- February 1st, 2012:
The most important thing you can do as a high school player in North Carolina right now is to finish your season strong. Nothing can replace the pursuit of a championship. It's time to lock in on what your coach is saying, lock out the extraneous voices in your ear and enjoy the ride that the next few weeks can provide.
The second most important thing you can do is to turn in your registration for the 2012 Carolina Challenge. This year is a little different. The 2013 class in our state is deep and laced with numerous DI players. In fact, we've invited more 2013 kids than any other class in the history of The Challenge. The thinking is these kids have earned the right to compete for scholarships. Because of that, for the first time in the event's history, I've invited more players than we have spots for. That means the first 80 invitees to turn in their paperwork will lock in spots. Consider this your first foray into earning a scholarship. Take the responsibility head on, get your paperwork turned in and go out and win a state championship!
On March 24, 80 of the best players in North Carolina will gather where McDonald's All-Americans, Jordan Game participants and John Wall, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, once played. No other state in the country has a day like March 24 where the best of the best are invited to compete. Get registered, get ready and be prepared to learn about your strengths, weaknesses and where you stack up against the kids you're competing against for scholarships.
- January 25th:
Invitations went out this week to the event. So far, we've invited 71 players meaning there's still time to earn your invitation. League titles and state championships aren't the only thing on the line in February and March. We'll be out making sure our roster includes the best of the best and the only way to earn and invitation is to play your way into one.
Over 15 percent of the entire ACC, by next fall, will have played in the Carolina Challenge so the scope of the event is unmatched anywhere in the country. For one day, the eyes of the entire basketball nation will be on North Carolina. This is your day! Last year, Tyler Lewis (2012) captivated the hearts and eyes of those in attendance. Quincy Miller dominated on the court and continued to raise the bar for his 2011 classmates. Terry Whisnant was the best shooter at the event and weeks later, the Florida State Seminoles offered him a scholarship!
- March 21st:
are thrilled to announce that Norm Roberts, former St. John's head
coach, will address the campers next weekend at the Carolina Challenge.
Norm recently finished a 6-year stint at St. John's. Aside from being
an outstanding head coach and one of the best assistants of the last
decade, Norm sports a well-earned reputation as one of the game's best
recruiters and classiest people. It's a unique opportunity for our
campers to have a chance to listen to someone with Norm's basketball
- March 19th:
Challenge is just around the corner. Congrats to the state
champions from last weekend's public school finals. Alums Paul Larsen
and Reggie Price were magnificent in leading Lake Norman past alum
Chris Wilson and Terry Sanford. Props to Wilson for mustering the
effort after getting hit with the stomach bug the day before the game.
Reggie Bullock ended his career with 2,001 points and another state
title. Tashawn Mabry completed a ridiculous post-season run with his
Rocky Mount title. He beat Jaquise Moore and Concord for the
Next weekend's event has the makings of a special day. You know the
headliners -- Quincy Miller, P.J. Hairston, Marquis Rankin, Anthony
Gill, Marshall Plumlee, Dez Wills -- but do you know the sleepers? Most
of the state will get its introduction to New Hanover's Freddie Jackson
(2011) and Montrezl Harrell (2012) of North Edgecombe.
I'd like to thank everyone who called or emailed with potential
recruits. The single most difficult task with this event is formulating
the list of 80 players. Each year we make an honest effort to assemble
the 80 most worthy candidates. Sometimes we miss on guys. For the guys
who don't get selected and are Division I prospects, its my job to make
sure eventually you receive the recruiting attention you deserve.
Thanks for your patience.
If you're one of the 80 coming next Saturday, here's my advice: come
prepared. Get a good night's rest. It's a long day and we plan on
challenging you physically and mentally. Everyone always asks: "What do
I need to do to make a splash?" You need to play your game. Don't come
to the Challenge clicking off 3s if you're not a shooter. If you
can't dunk, don't try it next Saturday. In the past, the guys who look
the best have come with an overall approach to the game. Share the
ball, show your hoops IQ and makes the most of your chances to score.
The best overall player at the Carolina Challenge has NEVER led the
event in scoring. Never.
- February 22nd:
me so long to update the blog, but I've been busy! The first
order of business that we're now located at CarolinaChallenge.com. A
guy in Virginia sold me the rights to the site so you can still use
CarolinaChallenge.net or the new .com address. It's the little things
As for the basketball, I've been grinding on the road lately. My wife's
been on me about taking care of myself (my back's in bad shape) but I'm
addicted to seeing as many of you as I can before the Challenge. BTW,
invitations to 81 players went out. It's important to get yours turned
in to guarantee you'll be part of the day. After the deadline, we're
going to the waiting list and I can tell you, there are good players
presently without an invite.
