Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
The annual USJN Southern Spring Classic saw over 70 teams converge on Greensboro, North Carolina for the NCAA Evaluation Period. Teams from all over the East Coast and Southeast region participated in front of over 70 different colleges and universities. Many great young players showed their talent this past weekend, and I will discuss some of the players who caught my eye in Greensboro. We will breakdown each class of top players that were on showcase.
Kaylee Cotton – 5’10 Guard/Wing (McCreary Co. HS – Stearns, KY – #TeamSlink) – Kaylee played some of her best basketball this past weekend. Kaylee came into this event leaner than past years, losing 15 pounds over this past season. It really shows, she played at an incredibly high level, averaging over 18 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game. Not only did she score the ball well, but shot at a very efficient 52% from the field (36% from 3pt). Once thought of as just a shooter, she has transformed her game to being a complete player, scoring in a variety of ways. Her speed has increased and she is still as strong as an ox. Cotton is very capable of posting smaller players and finishing through contact (shooting 83% [20-24] for the weekend. She played well enough that I would not be surprised if a BCS school comes sniffing along. Kaylee has heavy interest from Miami (OH), ETSU (offered), American, Lipscomb (offered), Tennessee Tech, Florida Gulf Coast, Charleston Southern, Belmont and UMASS.
Emma Young – 5’9 Combo Guard (East Jessamine HS – Nicholasville, KY – #TeamSlink) – Emma is another player that vastly improved her stock after playing this weekend. Emma is a very physical guard who plays with an incredibly high motor. She is guaranteed to draw a charge at least twice a ball game. Her perimeter game has immensely improved since last summer. Emma is a threat penetrating to the basket, pulling up for a mid-range jumper, or hitting a long range 3pt shot. She is also very efficient at getting to the free throw line. Emma is an excellent facilitator, especially driving and dishing to the open man. Emma also showed an incredible knack for getting rebounds. She can fill up a stat sheet, over the weekend she averaged 13.2 ppg, 3.7 apg, and 5.2 rpg. A high to mid-major player, Emma is drawing heavy interest from Marshall, Eastern Kentucky, Miami (OH), North Florida (offered), Tennessee Tech, Elon and Northern Kentucky.
Madison Heckert – 6’5 Post (West Carroll HS – Atwood, TN – #TeamSlink) – Last year at this time, Madison was a virtual unknown, but after a year of being on the scene, she is a legitimate Division I recruit. With her incredible size (both parents are well over 6’ as well) and soft touch around the rim, she is very hard to stop when she gets a touch in the post, Heckert shot an incredible 65% and has the range to step out and hit the 3 ball. Not only can she block a ton of shots, but she alters even more shots. Many times did penetrators go into the lane and overshoot the ball due to Madison’s imposing size and defensive skill. She has made a point to get stronger over the past year, and it shows as she regularly dominates for post position. Heckert is also a dominant rebounder who can get the ball out quick to the outlet. She scored a 26 on her ACT, so high academic schools need to take note. Arkansas State, Elon, UT-Martin, Austin Peay, West Virginia, Belmont, and many more schools are on this top post prospect.
Maddie Long – 5’9 Combo Guard (McEwen HS – McEwen, TN – #TeamSlink) – Another player that busted onto the scene last spring, Maddie has seen her recruitment take off. Maddie possesses incredible athleticism which makes her an incredible defender. She has the ability to challenge any shot or layup with her great jumping ability. Can hit the 3 point shot, but is more dangerous with her dribble pull-up in the mid-range. Her shot is hard to guard as she elevates over defenders. Needs to be more direct with her dribbling. I would like to see her make stronger moves to the basket and not “dance” with ball as much. Maddie is super coachable kid who makes an incredible teammate. She can play any role you ask of her and will not question it. She is getting interest from Tennessee Tech, UT-Martin, Austin Peay, Seton Hall, Arkansas, Santa Clara, Northern Kentucky, UMASS and Division II power Union University.
BriAnna Burbridge – 6’1 Wing (Frankfort HS – Frankfort, KY – #TeamSlink) – The second leading scorer in the state of Kentucky last year, BriAnna is making her debut on the exposure circuit this year, and what a great surprise she was to see. She is a guard in a 6’1 body. She is super efficient in finishing at the rim and through contact. She just has that scorer’s mentality. The most surprising part of her game is her ability to handle the ball in transition, having the skill to take the ball coast to coast. Has decent three point range. She does have a tendency to shoot the ball flatfooted sometimes, and that is one area I would like to see her improve on. Her length gives her the advantage to get rebound, and when you couple that with her ability to handle the ball; she can start and finish the fast break by herself. She is going to have a host of colleges recruiting her. Definite Mid-Major player, with her length, athleticism, and guard mentality, could also see interest from High Major schools as well.
