Basketball Wall Street: “Travel Club Update 2017”
Klarke Sconiers 6’2″/2019-(NY), Natalija Marshall 6’4″/2020-(NY) and Lola Mullaney 5’10″/2019-(NJ) all join the Exodus NYC program in addition to Lauren Hansen 5’9″/2019; Makayla Scarlett 5’8″/2020; Taliyah Molina 6’1″/2020; Julia Fabozzi 5’10″/2020 and Jenna Cunningham 6’3″/2020. Future D1 prospect Dominique Darius 5’9″/2021-(NY) who will be attending Blair Academy-(NJ) next season also join the Exodus youth movement. This years team finished (3-2) in early EYBL play with 9 2018 prospects.
Michelle Sidor 5’8″/2019-(NJ) has decided to play for the New Jersey Sparks-(3-2) this spring and summer. Sidor is currently the leading scorer at 13.0-PPG with fellow 2019 prospects Jaida Patrick 5’11”-( 11.2-PPG 6.0-RPG) and Leilani Correa 5’11”-(8.4-PPG 6.0-RPG) providing scoring and rebounding.
Notre Dame commit Katlyn Gilbert 5’10″/2018 and highly touted Anaya Peoples 5’10″/2019 have decided to leave Best Choice United-(IN) to play with the Midwest Elite Nike EYBL club joining fellow Illinois 2019 standout Breanna Beal a 6’0″ Wing out of Rock Island-(IL). Emerging post Sydney Roby 6’3″/2019-(WI) is a welcomed addition to the Midwest Elite program out of Wisconsin. Roby played for the Milwaukee Lady Spartans. Notre Dame star Jewel Loyd is a former MWE player.
“Best Choice United takes a hit when they lose Gilbert and Peoples who left to go to Midwest Elite, they are still a good club but the EYBL is the underlying factor for a ranked player to leave a program. The same goes for Mac Irvin Fire from Chicago, again, still a good program with D1 players but they are not near the level of club they used to be in part because of the impact and power of the EYBL influence and the proliferation of so many travel teams” says a mid-west travel coach
Whether Something is good or bad is most often subjective depending on who you speak to. Some women’s basketball grassroots veterans have different views about the Girls Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. “All the Nike club programs care about is winning, they are not focused on kids recruiting. They try to replace their entire roster each year to keep up with the other teams instead of being loyal to the kids in their program.” says Kenny Kallina of Florida Girls Basketball-(FGB). “Nothing is absolute, there is good and bad in it. The good is that the EYBL has elevated the level of play in girls travel basketball. The bad part is that it has increased the AAU “free agency” so players are changing teams a lot more these days” say John McGraw of InsideExposure. Since the start of the New 32-team Girls EYBL, many other leagues have formed in hopes of having the same success. Arguably the most successful one has been the All Star Girls Report League founded by Mike White. ASGR’s events include, the Deep South in North Carolina and The Suwanee Tournament of Champions in Georgia. “There are too many tournaments, oversaturated with teams and event directors looking to juice college coaches pockets with a watered down, mediocre product offering desperate teams free uniforms, or partial entry fee in return for their participation.The less live period events the better,it does everyone a favor,parents,players,college coaches.Why do you need to go to 7 or 8 events? or join some wannabe league? to see the same players over and over? to play against the same players over and over? That’s why so many college coaches boycotted a lot of events because they were getting pimped out, I don’t blame them.” says a New York area travel club director. “There are too many events, there is not enough time and money to see all of the players. Good coaches do not need to spend $4000 in 2 weekends to evaluate the same prospects. Some coaches rely on scouting services but I have heard horror stories about so many of them. However, one of my friends said Dan Olsen’s is pretty good. I never purchased one in my life! and I have been coaching successfully in college for many years.” says an ACC assistant coach. “Some good ,some bad” in regards to the EYBL says Philadelphia native Mike Flynn owner of Blue Star Media and founder of the Philly Belles Nike program. Some skeptics say Nike is the best girls basketball platform, but the growth to 32-teams has watered down the product. Others question the necessity of the league to have 5 teams from California, 3 from Florida, 3 out of Texas and only 1 team in New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The nature of travel basketball has been manipulated by the constant changing of NCAA rules. The out-of-state rule might have been the most detrimental because it puts a limitation on how good a particular clu can be from a national recruiting standpoint. All in all, women’s grassroots basketball has grown exponentially throughout the years, and for good reason. NCAA live period events, Nike or not, are vital to young ladies who have the desire to play collegiate basketball.
