Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
Seekonk, MA – This was an amazing event for me, as I got to return to my roots and spend some time in southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island….the part of the country I was born and partially raised in. I got to see my parents and my boys got to see grandma and grandpa as well as other family. My Dad even helped us run the event passing out jerseys and T-Shirts.
Really appreciate my friend of 20+ years, Wayne Williams for helping in many facets from securing the gym, to promoting the event to even reffing some of the camp games when we needed him. As has been the case since the day I met Wayne…no task was too tedious, he did whatever he had to make it work. Wayne was one of a very limited group of people that have been around since my days in New England and we have always helped each as much as we could.
Most of the current people involved either on a parental level or involved in the coaching aspect of Girls/Womens basketball in New England weren’t around even 14 years ago, when I started ND Prep girls basketball team. NEPSAC was so scared of us, they threw ND Prep out of NEPSAC, for literally no reason at all. Over the next 3 years, we had 20 girls get D-1 scholarships at ND Prep including Nicole Michael, who helped Syracuse to their 1st NCAA tournament in many many years and started the revival of what is currently Syracuse WBB rise to power in the ACC. Nicole after a 9 year overseas professional career was back in New England to help run the event with me.
Although I was only in New England coaching for 3 years, 2005, 2006 and 2007, it was impactful. Some of the regions top players played for me and of all the AAU teams I coached, Exodus Massachusetts in 2006 was probably my favorite team ever. That team featured – Brittany Wilson, Kash Cannon, Trinity Hull, Amanda McCarthy, Ashley Rivera, Caroline Stewart, Camille & Amanda Fantini and Nicki Wurderman. We had a great season that year, beating Bill Coughlin’s Breakers and many other top teams….I think our record was something like 32-5. We lost to Skylar Diggins in the top bracket of USJN in the quarterfinals. It was definitely a fun summer.
So back to Saturday….it was great to return and be apart of New England Girls Basketball again.
Before we get into any of the players…I thought Tony Condra was amazing. About 2 weeks ago, I was starting to think about how we were going to facilitate the training aspect of the camp and I didn’t have many ideas. Someone had recommended a highly respected trainer out of NYC and I spoke to him. But I’ve never worked with him before so I was a little apprehensive to pull the trigger because I wanted to make sure this event was a huge success for the players and parents…that same morning I spoke to Tony and asked him what the possibility of him coming was. Turns out he was able to move a few things around and we made it work. Having a guy come in from St. Louis wasn’t cheap, but I think all the people there including myself felt he was worth it. So thanks Tony. If you read this, I truly appreciate your passion for teaching the game. I also thought Joe Fenelon from NYGHoops.com and Wayne from LWProductions came in and did an amazing job. Having these guys come really made the event invaluable from an exposure perspective. Even tho D-1 coaches weren’t in the building Joe and Wayne took the inside of the building to them, with their pictures and videos. No less than 5 D-1 schools contacted me about players on that Sunday including Boston College, Providence and Ohio State.
Onto the players….these were my brief thoughts. Running an event makes it hard to do as much evaluating as I’d do at an event I’m not running. I took notes on 29 of the 75 or so players and generally speaking I take notes on mostly D1 caliber players. Not that everyone who is D1 caliber will be a D1 player, but those 29 players I felt have a strong chance to eventually play D1. Let me also say here, there’s nothing wrong with being a D2, D3, NAIA or juco player…in fact I’ve been a HC at all those levels except D2. I’d much rather coach juco ball than D1 any day….no lie at all…juco was so much more fulfilling to me than D1. So truth be told I mostly write about D1 kids because the subscribers to my service are D1 schools. Playing at any level of college is a huge accomplishment and should definitely be treated as such. I hope I’m not downplaying that here.
Here are some players that stood out to me –
Amanda Hill – 2022 – 6’1 – G/Wing – Long very lanky with guard skills, gets low with the ball and is able to be a slasher, driver…also has perimeter shooting skills with size at the position.
Samantha Dewey – 2021 – 6’2 – Post – Thick framed post player who produces and is effective despite not passing the initial eye test. In the better than she looks category. Moves deceptively well for her size.
