Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
CCBC Essex Jamboree
BALTIMORE – I have a confession to make. Over the past few years, as my college coaching career has taken south, I have fallen a little out of touch with junior college basketball in the Mid Atlantic. Five years ago as a high school coach in the Richmond area, I sent players to junior colleges who went on to have successful careers playing at this level in Maryland in particular, and more importantly go on to play at the Division I level and achieve that Bachelor’s Degree to match a nice career on the court. After all, that is what good junior college basketball is about, bringing together a team of young women and over the course of two years, helping them excel in the classroom and on the court so that they can find the right fit to continue their careers as college student athletes. Just like at the four year level, I find that the programs who go about it the right way and have the resources available to help the student athletes succeed find themselves winning a lot of games.
So when I heard from some of my junior college coaching friends about the CCBC Essex Jamboree on Sunday, October 23, I knew I had to be there! Greg Witkop, Essex’s Athletic Administrator and President of the Maryland Junior College Athletic Association put on an absolutely wonderful event, featuring 16 teams from Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Four year college coaches were in attendance from various levels, and there was something for everyone at the event. With 3 courts running side by side under one roof, it was easy to see everyone play, and the event was well organized and scheduled efficiently.
Just like any jamboree, these games are scrimmages, and coaches took the opportunity to mix their line ups and work on some different things, as they should. After a full day of games, here are some programs to watch based on what I saw this event (in alphabetical order)…
Bryant and Stratton College has a very good mix of guards (sophomore Kyara Cooper and freshman Felipe Keys) to go along with a Division I post prospect Shauntierra O’Guin, a 6’3 freshman. You can read more about these players below. Bryant and Stratton threw the press on from time to time, and then mixed zone and man to man defenses otherwise. As a team, they were vocal on defense, which every college team strives to be. They are coached to do two things, play hard and do the little things. Talking to Coach Cornel Parker, he said he continues to focus on effort and energy in practice, and developing good habits in his freshman class. He believes in the potential of his young women, and he’s the coach that is going to be consistent in pushing them to put their best foot forward every day. Like their top prospects, this team has some potential.
Harcum College is one of those junior colleges that you can tell is committed to their athletic programs. They are well coached by Virginia native Brittany Clark (2nd season) and her new assistant Steven Rhodes. Harcum is once again in great shape to have another strong year, as they played a little short handed this weekend, but still managed to put on a good showing, winning all three scrimmages (for what it’s worth). On the defensive side of the ball, they mixed things up to keep teams off balance. Their discipline on defense is to be commended. Offensively, they had a good mix of shooters and drivers at the guard spots (notably freshman point guard Lynadia Whiting and freshman wing Jayana Ervin, joined by feisty sophomore Lauren Chambers), to go along with the best jump shooting post player at the event, 6’1 sophomore forward Drazana Vulic. Even with a few missing pieces, Harcum brought it today, and should be a force to be reckoned with out of Phily!
Harford Community College, led by Coach Mike Seney going into his 3rd year, was flat out dominant today in all three games. Their depth and talent level is as impressive in person as I’d heard about, led by Sacred Heart transfer Danielle Durjan, sophomore stud Daisa Harris, and a great mix of veterans and newcomers. One thing I’ve always said, you can tell a great team just by watching them go about their business in warm ups, and today there wasn’t a more loud or more energetic bunch out there. They come in to the gym prepared to do business! Harford worked on a wide array of defenses and stifled the opposition today. They have speed, length, and athleticism to give a lot of teams trouble. The guards handle the ball and most have a nice pull up game. I love the culture and discipline they have in place, and look forward to seeing them have another great run into the postseason.
Prince George’s Community College has a lot of really nice pieces. One of the top guards on display today was 5’9 freshman Asisha Greene, who drew the “oooh’s and ahhh’s” from her peers and spectators more than a few times with her playmaking ability on the offensive side of the ball. At one point, she scored 10 points in a row on her own. 6’5 freshman post Adenike Olukoya has imposing size and moves well, coming off the bench to spell a couple of gritty freshman forwards Tatiana Garvin and Gina Seifert. With only 3 sophomores on the roster, Coach Tiona Harris’ group will be young, but talented. As the young players develop and grow, the Owls could make a lot of noise in the D.C. area this winter.
