Greensboro Day School Basketball 17-18 Season Review:Greensboro Day School Bengal Basketball – A Rich Tradition

Greensboro Day School Bengal Basketball – A Rich Tradition
Courtesy of Michael Sumner

10 NCISAA 3A State Championships
18 State Championship Game Appearances (including the 6 of the last 7)
25 PACIS Conference Championships
16 HAECO Invitational Championships (7 consecutive from ’11-’17)
20 HAECO Invitational Championship Game Appearances
2 Dick’s National Tournament Invitations (’15, ’17)
More Than 50 NCAA Basketball Players
Average of 24 wins a year over last 41 years
Winningest High School Coach in North Carolina History (1019 wins and counting)
20th HS Boys Basketball Coach to reach 1,000 wins
1977-78: First Team coached by Freddy Johnson
1971-72: First Varsity Team at Greensboro Day School
NBA Draft Pick: Wayne Robinson (1980 draft)
NBA D-League: 2016 #2 Pick: Jaleel Roberts
Former Harlem Globetrotter: Johnny ‘Hawk’ Thomas
14 alumni on college or pro rosters (for the 17-18 season)

Greensboro Day School Basketball: 2017-18 Wrap-Up
Greensboro Day School’s 2017-18 basketball season has concluded. They finished the season with a 27-7
record that propelled the team to its record extending tenth NCISAA State Championship. While the
Bengals lost both games in the regular season series with arch-rival and nationally ranked, Wesleyan
Christian Academy, they rebounded to defeat Wesleyan Christian in the State Championship game for back-to-back
NCISAA 3A state championships.

This season had many ups and downs for the Bengals. The Bengals started the season with 12 straight wins
helping Coach Freddy Johnson reach his 1,000th career win on November 25, 2017 vs. Vance High School.
The team then traveled to Hawaii to participate in the ‘Iolani Classic. After a tough loss in the second round,
the Bengals responded to finish in 5th place, leaving the tournament 3-1. Will Dillard and John Newman
were named to the All-Tournament Team. 6 days after returning to NC, they won the prestigious HAECO
Invitational (Little 4) taking the title for the seventh consecutive year and the Bengals’ eleventh
championship in the last thirteen years. GDS is the only private school that participates in this annual
holiday high school tournament featuring men’s and women’s teams from eight schools located in Guilford
County, and the Bengals lead the HAECO Invitational history with 16 men’s championships. John Newman
was named MVP of the tournament. Will Dillard and Tripp Greene made the All-Tournament Team.

The Bengals had an unprecedented 5 games cancelled due to inclement weather. They were able to make up
only one of those games. The team had planned to travel to Nashville to participate in the Music City
Classic, but the trip was cancelled due to snow in Tennessee.

Injuries and illness troubled the Bengals all year. Coach Johnson stated that he only had his entire team
healthy for 10 practices all season. The Bengals continued to respond and win games. In mid-January,
senior guard, Will Dillard, collapsed at practice. It was found that he had a blood-clot that had started in his
leg and moved to his lung due to the lengthy travel to Hawaii for the ‘Iolani Classic. Unfortunately, this cut
the senior’s season short as he would not play another game. He was the defensive leader. It took the team
many games to learn how to play without him. During that stretch, they lost 4 games in a row including two
games to Wesleyan Christian by an average of 15 points and an ESPN2 nationally televised game vs.
Spartanburg Day School featuring ESPN #2, Zion Williamson.

The Bengals ended the season with a phenomenal performance in the NCISAA State Tournament
contested this year at Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville, NC. The Bengals had a first round bye and
then opened their play with a 65-45 win over Cannon School who featured Jairus Hamilton (Boston College
commit and nationally ranked by ESPN #56 in the class of 2018), and advanced to the semi-finals where
they defeated Christ School (featuring Jalen Lecque – ranked #10 by ESPN in the class of 2019) by a score
of 75-60. That win set up a championship-game rematch with arch-rival, Wesleyan Christian Academy (who
featured ESPN #20, Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest Commit), and ESPN #38, Aaron Wiggins (Maryland
commit)). This game was the 5th time in 6 years that Greensboro Day and Wesleyan Christian met in the
NCISAA 3A title game, with both schools having won 2 games. No media outlet nor fans outside of GDS
gave the Bengals a chance, but the Bengals jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. They held
Jaylen Hoard scoreless in the game. Senior, John Newman, scored 24 points and freshman sensation,
Carson McCorkle, added 15 to propel the Bengals to back to back NCISAA State Championships and their
3rd in 4 years. Seniors: Adam Calhoun, Alex Michael, Will Dillard, and John Newman became the first 4
players at GDS to win 3 state titles as players. John Newman was named MVP of the title game.

6 seniors from this year’s championship team will graduate from GDS in June, and five of them plan to play
basketball in college. Two starters have signed to play in college: John Newman (Clemson University), Will
Dillard (Georgia Southern). Adam Calhoun has signed to play basketball at Division-III, Wittenberg
University (OH). Alex Michael and Tripp Greene have yet to make their college decisions. Since 2011, 40
seniors have played on the Greensboro Day School basketball team, and 27 of them have gone on to play
college basketball at some level. When a powerhouse program loses multiple players to graduation, it
doesn’t rebuild, it reloads. Losing multiple starters to graduation following another highly-successful season
is common at GDS, yet the team recorded three state titles and three state runners-up in the last 7 years.
In dissecting the schedule, 19 of the 34 games were against NCISAA 3A teams. Of the remaining 15 games,
3 went on to win their association’s state championship: Trinity Christian won the NCISAA 1A, Carmel
Christian won the NCISAA 2A Champion and Spartanburg Day won the SCISA 2A State Championship.
Greensboro Day School played in 10 games featuring 8 individual players who are ranked nationally in their
class by ESPN. The Bengals’ record in those games was 7-3.

Greensboro Day School has many prized players. The nucleus includes the following:
John Newman ’18 (Committed to Clemson University) All-Conference, All State
Will Dillard ’18 (Committed to Georgia Southern), Unable to participate in conference play and state
tournament due to blood clot.
Alex Michael ’18 – 6’5
Tripp Greene ’18 – 6’2 – All Conference
Mike Fowler ’19 – 6’8, offers from East Carolina University and Hampton
Nick Evtimov ’19 – 6’7
Noah Dunn ’19 – 6’5
Austin Inge ’19 – 6’1
Carson McCorkle ’21 – 6’3, offers from South Carolina, Wichita State, Georgia Tech, and Iowa.

Freddy Johnson, the winningest high school coach in North Carolina, has led the Bengal program since the
1977-78 season. His 1019 career wins are more than any other coach in North Carolina high school
basketball history. (From our research) He is the 20th high school boys’ basketball coach to reach the 1,000
win mark, doing so on November 25, 2017 with a win over Vance High School. He has a record 10 State
Championships in North Carolina. This is the third time in history that the Greensboro Day basketball
program has won back-to-back state championships (’89 and ’90; ’95 and ’96; ’17 and ’18). In a recent email,
a former player said, “The impact that you (Freddy Johnson) have had on my life and many other young
men looms large. I wanted to let you know that your influence affected the direction of my life — in a very
positive fashion. I think what I value most about our time together was that I was able to apply the
principles that I learned from you in life itself, outside of athletics. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the hard work and teamwork you instilled in me would be something I would be able to use later in many life

Coach Johnson transcends basketball; he teaches not only the game but also life skills. His success in
building young men’s lives for some four decades is a major building block in the Greensboro Day School
basketball foundation.