Avery O’Connor – 2022 – 5’11 – G/Wing – Physically strong wing with the ability to score inside and out. Has range to the arc but can muscle you inside as well. Needs to refine her shooting form just a tad, but ability to play scholarship level basketball is there.
Nicole Melious – 2023 – 5’7 – G – Fundamentally sound, her game is mature for an 8th grader. She plays with poise and confidence, can handle the ball under pressure and makes good decisions. Nice stroke with good range.
Kelian Cedano – 2024 – 5’8 – G/Wing – Still somewhat raw, KC is getting buckets at will. She’s a tremendous slasher, who as a lefty has already figured out that setting defenders up with one dribble to the right and then bringing it back to the left and attacking the basket results in 2points almost every time. She’s also got a smooth pull up jumper. Sky’s the limit for this 7th grader.
Megan Bodziony – 2020 – 5’10 – CG – I literally changed my numerical rating of her game 4 times (all higher)….I didn’t change anyone else’s even once. Megan just kind of blended in in the beginning of the day but as the event wore on she stood out more and more. She has a complete game….can score anywhere on the floor in a multitude of ways and is more than willing to make a scoring area pass.
Riley Rottkamp – 2021 – 5’7 – CG – Wiry guard with great poise. She’s got a nice touch both on finishes near the rim or from long range. One of the better shooters at the event. Has a chance to be a very good player, especially if her body fills out some.
Ahtiana Benway – 2023 – 5’3 – CG – Fast guard who more than held her own against the older kids and made some nice plays. Defensively she showed an understanding of higher level concepts and knocked down some nice shots during the game play portion of the event.
Aleah Bracey – 2024 – 5’6 – CG – Sleek, athletic guard, Aleah has a smooth game. There’s some film on LWProductions twitter feed of Bracey finishing with a nice finger roll, up close to the rim. She’s really got a chance to be a special player.
Janelle Johnson – 2020 – 5’9 – CG – Nice frame, athletic with some strength, Johnson did a good job of running the floor for some easy transition buckets. She also used her size and strength to get to the rim when there were defenders present.
Tahlia Tah – 2021 – 5’9 – G/Wing – Bigger, thicker guard with some real playmaking ability. She’s got streetball handles and some real swag to her game. Uses that to get by defenders and create. Nice upside.
Kalkidan Mamo – 2019 – 5’6 – PG – One of the true PGs at the event, Kalkidan was a kid who I didn’t even know she was coming until she was there. Big time stock riser at the event. Went from being under the radar to one of the most tweeted about kids there. Playmaker, with speed, good hands, creates plays, nice handles, good step back, can knock down shots. Super good teammate and attitude which was evident to anyone who paid attention.
Rosheda Guthrie – 2020 – 5’7 – CG – Feisty guard with handles and athleticism, quick hands, great on ball defender…gave other players fits. Created turnovers and turned them into easy points.
Aaliyah Forman – 2020 – 5’11 – Wing/F – Another stock riser, I’ve seen Aaliyah before but she never stood out to me in the way she dominated on Saturday. She needs to fix her shot somewhat, but overall she’s got a strong athletic game and a D-1 ready frame. She’s close to being able to play D-1 now….can defend at that level and rebound at that level. Her offensive game is close. Nice slasher and good motor. Will definitely play and contribute at a high level in college.
Piath Gabriel – 2020 – 6’4 – Post – I debated writing about Piath because there were a bunch of other deserving players who I probably won’t write about due to time constraints. I’ve already written more than I told myself I was going to….Piath has no clue how good she can be. She’s probably the player at camp with the highest potential of being a pro. She could definitely play basketball for a living one day, if the light bulb clicks on and she realizes that to do this for a long time, you have to take it serious, you have to go hard all the time…drills, games, you have to have a competitor fire and some determination. All the tools are there for Piath, she just has to find the inner desire to be great.
There were many good players who caught my eye that I didn’t write about…don’t take that as a slight in anyway…trust me I recognized you and you will be in my database. If I noticed you…college coaches will notice you too…and that’s the goal.