There are a few guys who earned invites this month. A friend tipped me
off about 2013 power forward Isaiah Hicks of Oxford Webb and all he did
was record a triple-double when I saw him! He's in! Sophomore Xavier
Griffin of Oakwood punched his ticket. I went to the I-MECK conference
tourney and all I can say is the state will be excited to see 2012 wing
Shawn Lester. Ditto for 2011 Aaron Roundtree who is presently trying to
get over the hump against Kinston. Speaking of Kinston, Mike Tyson (no,
not that Mike Tyson) is getting better and better. Freshman sensation
Rodney Purvis closed his season with some big scoring efforts. Butler's
Marcus Burtoon dropped a playoff clinching shot that made headlines in
Charlotte. James Milliken of Jordan Matthews impressed director Denny
Kuiper and punched his ticket.
Kudos to alujms Reggie Bullock (4 conference titles), J.T. Terrell
(scoring spree and conference title), Chris Wilson (hasn't lost since
the state title game and is 26-0), Tyler Lewis (double-digit assist vs
Oak Hill). It's looking like Bullock, Leslie and Ian Miller are in the
running for Gatorade POY! Both Bullock and Leslie made the McDonald's
team and Miller made the cut for the final 50.
March 27 is the most important date on my calendar. Trust me when I
tell you that NO OTHER STATE in America comes together for one day like
ours does. This is your day. If your an alum, come back and support. If
you didn't get the call this year, come see what its like. If your the
parent of an invited player, spend the day with your son and attend our
parent conference on academics and recruiting.
This year's theme: Compete. Respect. Return.
And finally, for the 4th year in a row, I've been asked to provide
color commentary for TIme Warner Cable during the state championships.
This year I'll have the call of the 2-A and 4-A state title games. I'll
be at Reynolds Coliseum for the games. Who's joining me? Good luck in
- January 29th:
camp invitations has yielded a series of confirmations
already. The very first player to reach out was Winston-Salem prep
freshman Greg McClinton.
This week we've already heard from super soph Tyler Lewis, juniors
Tyquan Roberts, Jackson Simmons, Keynan Pittman, Jordan Robertson,
Jaleel Roberts and South Carolina pledge Anthony Gill. Durham's finest,
sophomore T.J. Warren is in as well as Raleighwood sleeper guard Josh
On Thursday night, we ventured out to see sophomore power forward
Montrezl Harrell of North Edgecombe. Word of the street was Harrell is
a walking triple-double. Well, we had to see it for ourself and guess
what? TRIPLE-DOUBLE! Harrell had 27 points, 16 rebounds and 10
blocks. He'll be there March 27 as well.
Finally, Paul Shugar of the Fayetteville News & Observer updated a
story on Damontre Harris and previewed this year's Fayetteville-area
- January 27th:
Mabry is in the record books.
Move over Phil Ford. Mabry is now Rocky Mount's all-time scoring
On Tuesday, Mabry passed Ford with 2,093 career points.
Congrats to Lakeem Jackson as South Carolina knocked off No. 1
Kentucky. The game featured three Challenge alums in Jackson, UK's John
Wall and USC director of basketball operations L.J. Hepp. Formally of
Panther Creek High, Hepp is in his first season in Columbia. The entire
Christ School team which includes 2010 invitees Demarcus Harrison,
Marshall Plumlee and Tony Kimbro was in attendance for the game.
- January 22nd:
sent out to the players we've
identified as Carolina Challenge material. What does that mean? It
means there's still a chance to earn an invitation and we're still on
the grind looking for the best of the best.
In setting up this year's Challenge, we took a look at the first three
camps. Since 2007, we've been hosting the event. In three years, the
Carolina Challenge has sent an estimated 90 players onto college!
During that time, 19 players from the event have gone on to play in the
ACC. Understand this: there are 126 players in the ACC. That
means 15% of the entire league participated in our camp!
Appalachian State (6), as of next fall, will have the most alums on its
roster. Congrats to Griffin Shaw, a 2009 participant, for becoming a
preferred walk-on with a shot at a future scholarship. Ten players
matriculated to the Southern Conference in our first three years.
This event is for our state, consisting of guys from our state. It's
not my event, its our state's event. We want to pack the stands at Cary
Academy this year. We're going to have some supreme matchups. Where
else can you see Quincy Miller vs Anthony Gill? Marquis Rankin vs.
Chris Wilson or Anthony Stitt? How about Tyler Lewis, the guy everyone
likes to live vicariously through? You'll see the dunks of Deuce and
Bishop plus witness the rise of Braxton Ogbueze. You'll be able to see
P.J. Hairston rain 30-footers ala J.T. Terrell.
