By J.T. Powell
Ballers representing four states converged at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center for the first inaugural Appalachia Prep Combine Top 20 Showcase this past Saturday. The event was a huge success. The morning session featured the combine. During the combine portion coaches measured the participants height and weight, put them through a series of drills, measured broad jump, three-quarter sprint, and three-point shooting. After the combine the athletes’ competed in preliminary basketball games to earn the honor of playing in the Top 20 Showcase live-streamed by David and Darryl Sports.
There was a host of talent in Charleston and picking award winners wasn’t so easy. Below are a handful of players who separated themselves from the group of nearly 70 players:
Jeremiah Gulley Class of 2022 PG of Pulaski High School in Virginia finished the day as the MVP. Gulley began making waves during the combine by posting a blazing fast three-quarter sprint (3.2) which was a tie for second place. Gulley quickly stood out as one of the superior athletes and went on to dominate during the preliminary game scoring 21 points to go along with several nice dishes. In the showcase game, Gulley locked in the MVP with a Team City high 19 points, several tip layups, and a crowd awing euro step windmill style layup to open the second half.
Porter Ridge High School Class of 2022 standout, Isaiah Williams was in the discussion for MVP and was the front runner heading into the second half of the showcase. Williams tested and measured well at the combine at 6’4, 183. During both the preliminary and showcase games Williams had several shots he pinned on the backboard. He displayed superior ball handling skills and the ability to knock down deep and mid-range jump shots. Williams finished the showcase with 14 points.
Another player in the discussion for MVP was Morgantown’s Class of 2021 PF - Carson Poffenberger. Poffenberger wowed coaches all day with his size and athleticism. The Mohican standout measured in at 6’8 and shot nearly 60 percent during the shooting competition from three. No one could quite match his size and athleticism allowing him to do virtually anything he wanted. Poffenberger dropped a smooth 23 points in the prelim game and 15 in the showcase game.
Other notable players were Jack Bifano 21’ of Bridgeport High School who won the shooting competition shooting 63.33% behind the arch and had a dominate first half performance in the showcase. Drew Reed of St. Albans High School had an impressive game during the prelim scoring a game high of 24 points and dropped 12 in the showcase. Woodrow Wilson’s Dwayne Richardson 22’ put on a show during the showcase making some clutch steals and some big time drives to the basket. Richardson finished the showcase with 15 points. Another player who was in the discussion for MVP was Robert C. Byrd’s Gavin Kennedy 21’ who was the floor general for Team City. Kennedy was the runner-up in the shooting challenge knocking down 60% from three. Kennedy finished the showcase with 13 points.
Most impressive in the Class of 2023 was University’s Garrison Kisner who dominated in his age group and gave Team Country a huge lift during the showcase. At 6’6 Kisner threw down the first dunk in the history of the Appalachia Prep Combine Showcase. Kisner has to be one of the top players in his class across the country. He finished with 12 in the showcase. Another big man who stood out was Blake Barkley 22' PF of University High School who impressed coaches all day with his 6'6 frame and versatility. Barkley finished the showcase with 9 points and several assist.
Carlton Anthony 22’ SG from Porter Ridge High School (NC) also stood out amongst the elite guards in attendance. Anthony displayed a high basketball IQ and locked down opponents. Some other players who had noteworthy performances were Carter Anderson 21’ of Trinity Christian (WV), Noah Foulks 22’ PF of Washington High (WV), Kolton Painter 22’ of Nitro High School, Preston Williams 23’ SG of North Marion High (WV), and Max Washington 21’ PF of Linsly HS (WV).
MVP – Jeremiah Gulley (Pulaski HS, VA)
Best in Class of 2021 – Carson Poffenbeger (Morgantown HS, WV)
Best in Class of 2022 – Jeremiah Gulley (Pulaski HS, VA)
Best in Class of 2023 – Garrison Kisner (University HS, WV)
Best in Class of 2024 – Eddie Washington (Graham HS, VA)
Best in Class of 2025 – Britt Beasley (Princeton Middle, WV)
Team City Roster
#11 - Jack Bifano SF (Bridgeport HS, WV)
#3 - Isaiah Williams SG (Porter Ridge HS, NC)
#35 - Carlton Anthony SG (Porter Ridge HS, NC)
#92 - Noah Foulks 22' PF (Washington HS, WV)
#50 - AJ Williams 22' SG (Liberty HS, WV)
#45 - K'Marion Dowe 22' PG (Martinsburg HS, WV)
#47 - Gavin Kennedy 21' PG (Robert C. Byrd HS, WV)
# 1 - Jeremiah Gulley 22' PG (Pulaski HS, VA)
# 9 - Corey Boulden 23' SG (South Harrison HS, WV)
# 6 - Connor Sandreth 23' SG (Notre Dame HS, WV)
#33 - Nathaniel Washington 22' SG (Mountain Ridge HS, MD)
Team Country Roster
#84 - Carson Poffenberger 21' PF (Morgantown HS, WV)
#111 - Khamrin Hurte 22' SG (Princeton, WV)
#59 - Drew Reed 22' SF (St. Albans HS, WV)
#56 - Garrison Kisner 23' SF (University HS, WV)
# 8 - Kolton Painter 22' PG (Nitro HS, WV)
#57 - Preston Williams 23' PG (North Marion HS, WV)
# 81 - Max Washington 21' PF (Linsly HS, WV)
# 86 - Carter Anderson 21' SG (Trinity Christian, WV)
# 5 - Dwayne Richardson 22' PG (Woodrow Wilson HS, WV)
# 25 - Blake Barkley 22' PF (University HS, WV)
*Note: We were able to confirm that Max Washington attends Linsly HS (WV).
For more information about his article contact J.T. Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org