Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
After a big FSCJ win last Saturday I flew up to Memphis to see as much basketball as I could in 3 days. I definitely feel like Tim Lownsdale and I did just that. It was a whirlwind running around west Tennessee and we made stops at 11 schools and saw 19 different schools either play or practice.
Let’s take a look at the trip in chronological order.
Monday Nov 24
7am – Dyersburg HS – Stopped into practice which was a unique experience…kids were coming into school for the day and they are allowed to sit in the stands as Dyersburg practices. My guess is there were close to 500 kids in the stands talking and getting ready for school as the Trojans went about their business. This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this but I think it’s a real advantage because they have to learn to play and pay attention with a ton of distractions. Head Coach Randy Coffman does a great job directing his kids and getting them to work hard and he’s one of many great coaches out in western Tennessee. UT-Martin commit Myah Taylor looked great, leading the way in most drills. A kid who could possibly be a steal for an NAIA or juco is Kim Tate. The 2015 is a small guard, maybe 5’3 who has some speed and definitely has good handles. She’s got a floater and her mid range game is coming along. The kid who I was really impressed with tho, was Samariah Thompson aka Ladybug. When we first met bug 6 months ago, she was strong kid for a 2018, who handled ok and had no jumper. She’s really starting to take off. She was first in any of the running the team did, displayed a much improved ability to hit some perimeter shots and finishes consisently with some contact. I would monitor Bug on the mid-major level for sure.
8am – Dyer Co HS – Talk about a place that does HS basketball right, from the locker room, to the gym, to selling season tickets, to using krossover, the list goes on and on. Derek McCord who admittedly gets a lot of love from us showed why that’s well deserved. He’s built a program that should be solid for years to come. They have a stable of players headlined by 2016’s Amber Thompson and Olivia Crane. Crane is a kid playing the 5 for Dyer Co since they lack a true center. McCord is smart tho and he’s playing a lot of 5 out and running some DDM. Crane can shoot the 3 ball probably as good as anyone in Tennessee and has a nice 5’11 frame. She could use to add a little strength and get a little tougher but she’s very fundamentally sound. Her athleticism won’t wow you either, but she is very good at what she is….a shooter, I would monitor her at the mid-major level. Amber Thompson is a kid we have talked a lot about here. She’s the rare stud athlete at a rural place like Dyer Co, which in the long run is going to benefit her tremendously because she’s receiving the coaching to be a legit fundamentally sound player. She’s probably going to play mid-major basketball, but the reality is, if it truly ever clicks with her, she has a chance to be a low BCS caliber kid solely due to the coaching she gets on a daily basis. There isn’t much in the 2017 class at Dyer Co. but 2 2018’s are definitely worth monitoring at the D-1 level and that’s 5’8 PG Amaria Pugh and 5’7 G/W Torri Daniels. Pugh is similar to Thompson in that she has the prerequisite athleticism for D-1 and over the next 4 years will get about as good coaching as you can get at the HS level. Daniels is a tough gritty little guard who was able to play forward in middle school because of her physicality, but is transitioning to the 2 guard spot. She needs to develop a jumper but she does 1 thing exceptionally well that often gets over looked and that’s PRODUCE! She flat out just gets it done and will be one of the Choctaws best players in the coming years.
1pm – Munford HS – Coach Steve Poindexter welcomed us to his gym for practice on a day off from school. He’s got a very talented team, one that’s on par talent-wise or maybe even a notch better than Dyer Co. He’s a great defensive coach and we saw why….they spend a lot of time perfecting their defensive craft. The knock on his team’s from talking to some locals is their inability to score and as a coach if you are going to spend a lot of time working on defense than you are going to have to sacrifice spending time on something else so it’s certainly understandable. The 1 thing I really liked is his kids really understand the concept of helpside defense. They spent a ton of time on it. His 2015 group is solid with Lindsey Owen a big thick strong post player already committed to Christian Brothers. She’s definitely a solid pick up for them in the post. Alex Wherry is a 5’10-5’11ish guard/wing jack of all trades type of kid. I heard she has an offer at Motlow and that seems like a good fit for her…she’s a TN juco kid all the way, a solid well coached ball player who’s not great at anything but not bad in any area either. 2015 Phenicia Howard is a strong explosive guard who has some definite ability. She’s a solid D-2/NAIA/Juco prospect, who if she goes to juco could be a low mid major caliber prospect. The real treasure at Munford are the high level young players. 2018 Gabby Crawford is a 6’2 forward/post player who has great footwork, is vocal on defense and works hard almost anytime she’s on the court. She’s definitely worth monitoring on the BCS level and she’s already heard extensively from Memphis, Texas A & M, Vanderbilt and South Florida. 2017 Johnna Jones (5’7) is another one of Munford’s young kids that will wind up in D-1. She’s got an amazing body for a 2017, not surprising since her Dad is one of the most prolific running backs in UT Vols history. She can shoot it and handle and of course is super athletic. Definitely worth monitoring at the mid-major and higher level.
2:30 – Raleigh Egypt – we will cover them further down in the report when they took on Whitehaven in the MLK event on Friday.