We'll also have a guy named Montrezl Harrell. Never heard of him? You
will. Ditto for Kennedy Meeks.
"I can't wait, I love the Carolina Challenge," said Michael Telep, the
event's four-year old ambassador and chief hydration specialist. You
need a drink of water, Michael Telep will be there in an instant. He's
fired up. Are you?
- January 7th:
toward tightening up our list for the
Carolina Challenge. Some guys have punched their ticket, others are
still being evaluated.
During the Christmas break, we laid eyes on West Charlotte power
forward Kennedy Meeks and he was offered and accepted his invitation on
the spot. He's got a bright future. So far, we've found nearly 10
freshmen for the Challenge.
Right now, the state's deepest class appears to be the 2011 group. We
may have more juniors at the event than even before, thus making each
invitation and selection very difficult. Our state has well over 40
Division I prospects in that class. One new name to watch is Charlotte
Christian forward Worth Smith, a recent invitee to the Challenge.
At the GSK, Challenge alum Ian Miller was THE MAN. He's elevated his
play to the point where he's under consideration for the McDonald's AA
game. If he were to make it, the state of North Carolina could wind up
with three burger game participants: Miller, Reggie Bullock and C.J.
Leslie. Combined the trio played in seven Carolina Challenges!.
- November 4th:
the state will tip off their
scrimmage schedule. That means we'll be out in full force
watching the next generation. On Nov. 7, our travels take us to Terry
Sanford for a scrimmage featuring a host of underclassmen, including
2009 camper Chris Wilson. Later in the day we'll be at Word of God for
C.J. Leslie as he squares off against young buck forward Jacob Lawson!
Here's a name we've been impressed with so far: Josh Newkirk. Don' t
know him? That's because he hasn't played a varsity game yet. However,
this SE Raleigh point guard from the 2012 class is shaping up to be a
- March 26th:
at 9:30 a.m.,
Saturday at Cary Academy. Players, you guys can begin to check in at
7:30 am and everyone participating should be there no later than 8:45
the day on Court
#1 with a Reggie Bullock/P.J. Hairston tilt? The last time these two
played, they combined for 57 points. But, you might want to watch a
half of that one and skip over to Gym #2 where Deuce Bello and Devince
Boykins are lacing them up.
future Seminole Ian
Miller lock up in what could be a game of the day scenario if you like
scoring! Over on Court #2 at the same time you could see Melvin Tabb
and forward Jackson Simmons with a load of wings like Bishop Daniels,
Brian Richardson, Reco McCarter, Reggie Dillard, Jay Canty and Terry
Whisnant on the floor.
and Marshall Plumlee on
Court #1 with Reggie Bullock and Co. At the same time on Court #2 you
can see two of the top sophs duel as Bello and Hairston collide.
featuring CJ Leslie and Melvin
Tabb? Terrell will be next door trying to get buckets against Brian
against up and comer Quincy
And finally to close it down at 5:20 it's a Wake Fan's special. Terrell
vs. Tabb plus a matchup featuring point guards Brennan Wyatt and Poobie
Chapman. Meanwhile, on the #2 court, sophs Marquis Rankin and Anthony
Stitt get to see who leaves with bragging rights and returns to the
- March 19th:
its time to get down
to playing basketball. The third edition of the Carolina Challenge is
set. The participants are now listed on the site. Click here for the list
will be a coach's
clinic at Panther Creek. Darrin Horn, South Carolina's first-year head
coach, is the featured speaker. N.C. State assistant Pete Strickland
and at least one more assistant coach will address a growing contingent
of coaches from across the state!
Curry are coming
back and spending the day with us. They'll be on the benches serving as
mentors to the guys hoping to one day take their places. Wall is
undecided and Curry will play basketball at Harvard.
7:30 am and runs until
8:45. The guys will get together for a brief practice and then we tip
at 9 a.m. Admission is free and strong crowds are expected so we
encourage friends, family and fans to come early!
- March 16th:
champions BUT Terry Sanford
made them earn it! What a game as Tabor staved off a huge rally from
Terry Sanford. <p> There are two big names that emerged during
the state finals. The first, Sanford's Chris Wilson. A sophomore point
guard, we expect Wilson to be a breakout player at the Carolina
Challenge and one of the event's most competitive players.
guard Aaron Toomey. Both Wilson and Toomey should be hungry for
the competition and each punched their entrance into the Carolina
Challenge by virtue of huge state tournament runs. <p> Props to
Carolina Challenge alums Eric Mayo of Shelby and Jonathan Frye and
Jacob Lawson of Northern Guilford. Each earned a state championship
ring this week.