Amber Thompson – 5’8 Combo Guard (Dyer Co. HS – Dyersburg, TN – #TeamSlink) – Amber really improved her stock over the weekend. She has really added a lot to her game since last year. One of the biggest changes in her game is her ability to drive to the basket. Last year she was considered a shooter, but she has now evolved her game to include a driving game that is very efficient. She can still shoots the light out of the ball, but now is the complete package. She also thrives on defense. She creates turnovers at a very high rate, and she usually turns those into easy points on the other end. She can play both Shooting guard and Point Guard in college. She has a very intense work ethic and a 22 ACT score. Arkansas State, UT-Martin, Austin Peay, North Florida, and Tennessee Tech are all showing heavy interest.
Oneisha Turner – 5’11 Forward (Bowling Green HS – Bowling Green, KY – #TeamSlink) – Oneisha is a solid player who can battle girls much bigger than her. She is aggressive defensively and able to get rebounds and start the break by herself. Excellent at finishing on offensive rebounds, likes to use an assortment of spin moves and shot fakes that keep the defender off balance. She is super efficient when operating around the basket. Has a good mid-range game but would like to see her use it more. Oneisha is great at reading the passer and jumping the passing lanes. She is undersized for the post and will need to develop her perimeter game to be successful at the next level. Low Division I to High Division II.
Ezzy Ighodaro – 5’5 Point Guard (Dunbar HS – Lexington, KY – #TeamSlink) – Ezzy is a super quick point guard who can make things happen. Not only does she possess good speed but can challenge shots with her exceptional jumping ability. Ezzy possesses super tight handles who can weave through a press and through traffic. She has a high floater that is hard to guard and she finishes it consistently. She will need to add weight as she is pretty small, but she makes up for it with her superb athleticism. Ezzy is very creative off of penetration, letting her make incredible shots and passes to the open teammate. She does have a bad habit of depending on those creative passes sometimes. If she can gain a little weight, and with the right fit, she can play at the low Division I or high Division II levels.
Olivia Crane – 5’11 Wing (Dyer Co. HS – Dyersburg, TN – #TeamSlink) – Olivia has great size for her position and is able to take advantage of mismatches because of her height. Crane is best utilized on the wing and shoots the 3pt ball with exceptional accuracy. She plays with incredible hustle and plays with toughness. Has a great IQ on the floor and does a great job going to get rebounds. Olivia has a 3.9 GPA and a 24 on the ACT. All high academic schools should take note as she would be a great fit in your program. High Division II to High Academic Division I schools.
Kiya Sain – 5’6 Guard (Jackson South Side HS – Jackson, TN – #TeamSlink) – Kiya was one of the top defenders to play this past weekend. Her knowledge and skill set defensively is what truly separates her from her peers. Kiya played progressively better as weekend went on and became more aggressive on the offensive end. She has good range but is a bit undersized to be a two guard at the next level. She will need to improve her ball handling, but her defense is already college ready. Division II / NAIA prospect.
Asia Currie – 5’10 Forward (Jackson South Side HS – Jackson, TN – #TeamSlink) – An athletic forward, Asia plays with a great motor and is very coachable. She does a lot of positive things on the defensive end. She is always involved in the play, tipping a pass, taking a charge, or jumping the pass lanes. Asia plays well in transition, and because of her athleticism, she is able to make plays that most people can’t. Asia will thrive in a slasher’s type role, as I believe she is more effective getting to the basket than hanging out behind the arc. Division II / NAIA Prospect
Chavis Jordan – 5’7 Point Guard (New Hope Christian Academy – Lexington, NC – Lady Phoenix Elite) – Chavis was arguably one of the top point guards at the USJN this past weekend. Not only does she have an all around excellent game, but she also has incredible floor vision and basketball IQ. Chavis is able to be the facilitator in the offense but also able to score the ball if that is what her team needs. The greatest part of her game is that she knows when to facilitate and when to score. She has super tight handles and rarely turns the ball over. Possesses a lethal step-back move that froze defenders on many occasions. Has good enough game and court vision to play at a high to mid-major program.
Destiny Timberlake – 5’8 Guard (TW Andrews HS – High Point, NC – Phoenix Xpress) – Destiny has an athletic frame and has a body that is set up to be successful at the college level. Destiny can at times be the best player on the court, but sometimes has a tendency to stand and watch. She excels at scoring in the mid-range game and is really good pulling up off the dribble. Good defender who makes it look easy on that end of the court. Low to Mid-Major Division prospect.
