We’re approximately three weeks into the high school basketball season and we have a few storylines that are well worth noting. In today’s “Early Season Observations” part 4, we will take a look at a few players that have made early statements.

M& M Duo

6’4 ’16 Davion Mintz and 6’7 Jaylen McManus (North Mecklenburg)

To say that HC Duane Lewis of North Mecklenburg has something special brewing would be a gross understatement. He has a veteran team that was knocked out of the NCHSAA 4A championship last year prematurely. More importantly, North Mecklenburg returns the 1-2 scoring punch of 6’4 Davion Mintz (Creighton commit) and unsigned senior 6’7 Jaylen McManus.

Two years ago, Davion Mintz attended the NC Phenom 150 camp and we wrote the following:

Davion has seen his stock skyrocket this past fall and rightfully so. Standing a lengthy and athletic 6’3, Davion has the ability to see over smaller point guards and can score from all levels on the court. He is fearless in attacking the rim and has a nifty midrange dribble drive pull up jumper. Coach Oliver stated, “Davion has very superb and creative offensive ability. He has a quiet way of scoring all within the framework of the offense. He has great footwork and the ability to finish strong at the rim. Davion is so athletic and has lots of potential for a bright future.”

In addition, Mintz is a two time participate of the NC Top 80 and rightfully so. He made the all-camp team and was named the Mr. Station award, which was rewarded to the player who worked the hardest in the stations.

Mintz recently committed to the University of Creighton of the Big East. North Mecklenburg is currently 7-0 and Mintz has been playing at a very high level. For the young season, he is averaging 17 PPG, 8 APG, 4.3 RPG, and 2.5 SPG. In addition, Mintz is shooting 78% from the free throw line.

Jaylen McManus has been on the Phenom Hoop radar for the past two years. He has attended our NC Phenom 150 camp and even our Drills and Skills Camp. Each event, McManus has improved immensely. According to coach Duane Lewis, McManus now owns over 20 plus D1 offers and is getting interest from Providence, Creighton, Iowa State, and Wichita State. At our most recent open gym report, we stated “Jaylen McManus can play multiple positions and can become a mismatch with his ability to play on the interior as well as the perimeter. McManus has really improved his 3-point shooting and looked outstanding in open gym in front of a dozen coaches on hand. We particularly like his mobility and has solid handling and passing skills for his size/position.”

In our opinion, McManus is just starting to scratch the surface on his long range potential and don’t be surprised if his best “playing days” occur at the collegiate level. First of all, McManus is young for his grade and still sports a baby face, which probably means he isn’t finished growing. At our Phenom Hoop Jamboree, McManus was knocking down 3-pointers with consistency and scoring from all levels on the court. Simply put, McManus is a “shot maker.” He has good athleticism but we were impressed with his smoothness and fluidness to his game.

In the seven early season games, McManus is putting up impressive stats. He is averaging 20 PPG, 8.7 RPG, but more importantly is shooting 65% from the floor and 50% from the 3-point line. To put it mildly, McManus has been quite efficient in all categories. In addition, North Mecklenburg has been beating teams by a large margin thus his minutes have been somewhat limited.


The Best of the Rest

In addition to the 1-2 scoring punch of Mintz and McManus, Coach Duane Lewis has plenty of quality players and tremendous depth. 6’0 Kendall Coles may be the surprise player for Coach Lewis this season. Coles is an excellent defender and is the perfect glue guy that is needed in championship runs. Coles is averaging 11.2 PPG, 4.7 APG and is shooting 46% from the 3-point line and 84% from the free throw line. More importantly, Coles brings energy and enthusiasm to the court. While Mintz and McManus have a tendency to show too much emotion on the court, Coles brings that passion each time he steps onto the court. Coles has multiple D1 offers.

Next up is 6’1 Timmy Walker. Walker is an athletic shooter. He has good strength and explosion and like Coles brings a lot of energy and effort to the court. He has powerful legs and sits down low on defense and can be one of the better on ball defenders in the state. He currently has an offer from Delaware State.

6’5 Ethan Wacker is Coach Lewis’ X factor. He has multiple D2 offers is an excellent face up or stretch 4. He has a good touch out to 15 feet but has a blue-collar work ethic in the post. He’ll bang and scrap for rebounds and loose balls. Wacker is the player that will always be the first to dive on the floor for a loose ball.

Derrick Maxwell is coming off a surgery from a shoulder injury last season. He too is contributing heavily. He is averaging 9.5 PPG and is shooting 57% from the 3-point line.

For coach Duane Lewis, he has all the pieces and ingredients for another state championship title run. He has talent, athleticism and a veteran team. Barring injuries and setbacks, this could be a special year for the Coach Duane Lewis.

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