Last week, I made my way up to Raleigh for a 4-day stretch to catch some games around the area. My trip was highlighted by two rivalry matchups: Leesville Road vs. Millbrook and Panther Creek vs. Green Hope. Both games were close matchups and featured some impressive prospects. Here’s an overview of what I saw during my time in NC.
6’9” W Eric Van Der Heijden (Millbrook/2021)- The outing that Van Der Heijden had against Leesville last Tuesday left me impressed with the development that he has made since the summer, and left me thinking that his recruitment will blow up sometime soon. At nearly 6’9”, he is a knockdown perimeter shooter who can get clean looks at almost any time. After hitting 2 3’s in the 1st half of the matchup, Van Der Heijden made 3 3’s in the 2nd half to go along with some FT’s to seal the game for the Wildcats. He also made multiple passes through the teeth of Leesville’s zone that setup teammates for easy baskets. Van Der Heijden can pass on the move and has solid vision. He looks to have added to his frame since the summer as well. Currently, he has two offers from George Washington and Old Dominion with some inquiries from higher level programs; Van Der Heijden has a great opportunity to add to his offers with Millbrook playing in the John Wall Holiday Invitational this week.
6’3” W Deon Daniels (Leesville Road/2020)- Daniels was a huge reason that the Leesville-Millbrook game was tight the entire way. On a team with Carter Whitt, who has the ball in his hands a lot and gets in the paint at will, Daniels provides the Pride with a nice complement to Whitt on the perimeter. He didn’t waste any time to insert himself into the game, knocking down corner 3’s early and often in the matchup. Daniels scored 11 points and hit 3 3’s in the 1st half, proving to be the X-factor in Leesville securing a halftime lead. He ended the game with 18 total points and 4 made 3’s, but also left his mark on the game in other areas. Daniels hauled in 7 rebounds, giving impressive effort to get the team more opportunities against a really big Millbrook squad. If Daniels can shoot like that consistently while defending, rebounding, and continuing to do the little things, there’s no reason he can’t find a college home.
6’8” F Will Felton (Millbrook/2021)- Whenever I saw Felton over the summer, he was probably the hardest-playing guy on the court. That still holds true presently, as he recorded another double-double against Leesville with a nice 2nd half performance in particular. In the 1st half, Felton still scored 11 points, but early on there was a lot of swiping and double-teaming when he got the ball, which led to some inefficiency. His nonstop effort on the glass were there as usual and after halftime, he adjusted offensively and looked to be more patient and aware of Leesville’s defensive tendencies in the paint. Felton has a really strong body and long arms that he uses to his full advantage on both ends of the floor. As he continues to add explosiveness and refine his offensive game, he’ll add even more traction to his already growing recruitment.
6’2” SG Scott Martin (Leesville Road/2021)– Similar to Daniels, Martin plays a crucial role for the Pride and helps to negate some of their lack of size. He is an energizer on the wing with his ability to secure rebounds, loose balls, and convert on traffic finishes. Martin takes his time on his path to the basket and somehow finds a way to make layups even when between multiple bodies. He uses his body pretty well and is good at adjusting his body once in the air. What I liked most in the Millbrook matchup was how Martin constantly looked to stay involved in the action. There weren’t many plays that Martin took off, he frequently came up with the ball after a fight for possession by numerous guys on each team. He has a unique game, but it is one that coaches will appreciate.
6’4” SG Daylen Berry (Panther Creek/2021)- Another guy whose recruitment deserves to be heavier, I’m surprised that Berry only has 1 offer (UNC-Greensboro) at the moment. Against Green Hope on Thursday night, he looked like a prospect that should have plenty of regional MM programs hard on his trail. From the opening tip, Berry was aggressive in finding offense against the GH zone, but still balanced it with efficiency and patience. His outside shot has considerable range, a confident release, and good arc. Berry is also effective from the mid-range area where he can really elevate and hang over defenders. Compared to when I saw him in the summer, Berry seems to have improved athletically. He can move and guard multiple positions, and looks better as a leaper, especially off of two feet. There were a few different times in Thursday’s contest where he got way above the rim for emphatic blocks. Berry wants to be in big moments, which was evident when he sunk 6 straight FT’s to ice the game and give Panther Creek a rivalry win on the road. More college suitors should jump in soon.
Outside of the two big rivalry matchups that I saw last week, I also caught a few bad blowouts. Although those type of games don’t provide a good setting for evaluation and there isn’t a ton to take away from lopsided contests, it did allow me to lay eyes on some guys that I want to track and see again in the near future. Perhaps the most notable prospect I saw that falls in that category was 2022 SG Noah Ross from Trinity Academy. Ross and the Tigers demolished Carolina Friends by 60 in the game I watched. In the game, Ross scored 20 points in the 1st quarter alone and has a lot of traits that will have college coaches wanting to watch him. He’s close to 6’6” with a textbook outside shot, length, and decent athleticism. Ross seems to have a good understanding of the game and has nice defensive potential because of his physical traits. Hopefully I can see him in a more competitive setting soon.
Before the Panther Creek-Green Hope game on Thursday, I went down to Fayetteville to see Hoggard’s team. Their game against Gray’s Creek was a 40-point blowout, which improved the Vikings’ record to 7-1. From this group, I liked Sabastian Haidera, a steady senior PG who should be getting a lot of D3 looks, Brady Rankin, a 2021 SG who has a pure stroke and is developing in other areas, and then Jacob Fisher, an active 6’3” 2022 W who does a lot of different things and should end up being really good.