Madison Hallman – 5’5 Guard (East Davidson HS – Thomasville, NC – Phoenix Xpress) – Madison is a lethal shooter from the outside. She is the type of player that if you give her room to get her shot off, she will hit the shot with deadly accuracy. She will have to play point at the next level, and I would have liked to see her more in that role. When she does have the ball in her hands, she does seem serviceable to play the point. Runs in transition well and knows when she has a good look at the basket. With her size and skill set, she could play at the High Division II/NAIA level or for a Low Division I program.
Kayla Marosites – 5’10 Guard (Elizabethton HS – Elizabethton, TN – East TN Lady Rain) – The raining Double A Miss Basketball in Tennessee showed why she is such a talented player. She really has a complete game to go along with an athletic frame. She can hit from beyond the arc, dangerous in the mid-range, and can score through contact inside. I really like her dribble pull up ability along with her tremendous hustle on both ends of the floor. Does a good job of going to get the rebound and starting the break. I would not be surprised if she wins Miss Basketball in Tennessee again in 2016. Have offers from ETSU and Lipscomb. ETSU sat on both her and her twin sister (Kelci) very hard, not missing a single second of action from this twin sister duo.
Kelci Marosites – 5’10 Guard (Elizabethton HS – Elizabethton, TN – East TN Lady Rain) – I feel that Kelci doesn’t get the recognition that she deserves. Kelci is a tremendous player who sometimes gets lost in the shadow of her sister. This weekend, I feel that Kelci did a good job of leaving that shadow and playing to a level that deserved their own merits. She is a volume shooter with deadly accuracy. I was impressed with defensive ability that she showed this past weekend. She plays well within her game and does a good job of playing to her strengths. Kelci and Kayla will be attending school together; right now they have offers from Lipscomb and ETSU. This duo will make an impact at either school.
Abbi Buck – 5’4 Point Guard (Pickett Co. HS – Byrdstown, TN – #TeamSlink) – Abbi is an incredible shooter who is making the transition from shooting guard to point guard this spring. This past season she broke her high schools 3pt record while playing shooting guard. Very serviceable at the point and has a super high basketball IQ. Plays fundamentally sound and knows how to play a variety of defenses correctly. She has in the gym range, and is a threat if you give her window to shoot it. Would like to see her develop tighter handles and to see her penetrate to the basket more. Also think she needs to develop a floater as she will not be out jumping bigger girls. She possesses a gym rat’s mentality and her work ethic is almost unmatched. If you ask this kid to do anything, best believe that she is going to work to make it happen. Will be limited by her height but with her range, work ethic, and IQ, it makes her a threat at both Division I and Division II levels.
Cheyenne Cunningham – 5’7 Point Guard (Jackson South Side HS – Jackson, TN – #TeamSlink) – Cheyenne has a great build for point guard and has great conditioning. Super pesky defender that plays great on ball defense. Has good handles, but needs to tighten them up, especially when in traffic. Does a great job of getting the basket, but needs to be more aggressive looking to score the ball. She likes to distribute at times when it would be more beneficial to shoot. Great passer but sometimes she likes to make the more difficult pass, leading to turnovers. Low to Mid-Major Division I prospect.
Bairesha Gill – 6’0 Forward (New Hope Christian Academy – Lexington, KY – #TeamSlink) – Bairesha has vastly improved from last year. After reclassifying to the 2017 class, she went to play with Delany Rudd and she has benefited. Gill has dropped over 20 pounds and played with some of the best physical conditioning I have seen from her. She has developed a mid-range shot and is still a monster on the boards. She has the ability to out jump anyone, and regularly wins the battle of the boards because of it. She still has a tendency to try and do too much, which sometimes gets her in trouble. Mid-Major Division I prospect.
Tamia Curry – 5’11 Forward (Jackson South Side – Jackson, TN – #TeamSlink) – Tamia is an athletic forward who plays extremely physical and is a very athletic defender. She typically plays inside, but can step out and hit shots from the perimeter. She can hit the 3pt shot, but I would like to see her get more consistent during games. Curry has a good variety of post moves, especially her spin move, but she does rely on that move a little too much. If she would go straight up more often, the spin would be more effective. She plays very physical and is not afraid to take a charge from larger kids. Her ability to guard multiple positions makes her stand out among others her size. She can guard larger kids in the post while also being able to guard against smaller players on the perimeter. Tamia is a Low to Mid-Major Prospect
Lauren Boehm – 5’11 Guard/Forward (Scott Co. HS – Stamping Ground, KY – #TeamSlink) – Lauren is a versatile who can play wherever needed on the court. Highly coachable kid with an incredible motor. I love her ability to always make hustle plays and sacrifice to make her team better. Lauren has the size and ability to play both on the perimeter and in the post. She does need to be more aggressive on the offensive end, especially when playing on the perimeter. Excels at driving to the basket and drawing a foul. Lauren is a relentless rebounder, especially on the offensive end, allowing her team to get multiple positions. The thing I really like the most about her is that she can play about anywhere at the next level. Lauren should fall in the High Division II to Low Division I player.