Player Recaps –
Gianna Errico – 5’11 Forward – Fr. – Brookdale Community College – Agile post who can put it on the floor to start the break or to attack the basket… Comfortable with the ball in her hands… Built more like a 4 player than a post… Looks like she’s still learning the game, but has a lot of physical tools and does some nice things… Made some nice power moves attacking from the short corner… Played the back spot in their press and was a ball hawk, great closing speed to get her hands on passes… Has a low DI ceiling, just needs continued coaching and continued full effort
Kyara Cooper – 5’6 Combo Guard – So. – Bryant and Stratton – Stronger build for a combo guard… Mid range and 3pt. jumper looked good… Can also get to the cup… Could bring a lot of experience to a D2 program
Felipe Keys – 5’7 Wing – Fr. – Bryant and Stratton – Very nice stroke and rotation on the 3 ball, and would’ve liked to see her shoot it more… Active on D, hustles… Has the look and make up of a D2 of low DI guard, and will have 2 years at this level to grow and develop
Shauntierra O’Guin – 6’3 Post – Fr. – Bryant and Stratton – Legit size and long arms at the post… Can finish consistently around the rim and has a little bit of a back to the basket move set… Has the ups and length to go up and snatch the lob and finish at the rim, which I love… Keeps her hands up, catches high, and finishes high… One of those posts who looks like she should be faster rim to rim than she puts out… Coach says that there is some speed there, but he is pushing her to get her motor going and give more consistent effort, working to break some bad habits she came in with… Caught some DI eyes with her size and finishing, so she has some potential and the build to be at that level
Shanyah Allen – 6’0 Wing/Forward – So. – Camden County College – Strong build will stick out… Athletic enough to be an enforcer on D and block some shots… Ball handling was a little shaky in this event, but she averaged 17.8 ppg as a freshman last year, so the offensive potential is there… How she develops this year will dictate what level she ends up at
Nia Trusty – 5’0 Point Guard – So. – Cecil College – That point guard with DI level ability but lacking in size, we all know the type… Quick guard, great handles, and crafty passer… Saw her in transition get to the rim and then make a no look, between her legs bounce pass to the trail post for a lay up- wow play… Just swinging the ball around the perimeter though at times was a challenge with her height, having to loft passes a little bit to avoid deny defenders… Nice point guard, stature is lone issue
NyJayha Lockwood – 5’8 Wing – Fr. – Cecil College –Driver from the wing… All right handed at this point with the dribble and finishing… Gets low on D, and flashes the ability to play fast and physical on both sides of the ball… Needs to continue to develop her left hand and her jump shot to be a more complete player
Imani Quinn – 6’0 Forward – So. – Cecil College – I expected to see more at times, as (like many of these players) she was named to the preseason Maryland JUCO watch list… Rebounded pretty well… Has shot blocking ability and understanding… Built like a face up post, but didn’t see a ton of that skill set from her on offense today… Well coached so should be in line for a nice season… Will be an experienced athlete with size for the right school next year
Taylor Davis – 5’6 Combo Guard – Fr. – Delaware Tech – Davis is Del Tech’s best player… Combo guard who is their primary ball handler, and for good reason… Slick handles, really pounds the ball… Nice 3 point stroke for a PG… Very casual but talented player… I think there’s another gear here, she just hasn’t realized it or tapped into it enough yet.
Ashunte Manigo – 6’1 Post – Fr. – Delaware Tech – Long and thin post player… Very raw, and not overly athletic, but has potential to be a nice player for a D2 or D3 school in a couple years with work in the weight room and on the court… Should be relied upon heavily by Del Tech this season to be a force in the post, so the opportunities will be there
Lynadia Whiting – 5’3 Point Guard – Fr. – Harcum College – Loved how this kid is a vocal leader on both sides of the ball, what you want to have in your floor general… Showed ability to use and also refuse the screen and get to the cup… Also shot the 3 well, showing the ability to hit from deep in back to back possessions… Undersized but will be a very good player at the right level
Asia Timmons – 5’8 Wing – So. – Harcum College – Wing player who is pretty quick on D… I liked how she got the ball on the wing and looked to feed her post player who was having a good day. Some wing players struggle with feeding the post, so this is good to see… Has the quickness and handles to drive to the basket some, but tended to pick up her dribble to soon pretty often, leading to some turnovers… Heady player that can contribute at the right level after this year
Taijah James – 6’2 Forward – Fr. – Harcum College – Raw, athletic post with some nice length and hops… Also plays volleyball at Harcum, and coaches are anxious for volleyball season to wrap up and get her on the court full time for skill development… Can rebound and finish some… With skill development and just a better understanding of the game, has potential to be a nice post addition for a D2 or D3 school, maybe as a two sport athlete perhaps?
Jayana Ervin – 5’9 Wing – Fr. – Harcum College – Slasher who really likes the right hand drive… Posted up some on smaller guards, but that’s not her game overall… Smart player who gets her hands on a lot of rebounds and passes… Solid handle and speed with the ball… Harcum staff likes her on D and says she wants to be a good player. Continued development of her offensive skills, particularly the jump shot, are high on the to do list.
