Carolina Challenge: 2014 Standouts

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Every year the Carolina Challenge provides us with a great look at the overall talent in the state of North Carolina. With 80 of the best players on hand, the event provides a snapshot of the talent in the state. This report consists of the 2014 standouts.

Rusty Reigel, SG – One of the surprises of the camp, Reigel showed tremendous basketball IQ in a camp setting where that is usually lacking. The 6-foot-2 guard made shots off the catch, played well through contact and didn't back down from competition. Although he's a scoring guard, he has some combo to him. He's skilled, sees the floor well and even showed off a mid-range game.

Jaylan Robertson, PG – One of the better senior-to-be point guards in attendance, Robertson took advantage of his opportunities at the Carolina Challenge. Robertson has good speed, which allows him to touch the paint quite often. In the camp setting, Robertson excelled as he got into open spaces, showed off good vision and mixed in floaters and finishes at the rim.

Markell Lodge, PF – An active and bouncy power forward, Lodge anchored the paint for his camp team. At 6-foot-7, 200-pounds, Lodge has a strong frame, is a high level athlete and patrols the paint looking to block shots. Lodge runs the floor well, doesn't shy away from contact and looks to dunk everything in the paint. The next step is developing a go-to offensive move. Lodge scored 11 points, 10 points and 10 points in his three camp games.

Theo Pinson, SF – The talented wing out of High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian had his moments at the Carolina Challenge. One of the better athletes in the 2014 class, Pinson is at his best when he's using his energy to defend, rebound and make plays in transition. He broke out in his last game of the event scoring 21 points. In that run he managed to hit a three and a tough pull-up 18-footer. He averaged 14 points through three games.

Caleb Martin, SF – With his future head coach – Mark Gottfried – looking on, Martin displayed an impressive all around skill set and scoring ability. Martin scored the ball well, especially in his last two games where he scored 15 in each. His jump shoot looked good, as he hit on deep jumpers and 15 to 18-footers. Martin also played with energy, hit the glass and finished well at the rim.

Ibrahima Diallo, C – One of the more physically imposing prospects at the camp, Diallo, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound post player, controlled the paint at times, especially early in camp. Diallo was active, contested shots and looked to reel in rebounds. Diallo scored 17 points in the first game and did so off put backs, a left hook and even hit a 10-foot jump shot. The Winston Salem (N.C.) Quality Education Academy is a big man to keep an eye on this spring.

James Demery, SG – Demery showed some consistency with his ability to score at camp. He averaged 17 a game and finished second to Harry Giles in scoring. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard is an aggressive scorer. He attacks the basket every opportunity he has. He scores well through contact, is a quality athlete and makes toughness plays. Although he didn't step out and show his three-point jumper, he did hit an 18-footer in one of the games we took in.

Cody Martin, PF/SF – While his brother is more of a pure wing, Martin has some combo forward to him. Martin finished 10th in scoring at the event at just under 14 a game. In the games I took in, Martin couldn't get the long range shots to go down, but he certainly got a lot done in the paint. He was active, finished well through contact and made plays at the rim.


Spruill had big event
Thaxter Spruill, PF –The lean, but lengthy power forward showed some promise. He played with energy and proved to be a mismatch at times. Spruill stepped out on the floor and hit mid-range jump shots, but also showed good touch in the paint. At 6-foot-8, he's very mobile and a solid athlete. Going forward he'll need to add some weight to his frame as he lacks the strength to be overly physical inside.

Kedrick Flomo, PG – The Winston Salem (N.C.) North Forsyth lead guard showed a nice pace to his game on Saturday. Flomo is fast, knows how to change up his speeds and gets a touch of the paint on occasion. He makes plays for his teammates and is a quality passer. Flomo also showed he's a comfortable shooter from mid-range. Flomo was one of the better point guards in attendance. He averaged 14.6 points a game.

Gary Clark, PF/SF – One of the forwards that impressed me the most was this 6-foot-7 combination forward. While I think Clark is more of a face up four-man than a true wing, he is skilled enough to step out and attack. He's active, aggressive and rebounds the ball at a high level. Scoring wise, Clark is consistent to mid-range with his jump shot and he has great touch around the basket. He averaged 12.3 points a game during camp.

Shelton Mitchell, PG – Heading into the event, Mitchell was the highest rated point guard in attendance and he certainly lived up to that billing. Mitchell finished 3rd in scoring at just over 15 points a game. The Wake Forest commit has a tremendous feel for the game and excels at changing speeds and keeping defenders off balance. His vision is top notch and his passes are usually on the money. The southpaw scored well at the rim, mixed in a few jump shots and pushed the tempo.

Zane Waterman, PF – As the event wore on, this 6-foot-8 big man impressed more and more. Waterman finished the event with a 21-point game and averaged 15 over the course of the three games. He was one of the hardest playing prospects in attendance and made a major impact on the glass for his team. On top of that, Waterman showed some offense. He has a mid-range jump shot, showed off a consistent right hook and stepped out and attacked defenders off the bounce. Waterman is one to keep an eye on.

Ricky Council, SG – Council finished the Carolina Challenge fourth in scoring. His best weapon appears to be his jump shot. He hunted jumpers at the event and showed off a quick release and pretty good range. He's at best in catch and shoot situations, but he did knock down a step-back three and a pull-up from well beyond the arc. Council, a 6-foot-3, 170-pounder, has added some strength to his frame and is one for college coaches to eye this spring.

*Trey Foster, a standout at Charlotte (N.C.) West, can heat up in a hurry. He shoots the ball well from three and has deep range on his jump shot.

*One of the more active players in the building on Saturday was 6-foot-6 power forward Donovan Gilmore. He played with energy, was active on the glass and finished well inside. He averaged 13.3 a game.

Although the Challenge isn't open to college coaches, there were a host of familiar faces in the building.

North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried was in attendance watching his son. Darrin Horn, former South Carolina coach, and Mark Phelps, formerly of Drake, both talked to the kids in attendance. Dennis Felton and Mike Sutton were also at the event.


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