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Sad Sam's Piedmont Team Previews

12/06/2017, 3:00pm EST
By Phenom Hoop Report / Sad Sam
Greetings HS hoops junkies from across the hoops loving piedmont.  The Amazing One is here once again to give you the results of the I-MECK 4A season before the conference season even starts.  Last season, North Meck continued their conference dominance and this year should yield the same but not without a couple of challenges.  Conference realignment has seen Kannapolis go home to 3A while Mooresville and Lake Norman rejoin the fold.  The Great One hopes the conference tourney can be held at Lake Norman as their hospitality room is always top notch!  (Hough, take notice.)  This is the predicted order of finish.
 
1. NORTH MECK
2. HOPEWELL
3. WEST CHARLOTTE
4. HOUGH
5. VANCE
6. LAKE NORMAN
7. MALLARD CREEK
8. MOORESVILLE 
 
Let's Get Started...
 
NORTH MECK
 
The Vikings will be led in the 2017-18 campaign by the triumvirate of 6'2 SR PG Vaud Worthy, 6'9 JR F Jae'lyn Withers and 6'2 SO SG Tristan Maxwell.  Worthy is arguably the best pure PG in the state and is joined in the backcourt by bombardier Maxwell, a scorer who can now finish at the rim as well as light it up from downtown.  Withers is a stretch 4 who has almost unlimited shooting range and is now starting to assert himself down low.  The Big 3 will be complimented by the hard working 6'5 SR C Yancey Hairston who is an accomplished rebounder and defender.  Rounding out the starting 5 is another excellent role player in 6'5 FR F Chris Ford.  The Norsemen are not without depth as 6'2 SO G Dermar Anderson, 6'1 SR G Malik Luckey and 6'2 SR W Jabril Griffin will spell the starting backcourt.  The frontline is further bolstered by 6'3 SR leaper Tyren Clark, 6'6 SO F Dee Givens and 6'5 SR F Corban Strother and 6'5 JR W Myles Hunter.  The Vikings definitely have the "right stuff" to rocket back to Raleigh and although they may not run the table, they will face a challenge from..............................      
 
 
HOPEWELL
 
Last season the Titans just needed 1 more win in the 2nd half of the season to make the state playoffs and missed again.  This year will be different as 6'6 JR W Brice Williams will take 2nd year HC Michael McNeil back to the dance.  He will be aided in the frontcourt starting lineup by 6'8 SR C Micale Harris and 6'7 JR F Alvin Cannady who can connect from downtown and spread the floor.  The backcourt will be manned by 6'1 SR SG Zach Dixon but PG is a bit unsettled as 6'0 JR transfer Marshall Roberson and 6'0 JR Jalen Jones will vie for minutes.  The Titans have a stud in Williams and are blessed with height.  If they can defend better and solve the PG equation they can have a shot at moving up a notch and can stay ahead of, by a razor thin margin,........................
 
 
WEST CHARLOTTE
 
This year's pride of Lions also hope to challenge for 1st behind a Williams of their own.  6'7 JR F Patrick Williams is another D1 player who is the do-everything for HC Jacoby Davis.  The WC PG slot is manned by another future D1 player, 6'1 JR PG Cartier Jernigan, who is a Hickory Grove refugee.  6'1 JR G Jaylon Terrell could help and 6'4 SR W Chris Koonce can play mulitple positions and could be a key for the Lions this year.  Newcomer 6'7 JR F Ahmad Gilbert will contribute on the frontline as can 6'6 SR C Dee Howard.  Williams must see the ball at a maximum clip but if the Lions can mesh into a consistent defensive unit and limit their turnovers, they could move up and certainly stay ahead of.........................       
 
