In the past two months, Patrick Wessler has grown from 6-9 to darn near 7-feet.
Seven footers are rare in high school basketball, especially 7-foot (rising) sophomores who have legitimate three-point shooting touch.
“Oh yeah,” said Butler High School boys basketball coach Myron Lowery, “Patrick can shoot the 3.”
This was the first year that the NCAA allowed its Division I college coaches to watch high school teams play in June. Wessler took big advantage of the opportunity, canning 45 percent of his 3s at live period sessions in Charlotte (yes, a 7-footer, in high school, made 45 percent of his 3s). He capped off his strong month of June with a 20-point, 14-rebound game against Central Cabarrus (NC) High.
Lowery said he saw college coaches feverishly taking notes each time Wessler made a play. That kind of performance definitely drops Wessler’s name on our list of The Stars Of Tomorrow.
“He’s got three more high school seasons,” Lowery said. “Usually it takes big kids much longer to develop, and he’s really been working hard at it. I know this, we’re really looking forward to his season this year.”
Here are some other rising sophomores (class of 2022) and juniors (class of 2021) in the Carolinas and Virginia that you will be hearing about soon, if you haven’t already.
NORTH CAROLINA CLASS OF 2021
Cam Hayes, Greensboro Day, 6-1, PG: the No. 1 recruit in his state in this age group, Hayes is a 4-star top 60 national recruit who holds offers from schools like Florida State, Louisville and Maryland.
Carter Whitt, Leesville Road (Raleigh, NC), 6-2, PG: a four-star national recruit, White has offers from multiple ACC (Boston College, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech) and SEC (Florida, Ole Miss) schools.
Dontrez Styles, Kinston, 6-7, SF: Averaged 15.8 points and 9.8 rebounds as a sophomore. Should be on a bundle of preseason all-state teams
Josh Taylor, Greensboro Day, 6-8, F: Interior presence for one of the nation’s top teams on the high school ranks. Battle tested big.
Terquavion Smith, Farmville Central, 6-3, SG: committed to N.C. State as a sophomore and led his team to the N.C. 2A state championship last summer.
Others: Ja’Dun Michael, Burlington School, 6-6, SF; Elijah Jamison, Louisburg, 6-3, PG; Jalen McDonald, Knightdale, 6-5, SG; AJ Smith, Hickory Grove, 6-6, SG; Bobby Pettiford, South Granville, 6-1, CG.
NORTH CAROLINA CLASS OF 2022
Jaden Bradley of Cannon School
Jaden Bradley, Cannon School, 6-2, PG: a top five national recruit tracking to be one of the state’s best-ever at his position, a la Chris Paul.
MJ Rice, Durham Academy, 6-5, SF: Rice is an explosive athlete, a five-star top 10 national recruit who has a high ceiling. Read his Big Shots feature here.
Jalen Hood-Schifino, Combine Academy, 6-4, PG: Hood-Schifino was recently invited to Stephen Curry’s annual camp for elite national guards. He’ll play high school for his AAU coach, Team Charlotte’s Jeff McInnis.
DeAnte Green, Christ School, 6-9, PF: Don’t be surprised if Green works his way into the top 50 nationally. Some believe he’s No. 2 in the state, right now, behind only Bradley.
Asa White, Garner, 6-8, SF: White is beginning to get more comfortable out on the wing and is among the state’s best athletes in his class.
Others: Daniel Sanford, Vance, 6-6, PF; Zaharee Maddox, Davie County, 6-0, PG; Jacob Newman, Myers Park, 6-0, PG; Patrick Wessler, Butler, 6-11, PF; Christian Reeves, Cannon School, 7-0, C; Davis Molnar, Sanford, 6-6, PF; DJ Nix, Cannon School, 6-7, PF; Amari Pearson, Fayetteville Academy, 6-3, SG
SOUTH CAROLINA CLASS OF 2021
John Butler, Christ Church, 7-0, C: the No. 1 recruit in his state for 2021, Butler is a top 30 national recruit with a penchant for blocking shots.
