In a small town setting in eastern North Carolina, with a gym that opens its doors a stones throw away from the railroad tracks which itself is a strong 9-iron from a downtown straight out of a John Wayne western movie set, the boys of Charis Prep are working hard.
Peralta, intent on giving his kids a basketball foundation, pushes his charges through a 2 ½ workout. There are no complaints, no long faces, just a bunch of kids who clearly are willing to work … and sweat.
Guard Josh Sheets has been with Peralta for two years now. He's the leader of the squad. A Raleigh native, Sheets is about to attract interest from top tier mid-major programs and he'll get his share of looks a level higher as well. He began the workout with the ball in his hands, but he's best when he's on the wings where he's often dialed in as a shooter.
Atlanta was good to Peralta this season, yielding a few sleepers who are attracting different levels of interest from college recruiters. The cream of the ATL crop is Darrius Sellers (pictured). The 6-foot-7 combo forward is an athletic presence with a strong body. He'll be coming to a strong mid-major program, maybe even near you. Liberty has had him on campus already.
Also from the Peach State is 230-pounder Armon Jones (pictured below left). Though nursing an injury when we were there, Jones worked through the discomfort and he too will have a chance to impress the mid-level guys. Orlando's Anthony Williams, a 6-foot-7 athletic forward will be his frontcourt running mate.
Last season, DeShaune Griffin was a point guard in Fayetteville, helping his team advance far into the state playoffs. Now, he's a guard looking for a Division I school and he should get his scholarship (reportedly Iona has offered!). The point guard with a presence, is the unselfish sort who understands how and when to get guys the ball. Our bet is that emerges as the guy who runs the show for this squad.
Last year, Pierre Curtis said thanks but no thanks to the Big Sky and opted to test his fortunes on the prep circuit in hopes of landing a mid-level offer. The former player of the year finalist out of Denver, Colo., is a utility athlete for Peralta.
Guys like Austin Johnson, whose grandfather was a baler at South Carolina, and Florian deVries will help on the perimeter.
Peralta has players and some depth on the roster. The coach's trademark is a timing device he carries with him to keep track of drills and he'll even monitor kid's playing time in games with it, making sure he's not overextending anybody's minutes. Nothing fancy, just a simple timer and it works for him.
For Charis Prep, the time is right to make its move and establish itself as a strong prep presence in the South.