The second annual North Carolina Top 80 was held at Proehlific Park in Greensboro, North Carolina. This event features the top 80 players in the state in the 2018, 2017, and 2016 class. It’s a tremendous platform for players to enhance their resume on a regional and national level. Let’s take a look at the players from each team.

Today, we will take a look at team 5 coached by Mike Muse of East Forsyth and Andre Gray (Formerly of W-S State but now on staff with Charlotte)

6’0 ’16 Darion Slade of West Forsyth HS (Winston-Salem)

Darion is a two-sport star on the gridiron and on the hardwood. He has a D1 body with plenty of athleticism and quickness. He’s an attacking PG that gets to the rim easily and finishes well with contact. Darion has tremendous explosion but can also change speeds to keep his opponents off balance. The best attribute about Darion is his ability to compete. One thing is for certain; you never have to coach effort with him!

6’4 ’17 Lavar Batts of JM Robinson HS (Concord)

Lavar was unable to play due to an injury but showed up for the event anyway. That alone speaks volume about the young man as a person and player. He is a very humble and genuine player that is oozing with upside and potential and is already being recruited by high major schools. Lavar is blessed with tremendous length and athleticism. His vertical speed is top notch and is trending as an ACC prospect.

6’1 ’18 Josh Cottrell of Hayesville HS (Hayesville)

Josh reminds us of a younger version of former Ohio State star Aaron Craft. He has an excellent skill set. Josh can handle, pass, shoot, and run a team efficiently in the half court setting. He has certain toughness about him and will surprise you with his lateral quickness on the defensive end of the court. Without question, Josh is a hustle player and has an old fashion blue-collar work ethic. His skill set, work ethic is equally matched by an outstanding attitude and team first approach. Without question, Josh is a winner on and off the court.

6’3 17 Tavon Askew of John Paul II (Ahoski)

Tavon was a late addition, but made the most of his opportunity to showcase his ability. He has a good frame with lengthy arms and possesses solid athleticism. Tavon showed some ability to score in spurts and can be a solid D1 prospect with continued work. The next step in his development is to refine his shot selection and understand his role in a team structure. That being said, he has a nice shooting touch and technique. The ingredients are there for him to take that next step forward.

6’2 16 Zachary Boggs of Cape Christian Academy (Sanford)

Zachary came into the event with a nagging injury and after the first game was unable to play. He was limping noticeably, but he gave every bit of effort to compete. Zachary came into the event as one of the better “catch and shoot” players in his class. He has the ability to knock down 3-pointers in continuous possessions and has the right attitude and team first approach that is quite appealing to college coaches.

6’4 ’18 Josh Searcy of RS Central (Spindale)

Josh is a promising young prospect for his class. He has good athleticism, but his ability to shoot the ball will easily translate at the next level. Already possessing good length, Josh has a quick release and a good shooting technique. We particularly liked his range and ability to shoot off the dribble. Josh has all the tools to become an impact shooting guard at the next level provided he continues to work on his game. He displayed a great attitude, which will go a long way.

6’7 ’16 Thank God Msughter of Freedom Christian (Fayetteville)

TG Msughter is a physical specimen. He has a college ready frame and plays hard on both ends of the court. TG plays with a full throttle approach and can absolutely rebound the heck out of the ball. He plays above the rim and has excellent timing on missed shots which he gathers in for rebounds. In addition, he will chase down loose balls and provide hustle plays throughout the game. While he is still somewhat raw offensively, he is one of the more coachable young players in attendance.

6’3 ’17 Jonnathan Hicklin Jr. of Rocky River HS (Charlotte)

Joannathan is a strong lefty guard that is excellent in attacking the rim. He’s a strong finisher and has really solid passing skills. Joannathan can be streaky at times with his shot, but does have good range. We liked his court vision and ability to rebound his position. The next step in his development is not to get down on himself when he makes a mistake. That being said, Joannthan takes a lot of pride in his performance.

6’6 ’18 Aaron Cash of Word of God (Raleigh)

Aaron has major upside and potential. He is a gifted and athletic forward that possesses outstanding ball handling and passing skills for his size/position. He excels in transition and ha excellent body control, which allows him to finish extremely well in traffic. Aaron plays with confidence and displays a great attitude. The next step in his development is to cut down on unforced turnovers.

6’5 ’16 Brian McElveen of Elite Skills Academy (High Point)

Brian is a really skilled combo guard that has terrific court vision and passing skills. With those attributes, we can easily see him transitioning to strictly the PG position at the next level. While he can play off the ball, Brian seems more comfortable with the ball making plays for his teammates and creating his own shot off the dribble. Brian has the right attitude and intangibles to become a hot D1 prospect.

6’10 ’17 Franklin Ugochuckwo of Cape Fear Christian (Four Oaks)

As the old saying goes, “you can’t teach size,” and for Franklin he has plenty of it. While still somewhat raw, he is a big body post player and a rather surprising soft touch around the rim. Franklin is still learning the game but continues to make tremendous improvements, which time he, steps onto the court. In addition, Franklin is a hard worker and understands he has the natural ability to be a strong D1 candidate with continued improvement.

6’4 ’16 Jalen Banks of Village Christian (Fayetteville)

Jalen plays with a good attitude and displays a blue-collar work ethic on the court. He has the ability to knock down midrange jumpers and occasionally step out and knock down 3-pointers. Currently, Jalen has a strong feel for the game offensively and scoring seems effortless. He is still learning the nuisances of the game could develop into a solid D1 prospect.

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