Phenom Hoops has released their rankings for North Carolina’s class of 2021 and boy, are there some good prospects.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, here are our rankings: NC’s Class of 2021
With our latest rankings, let’s dive in and breakdown the Top-5 players in the class as our scouts provided their thoughts on each prospect.
6’3 Carter Whitt
Leesville Road (Raleigh, NC)
- Carter brings a unique blend of skill and flash to his game. Being one of the craftier point guards nationally in his class, Carter can beat you in so many ways. He can score from all three levels and has really improved his 3-point shooting efficiency, not to mention a nasty right to left cross over midrange jumper or his ability to beat the defender off the dribble with a finish at the rim. Carter can be the best scoring guard on the court or transition over and showcase his playmaking ability and be the best facilitator on the floor. – Rick Lewis
- Whitt makes his living with his ability to pick apart defenses. He has no emotion change on the floor, seemingly never sped up. His vision is like none other in the Carolinas and his ability to read the game and manipulate defenses off the bounce is high level. Whitt has more total offers than anyone else in North Carolina’s 2021 class, claiming over 20. He is a consensus Top 50 prospect and considered one of the top point guards in his class, nationally. – Jamie Shaw
- Whitt’s passer-friendly game has somehow gotten even better over the last calendar year. Meanwhile, he’s also sharpened many more of his tools and answered some of the questions that national scouts/college coaches might’ve had about him playing at a high level. Whitt has improved mightily as an athlete but still relies on his feel and silky-smooth offensive arsenal to make his presence felt in every contest. – Jeff Bendel
Greensboro Day (Greensboro, NC)
- Cam brings length, athleticism and a matching skill set that has elevated him as one of the country’s elite point guards. While Cam has the ability to run a team effectively and efficiently, his strongest attributes may just be on the defensive side of the ball. Using his length, athleticism and outstanding lateral quickness, Cam overall game on both sides of the court will make him such an attractive high major point guard. – Rick Lewis
- Hayes has picked up a lot of notoriety with his play on the EYBL with Team CP3 as well as his showing in all the postseason camps, NBPA Top 100, CP3 Elite Guard, etc…Hayes is the 16th overall player in the 2021 class by Rivals.com and is most dangerous in pick and roll sets, where he is able to make reads with pace and either kick the pass or knock down the pull-up. Hayes carries 15 or so offers with the likes of Virginia, Louisville, NC State, Tennessee and others making a push. – Jamie Shaw
- The cornerstone of two major programs within North Carolina, high-major coaches have been all over Hayes for quite a while now. He’s proven capable of running an efficient offense and stepping up as a scorer whenever necessary. Hayes attacks the midrange game and has a body that looks likely to continue maturing over the next few years. He’s played on the big stage for many years and should keep that trend alive in college. – Jeff Bendel
6’6 2021 JaDun Michael
Burlington School (Burlington, NC)
- Sporting tremendous length, athleticism, and an impressive wingspan, JaDun Michael is simply oozing with upside and potential. JaDun has the versatility to play on the interior or popping out to the wing to knock down midrange jumpers. That being said, JaDun has a super quick first step and ability to put the ball on the floor and finish with authority at the rim.
- Michael is one of the best 2-way players in the state. When we talk about his 2-way ability, he is able to lock down multiple positions on defense as well as carry a team on offense. He is strong, lengthy and super explosive. On offense, he has the ability to create offense as well as finish high above the rim. He carries over 10 offers including the likes of Penn State, Cincinnati, Texas A&M, Providence, Depaul, and others. Plays with an incredible chip on his shoulder.
- It’s easy to see how high-major coaches have begun getting involved with Michael, as he’s probably the most complete player of this group—especially at this point in time. He possesses IQ, size, strength, athleticism, leadership, three-level scoring, and excellent two-way versatility. Michael can defend multiple positions and stand out as a lead rebounder on either end of the floor. He could easily be ranked first or second, simply depending on preference, and should continue to garner major attention with his sights set on a breakout junior season.
- Bryce has excellent length, athleticism, and a silky smooth game. His game is effortless and everything does come easy for the highly skilled combo guard. He has a velvet touch from the perimeter and the ability to beat you off the dribble. He’s crafty with the ball in his hands and is terrific going left (off-hand).
- McGowens walks into the gym looking the part. He has great length to go along with his ball skills and the smooth nature to his game. Off the hoof, he looks the part. Once out on the floor, McGowens has a lot of fluidity to his game which is easy to see why he has 15+ High Major offers to his credit. McGowens is the younger brother of Trey McGowens (a rising sophomore at Pitt), who did not really come into his own athletically until his junior season. Eager to see if McGowens has any type of jump at this point as his brother did.
- McGowens has as much raw talent as anyone in the Carolinas, given his incredibly smart, smooth two-way game. He’s long and wiry with the ability to dominate the game in a variety of ways, particularly on offense. McGowens is already so impressive but genuinely has the ability to continue trending upward in a more national-level situation as a major piece for Lincoln Academy.
- What’s not to like about an athletic and explosive wing that combines strength and finesse. Dontrez is at his best getting out in transition and finishing with crowd-pleasing dunks, but also has excellent body control finishing strong above the rim, not to mention a strong midrange game.
- Styles spent his summer playing 17u with Team CP3 on the EYBL. He has a great frame, length and very strong, but he showcased his skill set. Styles averaged 15 points per game with a game-high of 27. He also added 4.5 boards and 2 assists per game. He currently carries offers from NC State, Maryland, St John’s, Clemson, VCU, East Carolina, Ole Miss, Georgetown, etc…Styles archetype as a player is in the Nigel Hayes mold.
- In terms of physical gifts, arguably no player is more impressive than Styles, who is big, strong, explosive, and starting to become a high-level offensive player. That being said, Styles is already a smart, versatile defender that plays with a game-changing motor. He can initiate the offense, but typically works from the wing and attacks the rim at every possible opportunity while knocking down open shots. Styles, while already quite productive, might truly have the highest upside of anyone in this group.
The 2021 class may not have the no brainer McDonald’s All Americans that previous classes have, but the depth of high to mid-major talent is extensive. That is what makes this class so hard to rank, on staff we had 4 different number 1s between us, that is also what makes this class so much fun as it continues to grow. Already, over 15 players in this class carry Power 5 offers with a handful of others who will earn them at that level. This is a very good class, one to watch closely as they continue to progress and work. Also, in regards to this class, pay close attention to the points leaders in the state of North Carolina, there are some guys in this class can absolutely score the rock.