"You know who the happiest college basketball players are? The ones who actually PLAY. Pick a school for opportunity, not the name on jersey." - Dave Telep
Dave Telep was the #HoopState basketball Jesus to me. He ran the state when it came to basketball. When he stamped a kid, more often than not - he was legit. It was the fall of 2013 and word got out that Telep was pulling up to Greenfield School in Wilson, NC for an open gym. I vividly remember calling out of work to make sure I was there (lol). I got to meet him that night thanks to a certain family member of mine that was a freshman at the time who Telep really took a liking too. I never thanked little bro for that so, J5 if you’re reading this, appreciate you dog 😂💪🏾.
Long story short, he invited little bro to his signature event, The Carolina Challenge. Those who’ve been around hoops for a while know the Carolina Challenge was the event of the year! ALL the top guys in the state participated. John Wall, Quincy Miller, Rodney Purvis, Tyler Lewis, Theo Pinson etc all pulled up and competed like they had zero stars next to their name. Jalen being invited to that event as a freshman was a huge deal to us and we were extremely excited about it. Little did we know it would be the last Carolina Challenge ever...
When Telep left to become a scout for the San Antonio Spurs it most definitely sent shockwaves through the #HoopState. One of the biggest questions was: Who’s going to have the next “Carolina Challenge"? That’s when the Top 80 was born.
Rick Lewis and his Phenom Hoop staff had huge shoes to fill trying to have the premier showcase event in the state. The first year was super exciting ! A who’s who in the state all attended the event and the Afro mentioned family member of mine might’ve had the highlight of the event. Webb drop that footage below 😎. (note from Webb: "DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO RODNEY!")
Fast forward to 2020 and Rick and his crew will be having their 6th Top 80 this weekend but with a twist. They’re combining the Top 80 from both NC & SC and putting them in a 16 team tournament! That’s about to be soooo lit 🔥 Also don’t be surprised if you see one of your favorite #HoopState blog writers on the sideline coaching. I’m telling y’all now we’re going to be pressing more than a 9 & under AAU team from New York 😂!
See y’all Saturday !!!
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