Six high school teams gathered at the Crown Center in Fayetteville to participate in the Hoops & Dreams Showcase event.
Day one of the showcase featured a nightcap match up between powerhouse Oak Hill Academy and host Northwood Temple. That contest, won by the visiting Warriors, featured a pair of N.C. State commitments, Immanuel Bates and Ian Steere, and one 2018 target, forward Keldon Johnson, the No. 14 ranked player in the country, according to 247Sports.
Here’s what we learned:
Keldon Johnson is the real deal
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Johnson, a 6-6 wing, was the best player on the court right from the start. Johnson can shoot from 3-point range, drive to the basket and has no problems playing in-your-face defense, as the Warriors used a full-court press to frustrate the Eagles from the opening tip. Oak Hill would go on for a 84-39 victory.
Johnson, who finished with 23 points, has the Wolfpack in his final five, along with Kentucky, Texas, Maryland and Boston College. Wolfpack first-year head coach Kevin Keatts was at Oak Hill two weeks ago, still hoping to lure the five-star recruit to Raleigh. Johnson said he was impressed with Keatts’ honesty every time he talks to the coach.
Oak Hill took on Word of God of Raleigh at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Bates just a spectator
Bates, who committed to the Wolfpack on Sept. 15, was in his jersey, but never got on the floor against Oak Hill. Bates has a shoulder injury that will kept him out of action until Nov. 16. Bates, a four-star recruit, is ranked the No. 98 overall, and No. 7 player in the state, according to 247sports’ composite rankings.
Steere could have used the help
Steere, Bates’ teammate at Northwood Temple, committed to the Wolfpack three weeks after Bates, struggled against the big Oak Hill front line. Steere, also a four-star recruit, played with a heavily wrapped left wrist and never got going offensively, as he was the main focus of the Warriors’ defense without Bates. Steere finished with just seven points.
Northwood Temple guard Josh Nickleberry (2019), a four-star recruit who transferred from Oak Hill, was the Eagles’ lone spark plug, finishing with 10 points. Nickleberry is being recruited by North Carolina and Louisville.