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Nick Stevens

Nick Stevens

Nick Stevens, a Raleigh native, is the senior editor of HighSchoolOT.com. Nick has covered high school sports for WRAL since 2006, and helped create what is now HighSchoolOT.com. In his blog, Nick provides insight and analysis on area high school sports teams, players and topics. He also provides his opinion on numerous issues surrounding high school sports. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT. You can contact Nick by clicking here or by sending an e-mail to nstevens@wral.com.

High school coaches should play a bigger role


Jul 27, 2014

Basketball - Generic Graphic

Basketball - Generic Graphic

On Saturday I published a column about the dire state of basketball today. There are many contributing factors, from club basketball, to self-proclaimed scouts, to trainers.

All of these characters have too much influence on basketball. But there's another factor that impacts the sport – a lack of influence from the high school coach.

We hold high school coaches accountable. You may not agree with their coaching strategies all the time, but they have an athletic director and principal to report to, they have a school district to report to, they have a state association to report to, and they have a national body to report to.

If a high school coach does something unethical or illegal, they're going to face repercussions. At the club level, not so much. There's little organization at the club level. There are multiple leagues for club teams to play in. And if a coach does happen to be disciplined,

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Consider the source: Ask questions, be skeptical


Jul 27, 2014

Basketball, Generic

Basketball, Generic

For those who don't know me, basketball is far and away my favorite sport.

To me, there is nothing more exciting than watching two good teams going back and forth, two good coaches making adjustments and the fans so close to the floor that you can hardly hear yourself think.

These days, there is noise coming from other places, though: noise you can't ignore, even though we would all be wise to do so.

For many years, there has been a dark side to basketball. Many people point to AAU as the source. I won't even say AAU because AAU is just one organization in what has become a sea of club basketball leagues.

Heck, there are many tournaments that are held that aren't sanctioned by any league.

Does club basketball hold responsibility for the problems our sport has today? Without a doubt.

Club basketball has become so much about one thing for many kids and parents – the scholarship. And for some coaches and directors, they seek power, influence, and –

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Three Holiday Invitational alums taken in NBA Draft


Jun 27, 2014

Noah Vonleh (5) moves toward the basket. WRAL HighSchoolOT.Com Invitational Basketball Tournament, 12.29.12. Word of God Champions over New Hampton 58 to 53. Photo by CHRIS BAIRD

Noah Vonleh (5) moves toward the basket. WRAL HighSchoolOT.Com Invitational Basketball Tournament, 12.29.12. Word of God Champions over New Hampton 58 to 53. Photo by CHRIS BAIRD

The HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational brings in top high school basketball talent every year, and on Thursday night a few past players advanced their careers to the NBA.

Three Holiday Invitational alumni were selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday, and all three went in the first 14 picks. The three selected players were Nik Stauskas, Noah Vonleh and T.J. Warren.

Stauskas (Michigan) was selected eighth overall by the Sacramento Kings. He came to the Holiday Invitational in 2011 with Southborough (Mass.) St. Mark's. Stauskas earned all-tournament honors as he helped his team to a fifth place finish in the tournament.

Standing at 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds, Stauskas, a guard, averaged 17.5 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game for Michigan. For his college career, Stauskas shot 44 percent from 3-point range.

The very next pick in the NBA Draft was also a Holiday Invitational alum. Vonleh (Indiana) was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the ninth overall

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Wake County continues stranglehold on 4-A golf


May 14, 2014

Golfer Shadow, Generic

Golfer Shadow, Generic

Wake County has dominated 4-A golf for years. It's a fact that many observers of high school golf already know.

That stranglehold continued this year, as Broughton won its eighth team championship since 1998. Those Broughton championships include a string of five consecutive titles from 1998-2002.

Green Hope ended Broughton's run in 2003, but Broughton won the title again in 2004.

In all, since 1990, Wake County schools have won 18 of the 25 4-A golf team state championships.

Wake County schools have not loosened their grip on golf in recent years either. In fact, it may have only strengthened. Behind two championships from Broughton (2012, 2014) and Green Hope (2009, 2010), and a title from Leesville Road (2011), Wake County has won five of the last six team titles. 

The only misstep for Wake County schools in the last six years happened last year when Pinecrest won the team title in 2013.

Broughton's dominance in golf continued this year behind

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Mercy rule doesn't accomplish goals, teaches wrong lessons


Apr 30, 2014

Millbrook QB (14) Reid Herring hands the ball off. Millbrook defeats East Wake 20 to 14 Friday night September 6, 2013. (Photo by Jack Tarr)

Millbrook QB (14) Reid Herring hands the ball off. Millbrook defeats East Wake 20 to 14 Friday night September 6, 2013. (Photo by Jack Tarr)

High school sports are about teaching life lessons. They're about instilling qualities that people need to be successful for the rest of their lives.

That's what makes high school sports so important and so valuable.

But the lessons taught through a mercy rule aren't the lessons we should be teaching.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association passed a measure that introduces mercy rules to high school football and basketball in North Carolina effective next school year. In football, the magic number is 42. For basketball the threshold is 40. At that point (as long as it is after halftime), the game can either be ended by mutual agreement or a running clock will be used.

Mercy rules are for young kids who are just learning about competition, sports, and life. High school kids aren't part of that population. They're no more than four years away from entering the "real world," whether

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