Later this week we'll release the full Carolina Challenge roster. We're
also pleased to announce that this year there will be a coach's clinic
the night before the Carolina Challenge. It'll take place at Panther
Creek High March 27. For more information, coaches should contact L.J.
Hepp via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- March 11th:
Challenge campers (C.J. Harris and Mike Grace) lace them up against
Terry Sanford in the 4-A championship game. Tabor edged a previously
undefeated Hopewell squad and won the right to play for the title.
Bishop McGuinness team
matched against Weldon. Toomey earned his invitation with a big year
and tremendous play down the stretch for McGuinness. He's what the
Carolina Challenge is all about: a chance to measure yourself against
high school game against
Northwood in the 2-A championship.
Dudley twice and Kinston this year. For his efforts, he'll match
against Forestview for the title. NG will send wing Jonathan Frye and
power forward Jacob Lawson to the Challenge.
semifinal was, in my eyes,
the game of the year. Kinston edged Dudley as the teams stars played to
the best of their abilities. Reggie Bullock finished with 28 points and
Dudley's PJ Hairston netted 29, including an en fuego second quarter in
which he scored 20 points! Do you think we might see this matchup again
on March 28? There's a good bet!
Luke Cothron? Deuce Bello
against Hairston? Ah, the possibilities are endless. Mix in some under
the radar guys and you've got the makings for a huge day. Stay tuned as
we announce participants and potential matchups in the next week!
<p> And finally, please remember to remind those parents who plan
on coming about the academic seminar for friends and family!.
- February 26th:
number in the 4-A playoffs until Wednesday night. Former campers Mike
Grace and C.J. Harris combined with senior Josh Hicks to help Tabor
In a game that had no less than seven DI prospects (all guards), big
men were not needed. Carolina Challenge invitees Jacoby Davis, Marquis
Rankin and Braxton Ogbueze couldn't thwart the senior laden Tabor trio.
Vance junior Daryl Traynham did not play.
the private school playoffs in
P.J. Hairston and
Hopewell's Alex Godette are now card carrying members of the 1,000
point club. Hairston's a soph, Godette is a senior headed to Army.
- February 24th:
eligible just in time for his team's playoff run. Stitt & Co.
knocked off West Meck and sophomore Terrence Williams in the first
Class of 2011 may be one of the best years in the last quarter century.
This group is loaded! Colleges are dive bombing the state behind the
scenes. One college coach told me this week he thinks the state's Class
of 2011 could be one of the three strongest states in the entire
country! BIG TIME! A record 33 sophomores have been invited to the
toppling the 2,000 point mark. On his way to the milestone is Panther
Creek star Earnest Ross. Brandyn Curry, a player of the year candidate
for undefeated Hopewell, recently scored his 1,000 point.
night in Charlotte, plan to be at
the Vance/Mount Tabor game with an eye on Lake Norman and Concord
Friday night should both win. In the meantime, we'll be taking in some
private school games Friday and Saturday!
- February 20th:
AAU ball, high school and
everything in between. Please realize the importance of competing hard
and play with urgency in the closing weeks. WINNING is what defines the
elite players. WINNING is what drives LeBron James. It's not the cash,
it's the rings. Go get yourself one!
made the roster. Ryan Kelly (Duke) and Mason Plumlee (Duke) are in! Big
John Wall, the nation's best point guard, sadly did not make the game
and it had nothing to do with talent. Wall was deemed a 5th year player
and ruled ineligible to participate. That's a shame since he's been
essentially a member of this class and a high-profile one at that. My
beef is simple: age-wise, John Wall is younger than Mayo and Hansbrough
-- to name two -- and they made the game. I know rules are rules, but
this is a tough pill to swallow. To his credit, John's handled it like
a pro and he's been named to the Jordan Brand Classic where he'll
reunite with Plumlee!
Conley last week. Jaron Lane,
Conley's talented senior wing, made the winning plays down the stretch
and locked it down for Conley of South Central. Asheville is getting a
tremendous player! Lane had 20 and 14 rebounds! Jaron Lane is one of
the real success stories to come out of the Carolina Challenge! JL,
Millbrook guard went up
for a shot, landed on his left wrist and broke it. Brown had surgery
the same night/morning and is for at least a month. A 2010er with Ivy
League interest, Jarrick participated in the first two Carolina
Challenge events and will be with us again in some capacity. Maybe as
an assistant coach?
- February 11th:
Boykins has come up a few
times. For starters, he's a good player and a sophomore. He's also from
Forest City, my wife's hometown!
Boykins is what the Challenge is all about. In his area, his reputation
is growing. Across our state, few know much about him. Mike Talbott, a
N.C.-based scout should get credit for being ahead of the curve!
