Combine Academy, a prep school in Lincolnton, North Carolina, has been one of the nation’s top basketball programs since their existence when they opened back in 2013. Over the last few years, Combine Academy has hosted a plethora of next level athletes and have multiple basketball teams such as high school, post-grad, and regional teams. Jeff Mcinnis, a North Carolina Tar Heel alum and former NBA player, has parted ways with the program after three seasons.
Mcinnis put Combine Academy on the map during his tenure and finished 79-15 in his three seasons with the Goats. Combine Academy announced a couple months ago their new head coach and a new era is set to begin starting in the 2022-2023 high school. Mike Wright received the job and will now take over as the head coach.
Michael Wright, who spent six seasons at Liberty Heights in North Carolina, finished with a 136-46 overall record as the head coach for the Cardinals. Wright opened the Liberty Heights program back in 2016 and built it from the ground up. “I’m very excited. Just to be around ownership like Jonah Baize and Trevor Booker People that want to win, people that want to help kids, and people that want to have a big time program.” Mike said when asked how excited he is to begin his new journey at Combine Academy.
“We want to be able to go to GEICO in the future.” Mike says. Combine Academy definitely has the criteria, talent, and schedule to be considered for the elite GEICO Nationals, an annual high school prep basketball tournament featuring some of the best teams in the country.
I asked Coach Wright how will he look to continue the success at Combine Academy? “I want to continue to win and build a successful program. We are building a very talented National Team roster that consists of both kids from the Hoop State and outside of the state” He told me. He basically wants the roster to have more of a national feel with some kids being from outside of the area. He already has secured two in-state transfers to fill spots for that 2022-2023 high school season roster. 2024 forward Rakease Passmore and 2023 PG Silas Demary Jr. have announced they will join the Goats beginning next season.
Combine Academy will have to add more to their 2022-2023 high school national team roster over the next few months as they do expect to continue to play a national schedule. I asked new head coach Mike Wright how does it feel to fill in the shoes of a North Carolina legend like Jeff Mcinnis. “I don’t feel like those shoes can be filled. His NBA career speaks for itself and his coaching and track record. I want to create my own path here. I want to take Combine to even higher levels.” He tells me.
Mcinnis and Wright have had multiple battles against each other in the state of North Carolina over the years which included their two battles this past season. Liberty Heights defeated Combine in the Big Shots Nationals while Combine returned the favor in The Hoop State Championships. “I have a lot of respect for Jeff.” Mike Wright tells me.