 
HOUGH 
 
In the words of the late great Dusty "The American Dream" Rhodes, the Huskies had "issues and concerns" with team chemistry.  They hope to have solved those problems and are optimistic for the 17-18 season.  The Huskies will do it by committee beginning with the backcourt.  6'1 SR G Cooper Crawford is an experienced player and sharpshooter and is complimented by the 5'9 SR sparkplug Chase Praeger who can be a defensive menace to opponents.  The frontline is anchored by the "twins" of 6'6 SR F Damon Early and 6'6 SR F Myles Washington.  6'5 SO W phenom, Jibril McCormack is developing into a potent scorer both from outside and off the dribble.  The Huskies hope to get some quality minutes out of 6'8 SO C Beau Maye, who is a younger brother of Luke.  If he uses The Force like Luke did, Hough should be competitive for the next few years.  With consistency from McCormack and the frontline, the Huskies could pull a surprise or two and move up, but most likely will stay ahead of.........................
 
 
VANCE
 
The Cougars lost conference MVP Cam Hamilton and many other Seniors to graduation.  Now the torch is being passed in this rebuilding season to 5'11 JR PG Brandon Beidleman who can direct an offense and is becoming a better scoring threat.  Just call them the National Guard as there are no experienced Cougars on the roster over 6'4 so they will play 4 or 5 guards at times.  6'1 SR G Arlo Washington can drop dimes from long distance if left open.  6'1 SR G Ralph Black will help as will 6'2 SR G Kam Cooke.  Vance always plays hard and if they can find a rebounder or two have the ability to jump a notch, and stay ahead of.......................... 
 
 
LAKE NORMAN 
 
Lake Norman returns to the IMECK and will be once again guided by Brandon Jolly, who has a state championship ring from the "KC and the Sunshine Band" squad of 2010.  The Wildcats are in the same boat as Vance but have more long range threats and at the same time less athleticism.  6'4 JR W Demarcus Johnson will be a key piece to the puzzle as will 6'2 SO G Luke Robinson.  Another guard slot is 6'1 South Iredell defector, Zane Haglan.  6'1 JR G Austin Edds also adds to the mix.  The Sadster wouldnt be shocked to see the Cats play some zone D this year.  They must defend and especially rebound well to move up but have the firepower to stay ahead of..................    
 
 
MALLARD CREEK
 
The 2016-17 season was a memorable one for the Mavericks as they upset North Meck, finshed 2nd in the conference and posted an 18-8 mark.  However, the actors in that play are now gone and a new cast has arisen.  Jon Hancock, who left his large signature on the MC program, is now at the East Lincoln helm and mass defections have left the cupboard bare for new HC Jason Causby as all of the bigs and would've been leading scorer Jordan Campbell transferred out.  The Mavs will rebuild around a slew of guards beginning with 6'1 FR G Justin Taylor who is a 3 point threat.  Joining him will be 6'0 JR G Jaylen Jackson, 6'2 SR Kyle Austin and 6'0 JR G Demitrius Dixon.  6'4 SO F Evan Ravenel is a year and the weightroom away from being a consistent contributor but if The Creekers can connect on a high percentage of 3's and their pressure defense is successful, they may can move up a notch and stay ahead of.................................
 
 
MOORESVILLE
 
The Blue Devils return to the I-MECK this year but the question is, "Can they compete right off?"  The difference between the top 4 teams and the bottom 4 teams is basically size.  MoTown has a couple of bigs in 6'6 SR F Tyler Luther and 6'5 SR C Andrew Mauney but must raise their game a couple of notches to make a difference in this league.  The Devils will be led by 6'1 SR G Seth Welch. Joining him on the perimeter will be 5'11 SR G Trey Gunnings, 5'9 JR PG Shy Smith and 6'0 JR G Griffin White.  Coach Micklow's squad could be a surprise team and move up a place or 2 if they find consistent play from their frontcourt and take care of the basketball.
 
There you have it folks!  The dye for the 2017-18 season is now cast and we now just sit back and watch the puzzle fall into place.  The Immaculate One will return every week to update the Furious 5 so get out to your nearest HS gym and support these young men!  
 
SAD SAM - HS HOOPS GENIUS

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