is always under control. He is a definite low risk, high return player and simply makes his teammates better.
6’1 Carter Whitt (Leesville Road)
Carter Whitt is simply one of the most exciting players in the state regardless of class. He has that certain flair and “it” factor. He combines a unique blend of athleticism and an advanced skill set. He is crafty with the ball and has a terrific floor game. He has a full arsenal of offensive moves and sees the court as well as anyone in the state. Like McCorkle, Whitt sees the game at an advanced level and he will certainly surprise you with his athleticism and competitive spirit. He is a creative passer and will be a fun player to watch over the next three years of his high school career. In addition, Whitt has the ability to create his own shot off the dribble/bounce and his mid-range jumper is efficient and effective.
6’4 Chris Ford (North Mecklenburg)
North Mecklenburg has enjoyed as much talent coming through the pipeline as any team in the NCHSAA and has continuously produced D1 prospect each and every season. You have the like of Davion Mintz (Creighton), CJ Bryce (NC State), and Jaylan McManus (College of Charleston). On this year’s roster, 6’9 ’19 Jaelyn Withers and 6’2 ’20 Tristan Maxwell have already garnished high major offers. With the abundance of talent Coach Duane Lewis has enjoyed over the years, very seldom to many freshmen make the varsity team, much less play. That being said, Chris Ford has become the exception rather than the rule. We’re talking about a tough as nails competitor that gives you maximum effort on both ends of the court. One thing is for certain, Chris Ford has a very mature approach to the game. He has a college ready frame and the mindset of a seasoned veteran. In addition,
he has been a major contributor in North Mecklenburg’s 22-1 regular season record.
6’6” Dontrez Styles (Kinston)
As everyone knows Kinston, North Carolina is basketball town. From the likes of Cornbread Maxwell to Jerry Stackhouse to current NBA starters Brandon Ingram and Reggie Bullock there is a great tradition of good basketball in Kinston. Well, Dontrez Styles looks to be next up, in the long line of talented basketball stars. Styles has great size and a frame, standing at a long and athletic 6’6” as a freshman. On this year’s Kinston team, Styles lines up all over the floor. A natural guard, from possession to possession you can see him at the high post, the short corner, the wing or even restarting the offense. He truly has high level talent and is one to put firmly in your sights as he progresses forward.
6’6” Leonte Moye (Ayden-Grifton)
Moye comes from small 2A Ayden-Grifton High School, which plays in a conference that is currently very basketball rich including Kinston, Greene Central, etc…Moye is a very crafty player who always seems to be in the right spot. He has very long arms, around a 7’ wing span, and finishes everything around the basket. He is a good athlete and plays with great anticipation. The most definite part of Moye’s game is his upside as a defensive stopper. His offensive game is coming around, but he is able to switch between the 3 and the 4 at this point and be incredibly productive. Already averaging 15.7 points and 7.3 rebounds as a freshman, look for double/double averages in seasons moving forward. As the weight comes and skill continues developing, the production will only increase. Keep a close watch.