Lauren Chambers – 5’3 Guard –So. – Harcum College – Feisty, small guard who showed great energy and toughness… Shooter who isn’t bashful and will hit from deep, but also quick and a pesky defender… Already getting interest from schools at the D2/3 levels, which is the right place for her
Drazana Vulic – 6’1 Forward/Post – So. – Harcum College – Comes from a good but very small private school program in VA with a tradition of winning… Haven’t seen a post shoot the 12-15ft. jumper as well as she did today in a while… Can catch and shoot or face up in the low post, mid post, or short corner and knock it down… Knows how to utilize her pivot foot… Sets a nice, big screen and rolls hard to the basket… DI sleeper who at the very least is a big contributor at a good D2 school next year
Dahnye Redd – 6’1 Forward – Fr. – Harford Community College – This kid is one of the next big things for Harford… Super athletic with a great motor… Plays fast for a post, and will handle the ball and start the break off a steal or rebound… Loved how she foot for post positioning on defense, using her athleticism and great active feet to get around and deny the entry… Has the build and handles to play the wing as well, and got some time there today… Very nice player
Danielle Durjan – 5’10 Guard – So. — Harford Community College – A transfer from Sacred Heart… Lanky wing guard with 3pt. range, can hit it in streaks… Has nice speed with the ball in her hands and won’t allow the defender to bump her off the ball either… Will be a great addition to Harford and be back at the DI level this time next year
Daisa Harris – 5’7 Combo Guard – So. – Harford Community College – Explosive scorer at the guard spot… Can shoot the 3 and get to the cup… Has ups and speed to be a playmaker on both sides of the ball, and showed that off early and often today… One of the top guards at the event, with plenty of DI callers
Dominique Walker – 5’11 Forward/Wing – So. – Harford Community College – One of the most athletic players I saw today, and that’s saying something… Her size to play the forward spot at the DI level may be debatable, but her athleticism makes up for it… Played the top of their half court 1-3-1 zone, and she has the size, length, and speed to be a problem at the spot… Sets a good screen, rolls hard, and explodes up to finish… Has a lot of D2 interest already, and a true “tweener” in the eyes of some DI schools… There’s a lot to like here, and I think she will end up in a good spot when it’s all said and done.
Alysha Berry – 5’6 Combo Guard – So. – Harford Community College – Shooter… Can go off and hit on back to back possessions, hitting 4 from beyond the arc in one half at this event… Good defender, vocal on both sides of the ball… Low DI ceiling, has some interest at this level
Adrienne Jones – 5’10 Guard – Fr. – Harford Community College – You heard it here perhaps first, she’s the next big thing at the guard spot for Harford based on today’s action… Bigger, strong off guard with a pretty pull up jumper… Also shoots the 3… Nice handle, especially in transition, where she gets to the cup and doesn’t fear contact… I’m a fan.
Armonie Lomax – 5’8 Guard – Fr. – Montgomery College – A bigger, physical guard who played some point for them as well… Liked to attack going right, but can also hit the 3 to keep the D honest… Liked how she used her size and build to help her get open against the press… Had some turnovers, but her handles are adequate overall… Shot is a little different right now… Has 2 years to develop
Jalita Montgomery – 5’3 Point Guard – Fr. – Northern Virginia Community College – Small point guard but makes plays… Loved her motor on both sides of the ball
Jasmine Collier – 5’8 Guard – Fr. – Northern Virginia Community College – Taller guard on the wing… Shoots the 3, nice rotation… Has the handles to create her own shot, and a nice pull up jump shot that she knows when to use… Not the quickest player on D, but that may be more to do with effort than physical tools, hard to tell… Has potential to make herself into a very good player
Genesis Flores – 5’9 Wing/Forward – So. – Northern Virginia Community College – Played the 4 for them, likely out of necessity… Has the skill set and enough size to be a 4 player at the D3 level, but I would like to see what she can do on the wing… Shot the 15ft. jumper and played hard overall
Mikaela Cunningham – 5’10 Guard/Forward – So. – Northern Virginia Community College – Good motor and a strong build for a 3/4 player… Has the build but maybe lacks an inch or 2 to be a stretch 4 at the highest level… Has the skill set to be a stretch 4 nonetheless… 3 point range, deceptively quick first step to get to a pull up jumper… Hit the O boards hard and scored in that way as well… Plays hard, will be a useful player at the right D2/3 school
Dominique Smith – 5’6 Point Guard – Fr. – Prince George’s Community College – Athletic, quick point guard… Will play a lot of minutes and gain a lot of experience this year for them
Andrea Durant-Smith – 5’8 Wing – So. — Prince George’s Community College – Long and athletic guard on the wing… Can get to the basket and also utilize an effective pull up jumper
Tatiana Garvin – 5’10 Forward – Fr. – Prince George’s Community College – Maybe a bit undersized at the 4 spot depending on the level, but she ran the floor hard and can finish… Played a pretty balanced a useful style, defending and rebounding inside hard