Since his days as the skipper for the powerful Newport School when guys like Rodney White and James White laced them up under his direction, Chris Chaney has always had players. In his third season at the helm of Laurinburg, Chaney is set to roll out a prep squad that could have as many as 17 Division I players.
Not everybody is a high-major prospect, but nearly half the roster is dotted with guys who you can catch on the tube during the season next year.
Up front is where Laurinburg is really scary. Jackie Butler (left), the former McDonald's All-American, is the big name guy in the paint. He's bound for Mississippi State and on Saturday showed that he can score with his back to the basket.
Future Oklahoma big man Longar Longar is coming around on offense and everyone knows that he's a standout shot blocker who has above average athleticism. Richard Dorsey, a Memphis commitment, is likely to come off the bench and he brings a 6-8, chiseled body that specializes in dunking. Chris Ferguson, a prospect who committed to Coastal Carolina during a weekend visit, will also be a role player.
The "X-Factor" of the bunch is Bienvenu Songondo. "Benny" is from the Republic of Central Africa and played in the second half of the season at Towson Catholic last year. He's the second player – Regis Koundjia being the first – from Central Africa to play for Chaney in as many years.
"Benny" (right) had his knee scoped in September and no one really knows what level he is. However, plenty are interested in the 6-11 prospect. Maryland, LSU, Southern Cal and South Carolina are in the mix. He could start playing as early as next week.
"Everybody has a lot of high interest in him," said assistant coach Jay Couch, "but nobody has seen him." That'll change once the season begins. They'll be lining up to get looks at him.
There aren't that many college teams with two perimeter guns like Chaney has. Vincent Banks, last year's state player of the year in Georgia, is the No. 1 marksman of the bunch. He's bound for Cincinnati and his stroke is pure.
C.J. Anderson will play a unique role. He's could wind up playing a handful of positions and gives Laurinburg a fine rebounder at 6-6 who loves to get on the glass and has a knack for making plays. Anderson is hearing from Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Seton Hall and Pittsburgh to name a few. He's originally from Cincinnati.
Last weekend, Chris Fuller committed to Loyola-Chicago. The 6-5 lefty (left) is an excellent mid-range shooter and a full qualifier from Las Vegas. He's going to receive his share of minutes as well.
It looks like Dewayne Forman, a 5-10 guard who signed with Murray State last year, is going to receive a long look at the point. He's fast and looks to have some toughness. Georgia Southern is in the mix for him. Earl Risby, a native of the D.C. area is also in the main rotation in the backcourt and Philly native Maureece Rice, one of the area's top scorers ever, should log backcourt time as well.
Like we said, Laurinburg goes 17 deep. Eric Howard and Delaware native Evan Martin will get some burn with the ball in their hands off the bench. Justin Holland and Kris Clark are versatile backcourt players. Frenchman Loic Therpole will be a 6-6 reserve who'll play the small forward spot.
This is a squad with high expectations. Chaney's bunch is looking forward to the War On The Shore in November and there's little doubt that Laurinburg will be among the elite of the elite prep school teams in the nation this year. With this many Division I prospects, they'll begin the season as one of two teams – Hargrave being the other – that programs are gunning for.