Anyway, Boykins (East Rutherford High) will be at the Carolina
Challenge which works out well for me on multiple fronts. It's
Valentines week and I was able to tell my wife, who checks in all the
players once they arrive for camp, that her hometown would finally be
Last Friday, in Charlotte, two rivals clashed as Vance outlasted North
Meck on the Vikings home court. Current and future Challenge
participants dotted both rosters.
Vance sophomore Jacoby Davis came up big, so did his buddy Marquis
Rankin who stroked a pair of key 3s. Daryl Tranyham, as always, got
after it on defense. Unsigned senior Andre Marhold shot 18 free throws
for North Meck.
A few days later, Vance fell to Hopewell. Senior Brandyn Curry, who in
my opinion, is one of the best leaders in high school basketball, set
the tone. The state playoffs, especially on the western side, will be
BTW, Word of God is 3-0 against Flora MacDonald BUT Luke Cothron's eyes
light up when he sees the Holy Rams. Last Saturday, Cothron went for 41
and 19 rebounds!
Registrations are flowing in for the Carolina Challenge! March 9th is
- February 4th:
game you were lucky. Lucky
to get in AND fortunate to see two of the best players EVER from
Raleigh! John Wall was amazing, one of his finest performances. Kelly
didn't have it that night. Both are all-americans in my book as is
Christ's Mason Plumlee. Each of them played in two Carolina Challenges
After the game, David Glenn of the ACC Sports Journal and Doreen Kelly
of Ravenscroft addressed a group of Carolina Challenge volunteers and
sponsors! If you'd like to be a sponsor or make a donation, please
visit our Sponsors
Donors page on this site!
Registrations are coming in at a great pace. Here's a sneak preview.
Mount Zion's giant Chris Coleman (2011) is in! Ditto for Smoky Mountain
standout Jackson Simmons (2011). Dezmine Wells (2011), Word of God's
high flyer and Hopewell standout Jordan Downing (2010) are registered
along with a bevy of other talented players like Cannon's sweet
shooting Keith Bellfield (2011).
In putting together the initial invite list, I think there are a few
surprises. Heard of Tony Menton (2011)? You will. Ditto for Jacquise
Moore (2011), Terrence Williams (2011) and Keynan Pittman (2011).
BTW, congrats to Tom Tankelewicz (Charleston Southern), Josh Hicks (Old
Dominion) and Zach Faircloth (Presbyterian). None played in the
Carolina Challenge but that's my fault, not theirs.
- January 22nd:
Invitations to top
players from the around the state went out. This is a particularly
special year because for players like Reggie Bullock, C.J. Leslie, J.T.
Terrell, Jarell Eddie, Tayshawn Mabry, Anthony Thomas, Jay Canty, Tevin
Friday, Corey Raley-Ross, Jon Rice, Poobie Chapman, Jarrick Brown and a
host of others, 2009 marks their third and final season at the
If you received an invitation, please remember that the deadline for
registration is March 9! It'll come up fast so get your registration
forms in ASAP. After the 9th, we can't guarantee your spot.
In previous Challenges, we've had some serious players. This group,
however, is slated to be our deepest. With invitations on the way to
emerging standouts like Luke Cothron and Quincy Miller, we think our
third Carolina Challenge is considerably deeper than our previous two.
There's always star power here and guys like Bullock and Leslie should
be prepared to take on all comers!
One neat aspect of the Carolina Challenge for me, is finding some
hidden gems. Friends across the state help identify "under the radar
prospects." For example, James Carlton was a big name to emerge from
last year. Ditto for Jaron Lane (UNC-Asheville). This year is no
different as sleepers turn into stars right before your eyes!
By the way, graduates of the Carolina Challenge are doing well in
college. Remember Seth Curry? Well, the Liberty freshman is the
nation's leading freshman scorer!
- November 18th:
and began catching games.
Welcome back! Just a reminder: the 2009 Carolina Challenge is March 28,
2009! We’re shooting for a big time speaker who I’m sure you’ll
Right out of the box, two-time Challenge camper Earnest Ross, dropped
24 on Sanderson. Earnest inked with Auburn last week.
Props to Stan Okoye of Knightdale. He dumped 43 in his opener. The
points are great but what’s more important is his confidence is sky
high. He’s going to make someone a very good spring signee in
Jarell Eddie looked good both nights at the Cannon Classic. However, it
was N.C. newcomer Luke Cothron and Flora MacDonald who won Cannon’s
event. Cothron is a fast-riser!
Last Saturday I caught Deuce Bello a few days after he sprained his
wrist. Bello’s one of the best athletes in the country. Later that
night Wayne Country Day’s Reco McCarter had 15 & 12 in a loss to
C.J. Harris and Mike Grace of Mount Tabor.
