WILMINGTON, N.C. (WWAY) – Nathan Faulk started Flight 22 20 years ago. In it’s existence, it’s produced plenty of collegiate talent, and even some professional. But, with 2020 offering different challenges that he, nor any coach, has ever faced, his focus shifted, and an idea was born.
He has created a prep program for class of 2020 seniors who did not get the exposure they otherwise would have since recruiting coaches could not attend games, college seniors were granted another year of eligibility, and that left many of his players, who he felt were deserving of a shot at college ball, left empty handed. The goal is to essentially recreate that senior year.
“When COVID happened last fall, I decided let’s make this reality. It’s a little different, it’s not usual the way the set up is – a non-traditional way. Nothing is traditional nowadays,” says Faulk.
The main difference that Flight 22 Prep offers that many prep schools can’t – familiarity. Many of the players on this squad have been with Faulk for years. The players all live within a couple of hours from Wilmington.
“The brand itself and them knowing me… it was natural for them to come and feel and home and know it was going to be good quality when they got here,” says Faulk.
The players will have 7 open gym training sessions every Saturday before the season tips off, with Flight 22 having two teams that will play a division 2 schedule. Over a dozen college coaches attended the first workout session this past Saturday.
Players are enrolled in community college classes, but are part-time students. That means this year will not take away from potential collegiate eligibility, and will still leave players with four years of service to offer universities.
Players recognize this second chance is rare – and they want to take advantage.
“Coach Faulk had this plan. It was just an idea then. Prep school… and then to really see it come to fruition is crazy, said point guard E.J. MacArthur. “The pandemic messed up everything with them allowing players to come back for an extra year – a lot of roster spots were gone quick. It just created a log jam for recruiting.”
“So that affected a lot of scholarships and the players needed another place to go to get that second look,” said forward Nygie Stroman. “It’s still on us to perform, but just for me to have this second look, it’s kind of like a last chance, and I got to go hard to get it.”