Spotlight: Laurinburg Prep

On Monday evening, we had a chance to watch Laurinburg Prep run through a scrimmage at Chewning Middle School. Head coach Chris Chaney certainly has a lot to work with this season.

Over 10 Division I Players On The Roster

Chris Chaney coached teams are never short of players and the 2002-03 edition of the Laurinburg team is no different.

The biggest name on the current Laurinburg roster is Vakeaton Wafer. Having moved from Louisiana, then to a school in Texas and now to Laurinburg all within the last month, give him a week or two to get used to his new teammates and surroundings and he'll be in hoops heaven. The July circuit standout highlights an impressive group of acrobatic wings.

On Monday night, Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz was in the building watching Wafer workout. Florida State, a newcomer to his list, sent an assistant coach.

Regis Koundjia, an LSU commitment, was also at the workout. Koundjia is consistently mentioned as one of the best athletes in the class. On Monday night, he was making his 3s. He actually looks a little bigger and stronger.

The third member of Laurinburg's deep perimeter rotation is LaKeith Blanks. The National Christian transfer and DC Assault standout is at the school to bump his academic standing. If he can get his grades in order, he'll be an attractive recruit; likely for the spring.

Blanks is an above the rim guy. Routinely, he'll launch himself at the basketball for a momentum changing dunk. At the workout, he showcased an improved jump shot to 3-point range and a nice middle game as well. Again, he could wind up being a late high-major addition, academics permitting.

The guy who drew the largest contingent of college coaches was power forward Boubacar Coly. Syracuse has offered him a scholarship and Jim Boeheim was in the building. So were Miami's Perry Clark and an assistant from Florida State.

Coly, who is about 6-7 ½, has really been consistently improving his game. His fundamentals are getting better and he plays so hard that's its tough not to respect his game. He likes the shoot the short and mid-range jumper and he's improved in that area. You just can't account for the intensity with which he plays and his passion for rebounding.

Speaking of having a passion for rebounding, meet Asrangue Souleymane. We think he's from either Senegal or Central Africa. Regardless, he's a raw offensive talent right now. However, at 6-9 he really chases rebounds and has nice lift to block shots. It's tough to project a level for him right now having seen him just once in a scrimmage game. However, his recruitment would no doubt begin and the mid-major level and work its way up depending on his academics and basketball progress during the season. LSU was the lone school to know really anything about him until recently.

Tyler Jones a native of Denver is also at the school and will likely play a lot of power forward for Chaney. We first saw Jones when he was with the Colorado Chaos at the 2001 Spiece Run ‘n Slam event. A naturally gifted athlete, Jones had an impressive dunk off a rebound in the workout and right now gets all of his offense from his athleticism. We would expect his recruitment, academics permitting, would be at the mid-major level.

Another friend of Koundjia's is countryman Junior Tehoua of Central Africa. The 6-4 guard appears to have bounce and is a nice athlete. He made a few perimeter shots in the short exhibition we watched. Loyola-Chicago was in the house to see him and while it's tough to project a level here, he could draw mid-major attention this year.

The point guard duties at Laurinburg will likely be handled by guys like Troy Mathis and Terrence Crump. Mathis, the lone junior on the prep team, can shoot the ball well from mid and to deep range. Crump, a native of Alabama, is a nice athlete who has some strength.

Chipping in at the small forward will be Joe Dickens, a relative of former Boston Celtic Reggie Lewis. Alabama native Sam Hunter will also see action at the shooting guard spot in the backcourt. Missing from the workout was Christiano Johnson and a number of schools were there to see him.

The Laurinburg Charter team played the first session. Former Mount Zion big man Kareem Cooper was one of two Division I prospects on the floor. Cooper, a left handed shooting power forward, said that he is a junior. He was classified as a junior at Mount Zion last year so he's obviously a little older. He still is in need of work inside from a scoring standpoint.

The second prospect we liked was Bass Dieng. The native of Senegal is also a junior. He has bounce and athleticism and gets off the floor to block shots. He's not very skilled right now and projecting a level is too early at this stage. He's very raw.

Colleges in attendance: Head coaches from Charlotte, East Carolina, Syracuse and Miami. Assistant coaches from: Charlotte, High Point, Fordham, Alabama, South Florida, Louisville, VMI, The Citadel, Syracuse, Loyola-Chicago and Florida State. Keith Drum, a scout with the Sacramento Kings, was also in attendance.

The Faces of Laurinburg Prep

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Left to right: Von Wafer, Regis Koundjia, LaKeith Blanks, Tyler Jones

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Left to right: Boubacar Coly, Junior Tehoua, Asrangue Souleymane, Terrence Crump


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