Melvin Tabb had 31 in his second game and is becoming a priority target
for a lot of teams.
The season’s begun and we’ll be out watching for new campers each step
of the way!
Sometime To Think About? Have you done anything
lately to help someone on your team who not as talented have a better
game? What kind of teammate are you?
- April 17th, By Lindsay Priester:
The resulting sound was unbearable; volunteer workers fled the gym,
hands over ears. The firemen arrived, laughing at the situation. They
even gave little Michael a tour of the fire truck. Paige, Michael’s
mom, was horrified and apologized continuously. Dave, Michael’s father,
tried to teach his son that pulling the fire alarm was “bad.”
Meanwhile, Michael sported a fireman’s hat atop his head and enjoyed
the attention of the firemen. From that point on the tone for the
weekend was set – Dave Telep’s Carolina Challenge would definitely be a
family; they were also
evident on the basketball court. Followers of the ACC have heard of
Duke recruit Mason Plumlee, a junior from Christ School in Arden. Fewer
have heard of freshman Marshall, his younger brother. The Plumlee
family, in fact, extends further into the basketball world with older
brother Miles, who will be playing for Stanford next year. One of the
delights of the day was watching Mason and Marshall square up against
each other in one of the Carolina Challenge’s match-ups. Prior to the
game the two horsed around during warm-ups, as only brothers could do.
When the game began, it was a different story. Mason showed off the
skills that have gotten him attention from schools like Duke, while
Marshall surprised many with his explosiveness and aggressiveness in
the post. It seems Marshall has taken advantage of his family situation
and has learned a great deal from his older brothers.
gyms of Cary Academy, volunteer
Doreen Kelly was scurrying around helping wherever she could. From
selling concessions to leading a recruiting seminar for players and
their families, Doreen was willing and eager to help. Her daughter Erin
chipped in too (albeit after being bribed with M & M’s), helping in
concessions and with the cleanup process.
a fellow volunteer asked
watch much basketball at the
Carolina Challenge and Doreen was no different. Then again, none of the
other volunteers had a son participating in the Challenge. While Doreen
sold candy bars and talked about the finer points of the NCAA
Clearinghouse, Ryan Kelly was busy gaining position inside. Ryan, a
junior from Raleigh’s Ravenscroft, is receiving increased national
recruiting attention after bulking up over the last year. Mom, son, and
daughter all added to the success of the Carolina Challenge in their
packed stands as
parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins cheered on
their favorite players. Earnest Ross’ mother was just one of many vocal
and enthusiastic supporters present. She delighted in conversing with
other fans and volunteers and watching the Panther Creek junior
While the slogan “Are You Recruitable?” was the day’s official theme,
the unofficial one of family seemed to appear again and again. Telep
chose UNC-Charlotte’s senior guard Leemire Goldwire as the day’s
featured speaker. Many commented that for someone who knows numerous
famous basketball players, Goldwire seemed a strange choice.
talk to those 80 kids
that day than Leemire Goldwire.”
Charlotte’s history, is also
a dedicated husband and father. The example he sets personifies what
Telep wants these young players to emulate in their own journeys.
players and their families seemed hesitant to leave. As participants
and their loved ones lingered, new friendships were formed. It was
obvious the theme of family had resonated yet again at Dave Telep’s
Second Annual Carolina Challenge.
- April 8th, By Dave Telep
First of all, let me thank the dozens of volunteers, coaches, friends,
family and parents that helped make the 2nd Carolina Challenge a
smashing success! Without your time, counsel and commitment to
excellence we couldn’t have done it. Also, many thanks to Ben
Sherman from Scout.com.
As for the basketball itself, I’m so proud of the kids in our state for
their approach and execution that day. Plus, Leemire Goldwire really
reached a great number of participants and his message was awesome:
work hard, stay focused and be smart about your decisions.
Lakeem Jackson couldn’t have played any harder than he did. He was
relentless in his attacks at the basket. John Wall, well, when your
name is on the marquee and everyone wants a piece of you, it can be
overwhelming. Not for him though. Wall’s thunderous dunk in transition
was one of the day’s highlights.
There were so many outstanding performances, I won’t even try and
mention them all. I will say that Julius Brooks (led the event in
scoring) and freshman Marshall Plumlee learned a lot about themselves
on March 29. For both the trick will be taking the confidence they
gained and replicating the performances they turned in.
The Carolina Challenge, at its core, is designed to be a celebration of
talent from our state and a platform to deliver the message: it’s never
too early to begin getting yourself prepared to play in college.
Over the next few weeks we’ll add photos and keep blogging. Check back
for videos and photo galleries in the month of April!!
