The travel season is finally upon us and competition has begun to heat up; the who’s who of shoe-circuit teams are beginning to separate themselves from the pack while many of the top non-shoe-circuit programs have been at our events and playing in front of dozens of college coaches. Team Winston, Team Trezz, Juice All-Stars, New Light Disciples, the Greensboro Warriors, and numerous others have become must-see entertainment this summer. This week, we will take a deeper dive into the cornerstones of each program and look at what makes these teams worth the watch.
We’ll kick off this series with Team Winston, an organization with some of the smartest, toughest, and grittiest players in the High Point-Winston Salem area. It all starts with their coaching staff, which features some of the most disciplined and innovative figures throughout the state of North Carolina. They’ve also done an incredible job of assembling these teams throughout the years, keeping their players, and winning at every age level. This season, their team has been as talented and cohesive as ever before. They have prospects for all types of college coaches, from DI to DIII, and embrace a play-style that properly highlights each individual player.
In many ways, 6’0 ’20 Stephen Minor can serve as the tone-setter for this team on both ends of the floor. He’s an intelligent, decisive playmaker with a tight handle, sharp vision, and terrific three-level scoring efficiency. Minor communicates but also leads by example and has a nearly mistake-free game. He’s the type of player that grows on spectators with his undeniable consistency and should be regarded as a definite scholarship-level prospect. Meanwhile, 6’8 ’19 Zack Austin is the lone battle-tested veteran and unsigned senior of this team, but also easily their most versatile two-way threat. Austin is a long, fluid athlete that is able to seamlessly defend three to four positions without breaking a sweat. He can do a variety of different things on offense, from posting-up to spotting-up to taking opponents off the dribble and attacking the basket, but always makes effective use out of his touches. Austin possesses the necessary tools and mentality to succeed at numerous different programs, which could make him an incredible late get for the right coach.
Aside from Austin, 6’7 ’20 Jakob Moore is the main interior presence for this squad and seems to get better with each new viewing. Over the last few months, no player has undergone a more drastic transformation of his body than Moore, who now appears to be in phenomenal basketball shape and harnessing his long-term abilities. The left-handed post still possesses quality touch and strength around the basket, but rarely (if ever) forces the action on offense and understands how to maximize his scoring presence with limited touches. Defensively, Moore causes major issues for the opposition with his impressive timing and overall instincts from within the paint. He rebounds the ball particularly well, pitches the ball ahead in transition, and runs the floor nicely from start to finish. Moore is definitely a scholarship-level guy, but he’s nowhere close to a finished product, which is what makes his continued growth so exciting.
Arguably, the most unique prospect of this Team Winston group is 6’5 ’20 Matthew Patterson, who looks like he was built in a lab. Patterson has as much length and athleticism as we’ve seen in a wing player throughout recent memory, but also knows how to properly utilize it on both sides of the ball. He’s potentially the best closeout defender to walk through our doors over the last calendar year, accumulating noticeably more blocks, steals, and deflections than anyone else over that period. Patterson lives above the rim and is a threat to posterize opponents every single time he attacks the basket, but also shows unselfishness and a strong willingness to make the right play at a quality rate. That being said, his three-point shot has continued to improve, which could make him an even more enticing prospect, especially if he’s able to maintain his strong consistency going forward.
Guys like 6’4 ’20 Jay Mitchell and 6’4 ’20 Tobias Johnson both offer an excellent blend of size, strength, and motor while playing a smart, team-first brand of basketball at all times. Neither of these guys’ main focus is to light up the scoreboard, rather to fill in the gaps and do whatever possible to provide their team with an edge. Mitchell and Johnson are tough, poised wing/forward defenders with great instincts and the ability to switch across multiple positions. The guard duo of 5’10 ’20 Kevon Dearmon and 6’2 ’20 Micah Gainey also complements this team quite well and coexists well alongside the aforementioned Minor. These guys have shown some solid flashes during the early season and could continue to impress as their respective roles expand over these next few months.
Each of the players on this team gets quality playing time, but still truly understand and embrace their role within the bigger picture. 6’3 ’20 Max Rogers is a terrific scorer with the ability to reliably stretch the floor and make plays with the ball in his hands. However, he’s emphasized patience and team-play throughout the early part of this summer season, never looking to force the action while being selective about when to take advantage. When they play fast and push the break in transition, Rogers is at his best. Alongside Rogers, 6’6 ’20 Andrew Budzinski offers an intriguing energy presence on both ends of the floor. He’s a surprising athlete with tremendous leaping ability and a useful motor. Budzinski will do whatever necessary to cause havoc and make his presence felt. Rounding out the team, we look at 6’10 ’20 Peyton Brown, a fundamentally-sound throwback post prospect. He’s a true center with a polished post arsenal, able to reliably score over either shoulder with either hand or step out and hit the occasional midrange jumper. Brown utilizes his blend of size, timing, and rebounding instincts to dictate action from inside the paint.
In conclusion, it’s easy to see why this Team Winston group is so successful and so much fun to watch. They have a roster legitimately full of college-level prospects with something for every type of program. Keep in mind, the season is still just beginning and this team is only going to get more powerful as the summer carries onward, which should have college coaches buzzing for their next showing.