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Combine Academy (29‑3)

Lincolnton, North Carolina

PHENOM HOOPS STATE CHAMPION

Top Players

  • 6-2 SR Jayden Epps (ILLINOIS) … #70 (PrepHoops) … #77 (247 Sports) … #94 (ESPN)
  • 7-1 SR Patrick Wessler (VIRGINIA TECH)
  • 6-8 JR Mekhi Grant
  • 6-1 SR Preston Murphy, Jr. ... #212 (247 Sports)
  • 6-11 SOPH Maya Bote
  • 6-7 JR Matai Baptiste (USC-UPSTATE)

Goats At A Glance

BALLISLIFE PRESEASON NATIONAL RANKING: No. 17
MAXPREPS RANKING (independents): No. 10

Less than two years ago, Combine “arrived” with a 76-74 upset of Oak Hill Academy in the 2019-20 opener. A year later, the Goats followed that up with a No. 15 national finish (MaxPreps) and should be formidable again, despite the sudden transfer losses of 6-1 JR Robert Dillingham and 6-4 SR Bryce Alfino in late September. A big reason is the newest high-level arrival, Illinois commit 6-2 SR Jayden Epps (26 ppg, 6 rpg, 6 apg, 4 spg as a sophomore at King’s Fork VA), who is eager to prove himself nationally after losing his entire junior season to Virginia’s Covid shutdown. There’s plenty of depth, too, with 6-8 JR Mekhi Grant, Virginia Tech-bound and rim-protector/rebounder 7-1 SR Patrick Wessler, 6-3 SR A.J. Smith, 6-2 SR Antonio Hamlin and last-minute transfer 6-1 SR Preston Murphy, Jr. (Barrington St. Andrew’s RI) joining forces with 6-11 SOPH Maya Bote and USC-Upstate pledge 6-7 JR Matai Baptiste. … Epps, who dropped 39 points (31 in the second half) on an Overtime Elite team on Nov. 1, powered King’s Fork to a share of Virginia’s Class 4 state title as a sophomore. … Coach Jeff McInnis (55-10 in two seasons at Combine) played for Oak Hill Academy in the 1991 City of Palms Classic, then went on to a 10-season NBA career for seven different teams, logging 576 games (334 starts) and averaging 9.4 points and 4.4 assists.