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 5, we will take a look at a few players that have made early statements.

Kowalski on a Roll

We have watched Ray Kowalski over the years and one thing has been consistent. Kowalski is a lights out shooter and a tough hard nose competitor. To put it bluntly, he has always overachieved and never really has gotten the praise he properly deserves. At our NC Phenom 150 camp in 2014, we wrote, “his reputation is well known, Kowalski is a knock down shooter. However, he is much more than just a one trick pony. He has good court vision and can be considered a playmaker.”

Whether it has been on the AAU travel ball circuit or in high school, Kowalski has been a consistent and efficient performer. Time and time again, he gets the job done. He plays with sheer desire and determination and his high motor approach is fun to watch. Kowalski plays with this chip on his shoulder and is willing to do all the intangibles to secure the win for his team. He’s a tough as nails competitor and will be an important member of the SE Missouri State basketball team next season.

For the young season, Concord is 5-1 and Ray Kowalski has played a major part in the team’s success. He is now averaging 25.6 PPG and has scored over 30 points in the past two games. In speaking with HC Stowe, he stated, “ Ray continues to shoot the ball at a very high level. His goal is to help Concord win a state championship.” Shooters translate and Ray Kowalski should close out his high school career in a remarkable fashion.

Maintaining his no. 1 ranking in the NC 2017 class

6’3 ’17 PG Lavar Batts has been the headliner as the top player in the NC 2017 for the past two years, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. When we saw Batts in our preseason open gym report, we wrote, “Lavar has a special gear and his elite level speed is as good as it gets in the 2017 class nationally. When you first watch him, you would think he is a lefty. He goes left which is his off hand, better than any player in the country regardless of class. His high motor approach is quite appealing. The knock on Batts coming into the 2016-16 season has been his jump shot. He had a low release and his elbow had a tendency to bow out. However, he has worked extremely hard and showcased a more improve jumper. He has a higher release point and his technique is more on point. He had great backspin and rotation and was knocking down jumpers with high efficiency during workouts.”

Batts already own offers from Tennessee, Georgia, Yale, ODU, ECU and Charlotte. We expect this list to grow. He is averaging 23.4 PPG, 4 APG, and 4.4 RPG and the “do everything” PG plays with passion and pride. Lavar Batts has the physical attributes such as length, speed and athleticism, but his intangibles are also on equal footing. He’s a relentless defender and a big time competitor.

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