Phenom's Open Gym Tour
North Mecklenburg HS (Huntersville, NC)
By Rick Lewis
Phenom Hoop Report travelled to Huntersville, North Carolina to watch Coach Duane Lewis North Mecklenburg Vikings. Expectations are high for the Vikings, but Coach Lewis will always try to downplay the overall talent he has on hand. North Mecklenburg has a nice blend of youth and experience and should be in the conversation as one of the premier teams in the NCHSAA 4A division. Now, let’s take a closer look at the top players from open gym. Coaches from NC State, Clemson, and Maryland were all on hand.
The Floor General
6’2 ’18 Vaud Worthy: There is no question Coach Lewis has full confidence in his senior point guard and without question is his biggest fan. Our comments last season stated it best about Worthy. “Vaud Worthy thinks like a point guard, plays like a point, and excels as a point guard.” One thing is for certain, if you’re open, Worthy will find you with timely and precise passes. While he is superb in transition, Worthy has all the intangibles in running the team’s offense in the half court. We have always been impressed with his quickness and ability to change pace with the dribble. Without question, Vaud Worthy is the engine that will make this team go. While he is surrounded by high level talent in Jaelyn Withers and Tristan Maxwell, this year’s team will go as far as Worthy will carry them.
6’9 ’19 Jae’lyn Withers: Withers already sports offers from NC State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Virginia from the ACC. Without question, Withers is the next high-level player from North Mecklenburg, not to mention his father was an all time great at UNCC. For the past few years, we have been talking about his upside and potential. That being said, he simply “lit it up” at open gym. Withers has unbelievable range from the 3-point. We’re talking about an athletic wing forward that has tremendous length and a matching skill set that separates him from his peers. With NC State, Maryland, and Clemson looking on, Withers was dialed in and gave them an offensive show. Last year at the 2016 open gym tour, we stated, “Withers is a star in the making.” Fast forward to 2017, we can now delete the “in the making.” He is simply a star!
6’2 ’20 Tristan Maxwell: Shooters translate at every level and for Maxwell, his game is custom made for the college game. He has exceptional range and can shoot off the dribble or in a catch and shoot situation. He has a quick release and always scores within the framework of the offense. Like Withers, he has excellent family genes. His farther (Vernon) is a retired NBA player and the “Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” He is no longer an “up and comer” as we stated last year. His time has arrived and the scary thing is he’s only a sophomore. What’s even more impressive is the fact Maxwell is a true team player. He’s not a ball dominant guard and doesn’t need the ball in his hands. While he can score off the dribble, he is most effective coming off screens in a catch and shoot situation. Maxwell already sports offers from NC State, Florida, Clemson, and Virginia.
Best of the Rest
Borderline D2 and lower tier D1 schools should also take a careful look at 6’2 senior Tyran Clark, 6’1 senior Jabril Griffin, and 6’5 senior Yancy Hairston
6’2 ’18 Tyren Clark: Every team needs a glue guy, someone who knows their role and values being part of a team. Clark is super athletic and already has a strong college ready frame. While he all the little things that often get lost in the shuffle, but has a knack of making winning plays.
6’1 ’18 Jabril Griffin: Griffin is a high major athlete. He is a multi-talented athlete and will easily be the team’s most dominant defensive player. He’s a high-octane player that exerts maximum effort/energy on both ends of the court.
6’4 ’18 Yancey Hairston: Hairston was unavailable last night for open gym, but we don’t want to forget about what he will bring to the table for North Mecklenburg this coming season. Coach Lewis absolutely loves what he brings to the table. When you have team full of talent, it’s great to have players like Hairston who brings it each and every game. He’s the hustle guy. He does the dirty work and doesn’t mind diving on the floor for loose balls. He doesn’t mind sacrificing his body for the good of the team and you can’t put a premium on these intangibles.