South Carolina is filled with talent right now, left and right you have players coming out from everyone. With the lack of support from shoe companies in the state (by comparison, NC has 7 shoe sponsored teams, Georgia also with 7 and Tennessee with 4 … South Carolina has 1, the Upward Stars), it is up to the grassroots programs to really develop the talent and put it toward the forefront.
TMP Elite has been the hallmark of this, with the consistency of placing players in college as well as competing among the best (they’re one of two SC programs to have had a McDonald’s All American in the last 10 years and the only program with an NBA All-Star).
However, it is quickly coming to light that the Carolina Pressure programs are a force to be reckoned with, from top to bottom.
At Phenom’s Queen City Showcase we got to see their 14u-17u teams. This writing will specifically focus on their 16u and 17u group.
In talking about the Carolina Pressure, the conversation starts with program stalwart, 6’7″ 2020 Kelton Talford. He has been with this program throughout high school and has stayed true to their vision. Talford is at least a mid-level recruit, who has a unique skill set as a 2-way player who guards 3 positions and is a mismatch on offense.
The emergence over this last year of 6’8″ unsigned senior Tay Williams has been something special. The high flying forward has a special talent/athleticism/size mix as he is knocking down 3s and dunking on people’s heads. he plays with an edge and should be one of the most sought after JUCO recruits in the country.
On the horizon, 6’4″ 2021 Chase McDuffie is playing up with the 17s group. That is a testament to his talent level, but his frame and confidence has taken huge leaps over the past year. He will be the focal point of Gray Collegiate’s defense of their state title next year, the next in line after Jalek Felton and Juwan Gary. A sure-fire D1, watch closely to his development.
The 17u roster has other scholarship talents on it with 6’3″ junior Bre’on Lewis and 6’1″ junior Dallan Wright. These are the guys who make the hustle plays, get the key defensive stops and bring energy. Both guys should have recruitment and scholarships in hand, then you have 5’8″ Mequije McDaniels, a 2021 playing up, who really shot the ball well.
The 17s is a very recruitable team who should have D1s, D2s, and Jucos lining their baseline in April.
However, equally impressive was their 16s. In one game they had a 60 point beat down of a team, playing excellent team ball with a roster full of guys who can pass, shoot and defend.
However, to focus on two players, 6’4″ 2021 Jaylen Ray and 6’4″ 2021 Chris Rhone. Both players epitomize this ability to handle, shoot and defend. Ray is a lengthy guard. He played at and above the rim with skill and an ability to get downhill off the bounce.
Rhone is a prospect to watch closely. He is a shooter, already possessing a great frame. He plays confidently and with the future of the program is in good hands.
At each level, this program is building with talent, but even more so they are developing their talent. With that said, this 17u and 16u group should bring coaches, watching intently for winning talent …