We are back with the 3A West preview of the NCHSAA this year. This division is very talented and deep, but who will win the title this year? We profile 5 schools we think have a chance at it. West…
We are back with the 3A West preview of the NCHSAA this year. This division is very talented and deep, but who will win the title this year? We profile 5 schools we think have a chance at it.
West Charlotte- West Charlotte was a strong, gritty team last year that just kept winning on their way to a 3A state title. Donovan Raymond Donovan Raymond 6'9" | C West Charlotte | 2023 State NC comes back to anchor the middle as a strong, tough, hard-nosed big. He moves well both laterally and up and down the court, and provides an elite shot-blocking presence for the Lions. Chadlyn Traylor Chadlyn Traylor 6'3" | CG West Charlotte | 2025 State NC is a big lead guard who creates and scores well off the dribble. His feel and passing ability are both advanced beyond his years, and should only get better. He’s also got a good pull up jumper and can knock it down to outisde the arc. Ollie Alford Ollie Alford 6'0" | CG West Charlotte | 2023 State NC is a defensive stalwart that will turn the ball over and get easy buckets when the team needs it. This group is always tough and should win just as many games this year even with the loss of some seniors.
Central Cabarrus- This squad is deep; there’s no way around it. Jaiden Thompson Jaiden Thompson 6'1" | PG Central Cabarrus | 2023 State NC is a good defender with a nose for the ball, and works as hard as anyone to turn guys over or force bad shots. Offensively, he contributes well with an automatic jumper inside the arc. Chase Daniel Chase Daniel 6'1" | CG Central Cabarrus | 2024 State NC and Carsen Daniel are twins that profile similarly, as both are good scorers, playmakers, and jump passing lanes for steals. Carsen will provide a bit more of a 3 point shot and a focus on finding teammates, while Chase loves to attack the cup and do his damage near the rim. Both are talented players who will contribute a lot. Gavin Bullock is the glue guy of this team, doing everything his team needs him to do to win. Elijah Ford is a knockdown shooter who should expand his role for these guys this year. The talent runs deep at CC, and another 30-1 season will not be out of the question.
Ben L. Smith- These guys are such a consistent program and will bring back a lot of guys again this year. Markquan Gilbert is so dynamic in his athleticism and scoring ability, and his attitude helps him elevate that scoring even more. He is physical and aggressive in attacking the rim and finishes over and through people consistently. Braylon Collins is a shifty smaller guy that will probably take over the lead guard spot this year. He is dynamite in transition and will be able to create both for himself and for his teammates. Gage Lattimore will also be a supporting piece with his deadly outside shot and ability to just make the right play at both ends of the floor. This team is well coached and has a bunch of solid guys, so they will be contenders no matter what level of top to bottom talent they have in store.
Hickory- Hickory is a team full of winners and high character guys and will be a fun team to monitor. Jamien Little is one of the top names in the 2025 class and is still making strides as a player. He is a downhill player who can finish and make plays out of drives, and his motor is almost endless. Jayden Maddox Jayden Maddox 6'0" | SF Charlotte Elite Academy | 2023 State NC is a real 3 and D guy at the high school level, who knocks down shots and jumps opposing guards to be a steal monster. John Holbrook is their frontcourt presence who plays hard, but also has some post scoring skill to them. He can play inside out with their other guards on a consistent basis as long as he can stay on the court physically. It will be interesting to find out who else comes out and supports this team in smaller roles, but these three guys seem to be the main contributors to what should be a winning Hickory team this year.
Enka- Enka is a really experienced squad that lost some pieces to college last year, but have brought a lot back to make a run at a championship. Jacob Tiller is a really underrated guy in the state right now, as he can fill it up from anywhere on the floor. He is a deadeye shooter, and can attack well off the bounce by either pulling up or attacking the rim. His length and quickness make him a help on the glass and on defense. Jacob Adair Jacob Adair 6'1" | SG Enka | 2023 State NC returns to be the facilitator and secondary scorer for this group, as he has shown his playmaking ability off at a big time level this summer. He can also score the ball as a lights out shooter from beyond the arc, and he will definitely provide some big buckets as defenses sag into the paint and leave him too open this year. Logan Crook will be another member of the guard trio that does the damage, providing length, size, and athleticism that makes him a threat defensively, especially in passing lanes. Look for these three guys to have a say in who makes the title game this year.
Check back this weekend for the conclusion of our preview series with the 4A East and West divisions!