Prep Tour: Charis Prep

<b>GOLDSBORO, N.C. –</b> Carlos Peralta wanted to give a program direction. So, he packed up his things at Community Christian and opened up a ministry and basketball program at Charis Prep. He's built the program around one ACC-bound prospect.

Even the most ardent high school basketball fan has probably never heard much about Charis Prep in Goldsboro, N.C. That's OK, there's really no reason to have heard about them prior to this year and because this is a first-year program and a new venture into the world of prep school basketball.

Carlos Peralta, the former head coach at Wayne Country Day and Community Christian, is the man behind the idea. So far, he's got 31 students at the school, nearly half of whom are hoop players.

"I felt the need to start a school that would push academics, be diverse and teach Christian principles," Peralta said. "I started the school because I was frustrated with our own life of our daughters. I didn't like seeing people categorized by social, economic status."

Peralta will serve as the minister of Abundant Life – the home base of the school – and also the team's basketball coach.

Jimmy Graham, a 6-foot-7+ power forward from the Class of 2006, will be the team's star. During the summer, Graham committed to the Miami Hurricanes shortly after making the all-star game at the Reebok ABCD Camp. Since then, he's reclassified as a junior and continues growing his signature afro which made waves last summer.

Lightly recruited prior to the beginning of last summer, Graham saw his chance and grabbed it at ABCD. "I heard it was guard oriented. I know I'm good at defense so I just hustled, got rebounds and blocked shots." And the strategy worked.

You can bet that Miami would like to get him next season as a Class of 2005er, but Graham is on track to arrive in the fall of 2006. He's got a plan. "When I go somewhere I want to be ready to make an impact. I'm taking all my classes in case something changes. I'm excited about being here."

Last season at Community Christian, Graham wasn't challenged. That's not the case this year. Charis boasts a frontline comprised of Division I prospects.

So far, he and Quinton Goods, a 6-7+ power forward have bonded and help each other out in workouts designed to push each other.

You can expect Goods to add an element of athleticism and shot blocking prowess to this team.

Another big man, Ola Otobeyi, has enough bulk, beef and tenacity to make things interesting. Otobeyi is from Chicago and has a brother who currently plays at Elon. He's got a chance to be a mid-major prospect because of his ability to work inside and rebound.

The Charis backcourt will be spearheaded by three guards. Zaire Taylor, a Delaware commitment, is likely to see time at both guard slots. Josh Sheets, a reclassified junior, shoots it and has leadership qualities. Orlando Mendez, a San Antonio native, will get the ball at the point.

Peralta won't be afraid to test the overseas waters either. For instance, Alex von Kursell, a 6-foot-6 forward just arrived from Spain with the hopes of playing his way into a D-I ride.

College In Attendance 9/13 Elon head coach Ernie Nestor.


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