Basketball

Here’s how a star NC high school basketball player plans to honor his late cousin

Here’s how a star NC high school basketball player plans to honor his late cousin

Earlier this month, NCAA Division I college basketball coaches were allowed to call potential high school recruits in the class of 2023 for the first time.

One of the first to talk with Northside Christian’s Wesley Tubbs was Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua.

Tubbs, who took an unofficial visit to Louisville a week before that call, is fast becoming a national recruit, largely based off his performances this spring on Team United, a Charlotte-based travel team that plays on Nike-sponored EYBL, the nation’s top youth basketball shoe circuit.

“If you look back to last year,” said Rick Lewis, an N.C.-based recruiting analyst for the Phenom Hoop Report, “he was 6-6 and long but the thing was he really didn’t have a consistent jumper. Now, he can really score. He hits the mid-range (shot) and he can hit the 3-(pointer). But defensively, he’s as good as they come. He takes pride in his defense, and there are not many young players that take as much pride in their defense as their offense.”

At 6-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Tubbs, 16, has the long, athletic body that coaches covet. He can guard every position in high school, even centers, and he can play multiple positions on offense, even point guard.

Tubbs, and his versatility, drew a large collection of Division I coaches, including N.C. State’s Kevin Keatts, to watch him during Friday’s N.C. Independent Schools Team Camp Showcase at Forsyth Country Day. The showcase allows private school players to play a series of games in front of mostly Division I and Division II college coaches.

Northside fell behind Charlotte Latin on Friday but eventually won 60-46. Tubbs didn’t shoot the ball well, making 4-of-13 shots, but finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. He ignited his team’s comeback by simply making plays all over the court: a deflection here, a dunk there, an assist. And more than that, Tubbs’ hand-clapping, smiling enthusiasm seemed infectious among his teammates.

“Basically,” Tubbs said, “I’m a Swiss Army knife. I can really do everything: rebound, play defense, hit shots, finish around the basket and also be a playmaker. I can do that, too.

“Oh, and I have a lot of energy.”

Tubbs said he has scholarship offers from Cincinnati, East Carolina, Old Dominion, Providence, South Carolina, South Florida, Texas A&M and Wake Forest.

He is getting serious interest from schools like Kentucky and Louisville along with with Florida State, Memphis, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, among others.

Those schools will get more looks at Tubbs during several EYBL national events in July, and during his junior season at Northside, which begins in November.

And Tubbs already knows when he plans to commit: Dec. 18, 2022, the middle of his senior year. That’s the birthday of his cousin, Maxwell Pearson, whom Tubbs said died in his sleep last year at the age of 20.

“That’s a special day for me,” Tubbs said, “and I think that’s going to be the day.”

It’s also a day when one of North Carolina’s best high school basketball players makes some big-time college program and its coaches happy.

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