Courtney Hueck – 5’6 Guard (Obion Co. HS – Troy, TN – #TeamSlink) – Courtney had a really good weekend. She looks to be at her prime playing weight and her hard work off the court really showed up. She can shoot the three ball with consistency and has really improved her defensive ability. A very coachable player who loves making hustle plays. Her ball handling has improved some, but she still needs to improve on her ball handling as she will probably have to move to a PG at the next level. High Division II/NAIA to Low Major Division I prospect.
Olivia Nunn – 6’2 Post (North Davidson HS – Lexington, NC – Lady Phoenix Elite) – Olivia has a good combination of height and strength to make her a force inside the paint. Super sturdy player that is really hard to move in the post, while having the athletic frame to deflect entry passes and alter many shots. Has a good back to the basket game and can hit the mid-range shot. With her size and skill set she will definitely be a player to focus on in the class of 2017. Mid-Major to High Major Division I.
LaShonda Monk – 5’6 Point Guard (Southwest Guilford HS – High Point, NC – Phoenix Xpress) – Monk is a guard who has really tight handles and nasty crossovers. She is really hard to guard and does an excellent job of getting to the basket. With her ball handling so dangerous and her natural speed, on ball defenders really had a hard time keeping up with her. When penetrating to the basket, she does a great job of distributing to the open man or finishing through contact. LaShonda is also capable of hitting from outside the arc. Definite Mid-Major Division I player.
Destiny McCullough – 6’2 Post (Ben L Smith HS – Greensboro, NC – Phoenix Xpress) – Destiny is an ultra-athletic post player who can just flat out play. She has a long frame which only makes her more dangerous when coupled with her athletic skill level. To put this in reference, she can touch the rim, as she proved during warm-ups. She has a very good post game with a soft touch around the rim. She likes to go over her right shoulder, and I would like to see development with going over her left shoulder. Runs the floor good for a big and understands how to run in transition. I would like to see more of her mid-range game. High Major and BCS programs should be looking at her.
Autumn Lyon – 5’7 Guard (Elizabethton HS – Elizabethton, TN – East TN Lady Rain) – A pesky defender who makes life miserable for those she is guarding. I love her hustle and determination on the defensive end. Autumn plays with an incredible high motor, and you will see her doing the dirty work on defense. Her on-ball defense is great as she caused many turnovers and 5-second violations. She will really need to improve her offensive game to make an impact at the next level. Division II / NAIA prospect
Leann Scharberg – 6’1 Post (Science Hill HS – Johnson City, TN – East TN Lady Rain) – Leann has that great combination of a college ready body and being very strong in the interior. She has good post moves, and a very active rebounder. She can be a Low Division I player if the right fit of a program comes along. If that program doesn’t come along, she would be excellent on the Division II level.
Jalynn Landversicht – 6’0 Forward (East Jessamine HS – Nicholasville, KY – #TeamSlink) – You can see the progress Jalynn has made in only a year. This year she really focused on her game and it shows. Jalynn is going to be a match-up nightmare as her ability to play on the wing will draw out bigger players. Even with her size, she plays like a guard. Has great range beyond the arc and is an incredible rebounder. Her long frame allows her to outrebound others, create havoc in the passing lane, and alter shots. I would like to see Jaylnn get stronger and bulk up to help her when she drives to the basket, and will help her finish through contact. Mid-Major Prospect.
Mashayla Cecil – 5’6 Point Guard (Dunbar HS – Lexington, KY – #TeamSlink) – Mashayla was really impressive during the USJN Spring Showcase. She really showed that she will belong on a college court in the near future. She plays with poise and patience that very few kids her age play with. I enjoyed watching her as she was able to control the game and knew when and where to attack. She plays well in either a distributor’s role or a scorer’s role. Cecil does a good job getting to the basket and has a plethora of moves to help her finish around the basket. Low to Mid-Major Prospect.
