They may be young but this class was one of the best on the courts Saturday afternoon.


Class of 2018

This weekend, Phenom Hoop Report hosted their annual North Carolina Top 80 Camp at Proehlific Park in Greensboro, NC. After scouting countless amounts of players throughout the year, our team invited North Carolina’s “Top 80” players to showcase their talents to numerous scouts and a plethora of D2/D3 coaches. After thorough review, we put together a list of players that stood out the most in our eyes throughout several drills and scrimmages Saturday afternoon.


6’0” FR. Malik Johnson (Terry Sanford- Fayetteville, NC):


Malik Johnson made a name for himself Saturday afternoon. After watching him battle with some of the state’s top guards, it was easy to determine that this kid is going to be a star in the coming years.

Johnson is extremely explosive and used his abnormal quickness to blow by defenders and make quick, shifty plays to run the offense. He handles the ball extremely well and is a VERY advanced for a player his age. Johnson proved he is a defender’s nightmare by driving strong to the basket and using his strength to draw contact and finish with ease. His court vision was flat-out impressive.

The 6’0” frosh distributed the rock all afternoon long to a variety of teammates and proved to us he isn’t afraid of any competition. Defensively, Johnson is an animal. He communicated well with teammates and applied tight pressure to force countless amounts of turnovers against several opponents.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson helped his Terry Sanford Bulldogs’ squad to another state title next season.

6’1” FR. Josh Cottrell (Hayesville- Hayesville, NC):


Josh Cottrell, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated players in the 2018 class. He isn’t the quickest player, and may lack pure strength, but this rising sophomore definitely has the ability to develop into a high caliber high school player.

After watching him put in work during the early morning station drills, we immediately knew that Cottrell came to play. He has an extremely high basketball IQ for a young gun and always managed to find a way to take control. Cottrell has a skill set very similar to former Ohio State point guard, Aaron Craft. He is a very strong on-ball defender and matches up well with any competition.

Offensively, Cottrell is a silent assassin. He put his handles on display along with his beautiful mid-range jumper to break down opposing defenses throughout the day. Cottrell isn’t the flashiest player and doesn’t blow you away with incredible statistics, but he has a strong work ethic and loads mental toughness that will help him grow as a player.

He’s a fierce competitor with a high motor that always strives for a win. With time, Cottrell could develop into one of North Carolina’s most elite prospects.

6’9” FR. Jude Akubeze (Prominence Academy- Durham, NC):


Jude Akubeze is going to be an absolute monster in a few years. The 6’9” freshman caught everyone’s attention the second he stepped foot on the court.

Akubeze rebounded well on both sides of the ball and continuously worked defenders in the paint. He has great hands for a big and knows how to finish at the rim.

Akubeze showed off his soft touch and massive amounts of strength to throw down a few monstrous dunks and bully the opposing competition. On defense, Akubeze is a game changer. His long arms and surprising quickness allowed him to swat shots left and right and create a much-needed physical presence down low. Akubeze used his freakish athleticism and impressive footwork Saturday to attract attention his way all afternoon.

With a few more little pieces added to his game and the right mindset, this Nigeria native will definitely be a high-major recruit. He has endless potential and an absurd amount of skill already. Keep an eye out for this stud!


Will Dillard– Greensboro Day School (Greensboro, NC)

Jomaru Brown– Southern Durham (Durham, NC)

Andy Pack– Northern Guilford (Greensboro, NC)

Nate Hinton– Gaston Day (Gastonia, NC)

Aaron Cash– Word of God (Raleigh, NC)

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