Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
Write up by Aaron Holland – @dutchy34
Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Part 1
The Northeast Arkansas Invitational (NEA) Tournament is a holiday staple in Northeast Arkansas. This event has been taking place for over 60 years, and showcases talent from NEA that is sometimes under recruited. This event is also one of the last “single-elimination” formats still going during the holiday season. The numbers have decreased as more High School teams are looking for multi-game tournaments or classics. This will be a two-part series of the talent that is being showcased at the NEA Tournament. We will release part two later this week. Here is a first part look at some of the talent within their respective classes.
Katerra Sharp (5’7 CG – Nettleton High School, Jonesboro, AR) – Katerra comes from an ultra-athletic family (both sisters have played collegiately) and she is no different. She has super speed and plays a pesky on-ball defense. She has great IQ and a high rate of retention for plays. Katerra does a good job getting to basket and well as shooting it from the 3pt line. I would like to see her release a little quicker on her shot, especially when she goes up against players on the next level. Katerra holds interest from a wide variety of schools. She currently has a 19 ACT and 3.3 GPA.
Katie Ferguson (5’8 CG – Bay High School, Bay, AR) – Katie is a natural scorer who can fill it up. A volume shooter, Ferguson really plays well in either guard positions. She has deep range and does a good job getting to the basket and finishing through contact. She will need to improve her defense on the next level, as she currently seems to play much harder on offense than defense. Katie would be a good player in certain systems. I see her as playing on the Division 2, NAIA, or JUCO levels.
Taelor Gartman (5’6 PG – Trumann High School, Trumann, AR) – Natural Floor leader who has pretty athletic move set. Taelor has a scorer’s mentality and can make some very athletic moves and finishes as she is driving to the basket. With further development in the JUCO ranks, she could be a dangerous player.
Kennedy Cooper (6’2 P – Izard Co. High School, Brockwell, AR) – Kennedy is a do-it-all post that has multiple D1 looks. She has a great back-to-the-basket game but is also just as capable as facing up and being a scoring threat. Her game is really smooth and is a threat to score from just about anywhere on the floor. She is capable of grabbing the rebound and taking it coast-to-coast with ease while also being able to finish though contact. She has a very nice shot and a very nice mid-range game. Kennedy currently has a 23 ACT and 3.75 GPA. She holds an offer from Arkansas State, as well as having heavy interests from schools like the University of Arkansas, So. Miss, and ETSU. She is currently open, and I would suggest High Majors to Mid-Majors inquire about her.
Javia Wilson (5’9 PG – Nettleton High School, Jonesboro, AR) – Javia was far and away the most surprising player I saw during this event. She was injured last year, making her unable to play and has made a full recovery. She is the model stat stuffer, she is super active and always making plays around the ball. She may be the best defensive player I have seen in some time. If she is guarding you, you are going to have a long, terrible night. She has a college ready body and great control. Javia excels at creating turnovers and is strong enough to wrestle away rebounds from bigger opponents. She is very good at getting to rim and finishing through contact. Javia does a great job at running the offense and understands her role within it. I would like to see her use her outside shot and 3pt shot a bit more, but as easy as she gets to the rim, she didn’t have to rely on her shot when I saw her play. She should me monitored by Mid to Low D1s and High D2s.
Rachael Wilson (5’6 PG – Valley View High School, Jonesboro, AR) – Rachael is a deceptively ultra-athletic PG who does a great job of controlling the offense. She has incredible range and a very beautiful shot. Her quick release makes her tough to guard as she can get it out with a defender closing quick. Rachael has a very muscular frame and uses that to her advantage to overpower her defender. For her size she can jump out of the gym and even blocked some shots of taller players.
Bailey Booker (6’1 W/F – Nettleton High School, Jonesboro, AR) – Bailey is not only a standout basketball player, but also an incredible volleyball player who has earned many accolades. Because she is a multi-sport athlete, Bailey does a lot, especially on the defensive end. She is able to jump straight up with great body control which leads to blocked or altered shots. She also uses her great jumping ability to go after rebounds. While Bailey does have incredible height, she is very dangerous from outside the 3pt line. She can really become a match-up problem, because once the slower post come out to guard her, she go blow past them. Bailey has a legitimate shot at playing at the Division 1 level. Mid to Low majors should definitely inquire about her.
Reagan Dodd (6’0 P – Valley View High School, Jonesboro, AR) – Reagan is an intimidating physical presence inside. She plays very hard and does a great job of keeping her defender sealed. Reagan is a monster on the glass and uses her physicality to get the rebounding advantage. She has a decent set of post moves, but would love to see her improve on her secondary moves inside. Reagan is able to square up and hit from the elbows or shot fake and drive to basket consistently. It is hard to gauge Reagan’s potential, because she could end up from a Low D1 all the way to NAIA level programs. It will all depend on how hard she wants to improve and refine her skill set.
Hattie Milligan (5’9 G – Riverside High School, Lake City, AR) – Hattie plays with a very high IQ. Defensively she does a great job guarding the ball-handler and doesn’t let her man blow past her. Offensively she has a good outside shot as well as a dangerous floater she against taller defenders in the paint. Hattie does have a small frame and I would like to see her get “bigger” so she can compete against the more physical players on the next level. She thrives under pressure and wants the ball in her hands when her teams needs a made shot. D2s, NAIA, and JUCO programs should continue to monitor Hattie.
Mya Love (5’9 CG – Nettleton High School, Jonesboro, AR) – Arguably the top 2019 is the region is Mya Love. She has a super strong frame and is super athletic. She resembles a college freshman is her build, but she is only 14. She gets to the basket with ease and possesses a nice mid-range pull up. As I mentioned earlier about her strength, she is also a force on the boards and finishes through contact with ease. Mya will be a surefire D1 player. If she continues to develop skill wise, she has a chance to be one of the best in the entire state. High to Mid Majors should get in early.
Dasia Young (5’11 W/F – Nettleton High School, Jonesboro, AR) – Dasia is a physically gifted specimen who is a work horse inside the paint. She has a solid frame and really plays physical inside and going after rebounds. Her mid-range game is a valuable weapon of hers that she uses to keep her defender off balance. She has the potential to be able to play inside and outside at the next level. Once she can finish through contact a little more consistently she is going to be a beast inside. Mid to Low D1s should be setting Dasia on their radar.
Whitlee Layne (5’9 SG – Bay High School, Bay, AR) – Whitlee is a talented guard who can really shoot the ball well from outside the 3pt line. She already is very consistent beyond the college 3pt line. Whitlee has a great frame and plays with a high basketball IQ.