- March 24th, By Dave Telep
about to get on a plane when Greg
Echenique committed to Rutgers (big pickup for the Knights!). Anyway,
I'm heading to the McDonald's All-American game to see the best our
country has to offer.
What a week. I get back Thursday at noon and get to move from the best
in the nation to the best in North Carolina! If you can't tell, the
juices are flowing. My 2-year old son asked me "can I go to the
Carolina Challenge?" That was big time. BTW, he's coming!
Saturday's a big day for our family. My dad keeps score, the in-laws
assist with hospitality, registration and babysitting! We've got a lot
of friends and family in town and our volunteers are outstanding. In
short, everyone is excited!
I want to give a special shout out to Karen Priester. This special lady
approached me months ago and wanted to get involved. She's taken on a
prominent role in the advertising and promotion of this event. Not to
mention, she's been instrumental in getting sponsors which has helped
reduce the cost for the campers by $20 from last year! Karen, thanks a
With all 80 campers signed up and registered, the next few days are
devoted to monitoring the injury wire. We're hearing Reggie Bullock
should be OK. However, freshman sensation Bernard Sullivan is not. Per
doctors orders he's on the shelf for a few weeks but he's coming to
spend the day with his peers. Give him a lot of credit, it'll be tough
sitting there and not playing but he'll have two more cracks at the
Leemire Goldwire, one of the best shooters in the history of 49er
basketball is our speaker on Saturday. He's going to come talk to the
kids. Lee's a great story. He bypassed BCS conference schools, picked
Charlotte and had a great career. I hope the guys listen to him about
picking a school where you fit. BTW, Lee's also a father and husband.
He's a big time kid and I'm psyched he's coming to spend the day with
- March 21st, By Dave Telep
will lace them up. The Walls, Bullocks and Plumlees of the world are
household names (or at least should be).
The Carolina Challenge is about opportunity and seeing who can raise
their game and in turn their profile. Here are 5 kids to watch next
weekend and why we think they could emerge in a big way.
Jay Canty, 2010 – While the bigger names steal the
headlines, Canty has quietly gone about getting bigger and better. A
versatile wing, he’s got all the tools to be a high level player.
Brandyn Curry, 2009 – Aside from John Wall, the
junior crop of points isn’t deep in the state. Curry was the conference
POY and already has a big rep in Charlotte. Look for him to go
Jacob Lawson, 2011 – An explosive player, he’s a tad
undersized but makes up for it with his athleticism and leaping
ability. This guy is going to sneak up on people.
Ian Miller, 2010 – Again, the Queen City is all over
him and the rest of the state is slow to catch on. Could the Challenge
be his breakout event?
K.J. Sherrill, 2009 – This could be the mid-level
frontcourt player to emerge. He hails from a perennial state power
program at West Rowan and now with a chance to drop the hammer on the
kids from the bigger cities will he seize the chance?
- March 18th, By Dave Telep
game with my friend Mike
Solarte. We had a blast. East Meck deserved the title after the
murderous slate of teams it defeated along the way. Jason Grube’s team
won its last 5 games by 62 points.
Challenge alums Reggie Bullock and Bo Ingram led Kinston to the 3-A
title. Ingram excelled throughout the playoff run. Bullock turned an
ankle in the finals so we hope he’s healed up for the Carolina
Big man Reggie Johnson broke the state record for rebounds in a title
game with 23. His Winston-Salem Prep team won the 1-A title in a
blowout. Alum Marcus Wright was terrific as well.
Now, it’s time to get ready for the Carolina Challenge. We’ll release
the teams before the event but for now, we’ll name drop and let the
names of the 80 campers out of the bag!
Carolina Challenge Blog
March 7th, By Dave Telep
alum) and Dee Bost
(2007 state champion, Concord H.S). The two friends combined to lead
Hargrave Military Academy to the prep school national championship.
Bost, the MVP of last year's state football and basketball
championships, earned the honor at the prep tournament. Pitts, who is
headed to Marshall, continues a long run of successes. The Thundering
head may have a future all-league floor general on its hands. The two
best 2008 point guards at last year's Challenge own rings. In addition
to Pitts, lead man Andre Cornelius captained Victory Christian to the
2-A private schools state title last month. A few seasons from now when
Pitts and Cornelius take their teams to the NCAA Tournament the hope is
more kids in the state realize there's good ball played beyond the
confines of the ACC!
Carolina Challenge Blog
March 5th, By Dave Telep
of North Carolina test
each other head-to-head, the most rewarding facet of the Carolina
Challenge is knowing the kid’s individual stories.
Take Jaron Lane for instance. The 6-foot-4 D.H. Conley small forward is
a junior and a good player. His squad got bounced after giving Dudley
all it could handle in the 3-A eastern semifinals.