Bryce McGowens, Wren, 6-5, SG: McGowens is transferring to Lincoln Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C. after leading Wren to a 22-7 record last season, when he averaged 26 points per game.
Korey Richardson, Lower Richland, 6-4, SG: 4-star national recruit has interested from Iowa State, South Carolina and Wofford.
Jacobi Wright, Legacy Early College, 6-1, PG: Wright transferred from Fort Mill High and recently got an offer from College of Charleston.
Josh Beadle, Carson Newman, 6-4, SG: South Carolina target with solid all-around game.
Others: Gabe Wiznitzer, Christ School (NC), 6-11, C; Cesare Edwards, Hartsville, 6-8, PF; Tyler Rice, Ridge View, 6-0, PG; Ben Burnham, Carmel Christian (NC), 6-7
SOUTH CAROLINA CLASS OF 2022
Julian Phillips, Blythewood, 6-7, SF: A long rangy wing, Phillips is a top 40 national recruit. Phillips holds offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Nebraska and South Carolina.
Luke Bracey, Rock Hill, 6-5, PF: Among his school’s top players and leading scorers as a freshman; Bracey is a top 125 national recruit.
Perry Smith, Legacy Early College, 6-8, SF: major college talent being recruited by Buffalo, Clemson, N.C. State and South Carolina.
Dylan Williams, Irmo, 5-9, PG: cat-quick lead guard is fearless driver and picked up his first offer High Point in the spring. Played varsity since 8th grade.
Elijah Ormiston, Easley Home School, 6-6, F: Averaged 25.2 points, 11.4 rebounds last season.
Others: Heston Foster, North Charleston, 6-4, SF
VIRGINIA CLASS OF 2021
Efton Reid, Steward School (Richmond, VA), 7-foot, Jr, C/PF: A top 30 national recruit, Reid is chasing a fifth star. At this rate he may get it. Reid holds a Virginia offer.
Trevor Keels, Paul VI (Fairfax, VA), 6-4, Jr, G: A top 40 recruit nationally, Keels is another 4-star on the verge of a fifth. Keels holds offers from schools like Maryland and Georgetown.
Roosevelt Wheeler, John Marshall (Richmond, Va.), 6-10, Jr., C: Another huge four-star talent in Richmond, Wheeler plays for coach Ty White’s powerhouse state title contender.
AJ Williams, Varina (Richmond, VA), 6-3, PG: Another talented player win the Richmond-area, Williams is a 3-star recruit nationally.
Oluwasegun Durosinmi, Virginia Academy (Ashburn, VA), 6-9, C: Yes, Virginia’s full of talented big men in the 2021 class. He’s another. A 3-star recruit nationally.
Others: Gabe Wiznitzer, Hargrave Military, 6-11, C; Elvin Edmonds, Hopewell, 6-2, PG; Avery Ford, Paul VI, 6-7, PF; Jaylani Darden, Norview, 6-3, SG
VIRGINIA CLASS OF 2022
Dug McDaniel, Paul VI, 5-10, PG: Shifty point guard holds offers from George Washington, Mount St. Mary’s and Wake Forest.
Favours Aire, Virginia Academy, 6-10, C: A top 20 national recruit got his first offer from Rutgers in July 2018. Nigerian-born star.
Saxby Sunderland, Flint Hill School, 6-0, PG: contributor for a 26-4 team last season. Plays on adidas Gauntlet in summer.
Tyler Nickel, East Rockingham, 6-7, SF: Virginia Tech and James Madison have offered Nickel who is tracking as a top 200 national prospect.
Quinn Clark, Gonzaga, 6-5, SF: 4-star national recruit tracking as a high major recruit.
Others: Harrison Alexander, school TBD, 6-8, SF; David Solomon, Lake Braddock, 6-5, PF; Maliq Brown, Blue Ridge, 6-8, PF; Jayden Epps, Granby, 5-10, PG; Donald Hand Jr., Landstown, 6-2 PG; Justin Taylor, St. Anne’s-Belfield, 6-5, SG