Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
Canton, OH – The NEO Showcase put on by Rich Harland is the best event of it’s kind that I’ve been to. Of course I’ve been to many individual showcases over the years and there are many many good ones out there. The thing that makes this event different from many of the others and the best of it’s kind are, this event is geared for players who are not superstar, major P5 caliber prospects.
The showcase featured approximately 135 players from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Many of these players were “scholarship” caliber players, almost all of them were college level basketball players. These players had a chance to showcase their skills to the 60 or so colleges who showed up, without having to worry about being overshadowed by someone going to say Ohio State, West Virginia or Penn St. That aspect really enabled players to show what they can do against players of similar ability levels.
I know many event operators who run individual events, myself included try to get as many of the top headlining players as possible and that’s ok. As an evaluator, I need to see those players too, but often times they overshadow the players who are going to go on and play low mid-major D-1, D-2 and D-3 basketball. I think the thing Rich understands better than most of us, is we need to celebrate players who are able to play at any level of college and he gives those kids the platform to do that at this event.
Some of my Favorite Players from the Event –
Jada Haines – 2019 – St. Vincent St. Mary – CG – One of the better athletes at the event Haines, really stood out with her smile and spunky attitude. She seemed like she was having fun playing and was really into it. Sometimes, especially at individual events you see kids playing without emotion but Haines had plenty. Still uncommitted.
Brynn Mullet – 2021 – Berlin Hiland – PG – Despite being just a sophomore Brynn was absolutely the leader of her team. She was a floor general and guided the action for her group when she was on the floor. She gave instructions and provided encouragement to teammates which I thought was impressive for someone who was in the youngest grade in her group. She displayed some really good skill too, ball handling, shooting off the bounce and general smart decision making.
Lizzie Imrie – 2020 – Nordonia – SG – One of the more competitive, aggressive players in the building, Imrie constantly made things happen. She played hard which I liked a lot and had a strong athletic frame which fit in well with her game. I thought she was one of the higher level prospects there.
Charlotte Adler – 2021 – St. Josephs Academy – CG – The use of ball fakes and change of speeds is something that every player can do but most do not. Adler, just a sophomore was a master of subtle fakes, changing speeds and directions and in general keeping her defender off balance. She also did a nice job of making the correct reads whether it was a shoot or pass decision, or a decision of drive by or shoot a jumper or move the ball, she was consistently making the right choice.
Jalya Wehner – 2020 – Norwin – PG – Another player who really seemed to be having fun was Wehner. She had a great handle and was really able to create a lot of space between her and her defender with a great crossover and between the legs dribble. She knocked down more than a few step backs and was definitely one of the top shooters at the event.
Olivia Payne – 2021 – Green – CG – Payne did a great job keeping her head up in transition, which was good because she was always coming up with the ball on the defensive end via a steal or rebound. I thought she saw the floor well, moved the ball and was one of the better athletes at the event.
Top Unsigned Seniors –
Jada Haines – CG – SVSM
Rachel Bolyard – PG – Streetboro
Trinity McDowell – F/C – Struthers
Patience Ashaolu – G – West Allegheny (PA)
Kayla Clark – F/C – Howland
Sarah Bury – PG – Poland
Grace Hete – SG – Revere
Vanessa Sales – CG – McKinley
Grace Lindquist – F/C – Chippewa