basketball Edit

Shaw's Takeaways: North Carolina and Virginia events

Donald Hand, Jr.
Donald Hand, Jr. (Matthew Hatfield, VirginiaPreps.com)

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. – After an almost two-year hiatus, college basketball coaches, at every level, were finally able to live recruit this past weekend. The North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association brought together 106 teams from the North Carolina and Virginia public school systems, with 106 different colleges accounted for over the weekend. The North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association brought together 32 teams from the North Carolina private schools league with 102 different colleges accounted for over the weekend.

Rivals.com’s Jamie Shaw was sitting among the coaches in both events, and here are the storylines he walked away with.

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2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30

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HEADLINE MATCH-UP: Donald Hand, Jr. vs. Daniel Sanford

Interest was high in the match-up between 2022 Rivals150 No. 84 Donald Hand, Jr. and Daniel Sanford, as Virginia Beach (Va.) Landstown High paired off against Charlotte (N.C.) JL Chambers. NC State’s Kevin Keatts, Boston College’s Earl Grant, East Carolina’s Joe Dooley and several other coaches were all courtside watching along with dozens of assistant coaches.

Hand, Jr. has a lengthy frame and played with aggression here. He attacked the basket, finished through contact and also showed the ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-5 Hand finished this game with 18-points, and he picked up an offer from Boston College

Sanford is a newer player to the national scene. Sure, he already carries offers from the likes of Tennessee and South Florida, but he just recently started to really be thought of as a possible high-major prospect for coaches to monitor and evaluate. Sanford is a throwback tough guy; he can defend the one through five positions and is an excellent rebounder. The JL Chambers wing stands 6-foot-6 and finished this game with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists.

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OTHER STANDOUTS

Standing as a legit 7-footer, Reeves has continued to make major strides in his game. Blessed with good hands, touch and the ability to run the floor, the 2022 standout showed a willingness to chase rebounds and affect play around the basket. He will need to continue to get stronger and really build onto his frame, but the framework is there. Reeves has already visited South Carolina unofficially earlier this month. He is in the process of setting up unofficial visits to Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

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Nickel is a noted scorer of the basketball and he went out and did that at a high clip. Playing in front of several high-major head coaches, including new North Carolina head man Hubert Davis, the 6-foot-7 Nickel went for over 30 points in each of his four games, with an event-high 36 on Saturday. He has taken an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech already and is looking to set upcoming visits to NC State, North Carolina, Butler, Iowa, West Virginia and LSU.

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It should only be a matter of time before the 6-foot-7 Kell becomes a hot commodity among college coaches. Always a noted shooter, Kell has developed his all-around game, attacking closeouts, rebounding the ball and showing the ability to push the break with the ball. Head coaches from Charlotte, VMI, Georgia Southern, UNC-Wilmington, and Army were watching along with assistants from Longwood, Drexel, Citadel, Winthrop, Texas Corpus-Christi, Appalachian State, Navy and others.

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Standing 6-foot-5, Zanoni can really shoot the ball at a high clip. He seems to be balanced and he moves well, playing off the guard prepared to accept the pass, shot ready. Zanoni carries offers from South Carolina and several mid-major programs. He plays good team defense, and he can really score the ball within two dribbles. There is a lot to like and with 20-plus coaches, from all over the spectrum glued to every game he played, expect there to be a lot of movement with Zanoni in the coming month.

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Hodge has always has the tools as he led his high school team to a 16-1 record this season averaging 20.1 points and 6-rebounds on 41-percent shooting from three. The 6-foot-5 Hodge has picked up offers from Duquesne, Old Dominion, UNC-Wilmington, High Point, Radford, and NC A&T played in front of numerous coaches this weekend. He has the size, he has the skill set, and he showed this weekend he is developing the mind-set to look and take over a game.

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Curry is fresh off a trip to the Team USA 16U mini-camp and playing with the utmost confidence. Standing 6-foot tall the lefty point guard has a slippery way of getting into the paint and he showcased pin-point precision with his passing ability, putting the ball on target and on time, time and time again. The rising junior has early offers from the likes of Florida State and Texas A&M and had college coaches buzzing this weekend.

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Smith came into this event with a lot of buzz, and he showcased why. He has a creative handle, with great feel out of the pick and roll and the ability to live in the paint. As the 6-foot Smith continues to work on his middle game he should continue to become a more dangerous prospect. Smith claims offers from the likes of South Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgetown, DePaul, VCU and Virginia Tech. Look for him to be in the conversation when we update our 2023 rankings.

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Even on a court filled with stars, and hundreds of coaches watching, Giles is pure electricity. The 5-foot-9 guard plays with a competitiveness, and he looks like he is having a blast out there. Never afraid of the moment, he carries offers from a number of mid-major programs. If you can get past Giles' size, the scoring and excitement are very real here.

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Emoubor really started to turn some heads during quarantine, over this past year. This weekend Emoubor picked up an offer from Illinois. The 6-foot-4 wing set the tone as an aggressive two way player, but where he showed improvement was with his jump shot. Through his two games on Sunday, Emoubor knocked down seven threes. Already a physically developed and explosively athletic wing who can handle and pass, you add in the shooting and you see why Virginia Tech was at each of his games, along with the likes of Boston College, Virginia and Butler. Look for him to be in the conversation when we update our 2023 rankings and expand to 150.