Conley, which is 10 minutes from East Carolina’s campus, doesn’t get a
lot of attention and Lane is deserving of Division I looks. A good
student, he hung 26 on Dudley and I’d be shocked if he’s ever gotten a
recruiting letter. Kids like Lane will always be what the Carolina
Challenge is about.
He’s coming on March 29th. Of the 80 kids there, he may be the least
recognizable but likely the one young man with the most to gain. You
can bet he’ll empty his tank that day, force everyone else to play hard
and when it’s all over, maybe a few more folks might become familiar
with his story.
On Tuesday night I sat next to scout Mike Talbot and Carolina Crusaders
coach Needham Cheely. When it comes to the eastern part of the state
and identifying under the radar players, Cheely’s pretty darn solid.
His AAU team won’t have the high profile, national level kids but he’ll
always have guys who can play.
Kinston and Dudley are going to play for the right to do battle against
the best from the west in the state finals. This one is a total pick-em
game. Kinston sophomore Reggie Bullock and senior wing Bo Ingram
combined for 42 points and 18 rebounds against Northern Vance. Props to
Northern Vance who finished the season 24-2. Carolina Challenge alum
Nick Jefferson fouled out in the final high school game of his career.
Dudley got all it could handle from Lane and Conley. Carolina Challenge
campers Brennan Wyatt and P.J. Hairston are big factors for Dudley.
Hairston banged knees in the second half and was limited. Wyatt,
another name to watch for on March 29, handed out 7 assists. By the
way, can someone give rapidly improving senior sharpshooter Marcus
Heath a scholarship?
- February 24th, By Dave Telep
The private school state championships are over. Congrats to Word of
God, Victory Christian and Christ School. Each was paced by Carolina
Challenge alum. John Wall led the Rams to 30 wins. Teammate C.J.
Leslie was an all-stater and freshman workhorse Dezmine Wells debuts at
his first Challenge. 2-A went the way of Victory Christian. At
last year’s Carolina Challenge point guard Andre Cornelius had the best
day of any senior-to-be guard. He’ll be a dynamo at George Mason next
Greensboro Day made a game of it but Christ School was the best 3-A
team all season long and despite surgery on his finger, Miles Plumlee
ended his high school career with a state title. Challenge campers
Mason Plumlee and Lakeem Jackson also earned all-state honors. Freshman
Marshall Plumlee (yes, he’s the last Plumlee in the pipeline!) will be
one of 5 Christ School invitees to the Challenge.
Almost forgot about last week’s trip to the ME-CA7 Conference tourney
in Charlotte. Man, that league is laced with good underclassmen. Vance
won the league title over Hopewell. D.C. import Daryl Traynham was the
unofficial MVP for Vance. Junior Brandyn Curry was the driving force
for Hopewell as he saved them from a semifinal upset. Loads of
prospects from the conference will be at the Challenge. I have the
honor of broadcasting the state title game and there’s a good chance
I’ll get to see a team from that league again.
Public schools state playoffs tip this week. Can New Hanover retain its
title? Can a freshman lead Dudley back to prominence? Who is this
year’s Petey Hausley? <p>
If you’re like me, settling on which game to see in the first round is
hard. I know my week will end in New Orleans for the Hornets-Jazz game.
Chris Paul and Deron Williams starts my March!
Final Thought: I’ve been thinking about some potential Carolina
Challenge matchups. Here’s a few to ponder: Mason Plumlee against Ryan
Kelly? How about P.J. Hairston versus Bernard Sullivan in 2011? I know
I’d like to see Reggie Bullock and J.T. Terrell check each other! Who
will step up to John Wall’s challenge? Brandyn Curry? Stay tuned!
Carolina Challenge Blog
- February 19th, By Dave Telep
has been going
exceptionally well. The neat thing about the process is that some guys
have played their way into invitations. For instance, South Meck’s Ian
Miller, a sophomore, turned in the kind of year worthy of an invite
(and he got one!).
tournament involving North Meck, Vance and Hopewell. Last year Vance
was a state playoff team and sent Anthony McClenny to the Carolina
Challenge. This time around freshmen Marquise Rankin and Jacoby Davis
are coming. Plus, Vance has a newcomer in Daryl Traynham out of D.C.! North Meck has multiple invitees, as does
Hopewell led by outstanding guard Brandyn Curry.
been invited how important
it is to get your registration and waiver in. We invited 87 kids for 80
spots and so far have received great feedback!
Charlotte 49ers senior guard
Leemire Goldwire, one of the top scorers in the history of their
program. Goldwire has a cool story to tell. He was that recruit that
could have signed with one of the 4 big conferences but wanted more
immediate playing time and the result was a storied career in the A-10!
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