Lexi Trice – 5’8 Guard (McNairy Co. HS – Selmer, TN – #TeamSlink) – Lexi made her debut in exposure ball this weekend was she definitely impressive. Lexi has a good combination of athleticism and skill as it relates to handling the ball in transition. Multiple times she was able to take the ball coast-to-coast and finish with both power moves and floaters. She is most dangerous beyond the 3pt line. She can play multiple spots on the perimeter. Low to Mid-Major Prospect.
Makala Smith – 6’1 Post (Scott Co. HS – Georgetown, KY – OverTime Performance) – Makala plays incredibly strong and is pretty efficient in the post. Plays very aggressive and is definitely not a pushover when defending or getting position in the post. Possesses a solid frame which helps her create and keep position in the post.
Shy Truelle – 5’8 Guard (Hampton HS – Hampton, TN – East TN Lady Rain) – Shy was a pleasant surprise this past weekend. Her looks can be deceiving, and once the ball is tipped, she really takes her game to a new level. She runs the floor very well, especially in transition. It was a thing of beauty to watch her snag a rebound and start the break. She is very capable of finishing the break, but also saw the floor very well and found the open teammate. I was very impressed with her ability to penetrate. Low to Mid-Major Division I prospect.
Jolene”Jo” Ballard – 5’6 Point Guard (Crosby MS – Louisville, KY – #TeamSlink) – Jo possesses an incredible basketball IQ for her age. When she is on the court, she commands her team like a player 4 or 5 years older than her. Defensively she is a nightmare, especially when guarding the ball. She can keep just about anyone in front of her and plays defense with a passion. Jo has good ball control and a good mix of dribble moves to keep defense off balance. A very good penetrator with an ability to find the open teammate. She does like to fade away bit on some of her passes, but that will stop once she gains some more size and weight. Is a coach’s daughter, so her basketball IQ and skill level are very high compared to others in her age group. Definitely a Division I prospect, but the level will depend on how much she grows.
Leslie Stewart – 6’3 Post (Dorton MS – Ashcamp, KY – #TeamSlink) – Leslie is one of the most imposing players of her class. Her height advantage allows her to block a ton of shots as well as get most of the rebounds that come her way. Runs the floor well and does a good job of finishing around the basket. She is able to take a beating and still produce points. This player will be one to follow and I can’t wait to watch how she progresses. Has a decent array of post moves for her age, and I can only imagine that her repertoire will grow as she ages. During the weekend, she gained a lot of interest for her size and potential. Mid to High-Major Prospect.
Mikayla Wise – 5’11 Forward (Blackman MS – Murfreesboro, TN – #TeamSlink) – Mikayla may have one of the best body builds in her entire class. Not only does she have a great physical frame, but she is also so strong. I don’t think she matched up with anyone during the weekend that could physically stop her. Mikayla always goes to work on the boards, and is a very efficient rebounder. She does have a tendency to make moves to avoid contact on offensive rebounds, but she is so strong she really doesn’t need to avoid contact. Has the ability to shoot from beyond the 3pt line, and would like to see her become more aggressive in that regard. She attends one of the top high school programs in the nation, so her ceiling is really unlimited. Low to Mid-Major Prospect
Ariyah Wheless – 5’9 Guard (Southern Guilford MS – Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Galaxy) – Ariyah is an athletic guard who already possesses a solid frame physically. She plays very smooth and can score the ball in a variety of ways. She really excels at penetrating and hitting the mid-range jumper, but is also capable of scoring behind the three point line. Her long frame really helps her defensively and was able to deflect many passes.
2020 & Beyond
Allyson Anderson (2020) – 5’6 Guard (McCreary Co. HS – Strunk, KY – #TeamSlink) – Allyson played well over the weekend. She shows great promise as she started for her high school team this past season. Allyson is an excellent shooter with deep range. She will need to improve on her ball-handling and foot speed to prepare her for the next level. I would like to see her become more aggressive, especially on the offensive end.
Ciara Taylor (2021) – 5’6 Guard (Memphis Home Educators Assoc. – Memphis, TN – #TeamSlink) – Ciara was a big surprise this weekend. Even though she is just in the 6th grade, she played up with her 2017 team and played like she definitely belonged. In fact, on many occasions, she sparked her team offensively. Ciara does a great job of driving to basket and finishing or drawing the foul. Her perimeter is beyond her years, which is going to make her difficult to guard going forward. She plays exceptional on ball defense, but struggles sometimes off the ball. This is obviously an area in which she will improve as she gets older. She is so young that it is truly hard to classify where she will end up, but I believe that she will definitely be an impact player in Division I.