Somewhere around 2003, Jerry Gatewood’s Los Angeles based West Coast All-Stars team won The Boo Williams Invitational Championship over a West Virginia Tornados team with 3 parade all-american’s Alexis Hornbuckle, Candace Parker from Illinois and Tasha Humprey from Georgia. The West Coast All-Stars led by 20-pts at halftime before going on to win 74-62.
All Ohio is off to a great start at (4-1) leading the way is highly touted Jordan Horston 6’1″/2019-(11.4-pp/7.0-rpg) and Indiana native Nia Clark 5’8″/2018-(13.8-ppg). Local talent Valencia Myers 6’3″/2018-(11.6-ppg) produces in the front-court.
Finest Basketball Club-(GA) FBC United Hunt-17-under team Marched through the Deep South Event-(NC) (4-0) winning by an average of 37.2-ppg. The team then went on to Boo Williams-(VA) and again went unblemished going (4-0) winning the Joe Smith Bracket lead by: Jazmine Massengill 5’11″/2018-(Tennessee); Brooke Moore 5’6″/2018-(Auburn); Elizabeth Balogun 6’1″/2018; Rhyne Howard 6’1″/2018 and star freshman Treasure Hunt 6’0″/2020. Kamilla Cardosa 6’6″/2020 anchors the front-court. For over a decade FBC has been a quality program. In 2006, 2007 FBC won back-to-back Deep South Championships in the highest competitive classification with players Like Nikki Speed and Jasmine Dixon, both McDonald’s All-Americans and Speed was a member of the USA U18 Team. The club was based out of California but then moved to the Atlanta Metropolitan area. Al Motton, Brian Harmon and the entire FBC staff has taken the organization to a new level. The addition of Keisha Hunt from nearby Tennessee was a power-move for the club. “I saw the FBC Hunt team from Georgia play at Deep South, they were tremendous. Clearly the top team there, it wasn’t close. They took care of business from start to finish. They should be a Nike team.” says a club coach from North Carolina.
The Cy-Fair Shock is (5-0) UConn commit Charli Collier 6’5″/F/2018-(16.2-PPG) is the leading scorer. The team is winning by an average margin of 30.2-PPG. Add in Arkansas native Christyn Williams 5’10″/G/2018 who holds offers from Uconn and Notre Dame, and Sedona Prince 6’7″/P/2018-(Texas).
Essence has replaced their back-court with South Carolina pledge Destiny Henderson 5’8″/2018-(12.6-ppg) after years with Florida Future. Stock rising prospect and Alabama native Zipporah Broughton 5’8″/2018-(11.2-ppg) has also joined Kim Davis-Powell’s club, leaving The Alabama Southern Starz. Both came up big in a (61-57) win over Boo Williams, Broughton-(23-pts) Henderson-(14-pts).
Jenna Brown 5’10″/2018 committed to Notre Dame and is a Georgia native but has decided to leave Team Elite Pointer-(GA) to play for the Central Florida Elite EYBL program based out of Orlando, FL.
California verbal McKenzie Forbes 6’0″/2018 elects to play for the California Stars program after running with Arizona Select. The Cal Stars finish (5-0) lead by Aquira Decosta 13.8-PPG 7.8-RPG.
Paris McBride 5’5″/PG/2018-(VA) takes a break from Team Loaded-(VA) to play for Team Takeover-(MD) (5-0) lead by Amira Collins 6’3″/2018-(Tennessee) and Lauren Ebo 6’4″/2018-(Penn State) combining to average (15.8-ppg/ 11.6-rpg) Jakia Brown-Turner 6’0″/2019-(12.8-ppg) is providing the scoring from the wing. Kansas State recruit Savannah Simmons 6’0″/2018 and Kate Klimkiewicz 6’1″/2018 committed to Boston College round out the back-court.
Christianna Carr 6’0″/2018 will be participating in this years Nike EYBL games playing for the Missouri Phenom program. Carr has already made a verbal pledge to attend Kansas State before leaving the 43 Hoops-(MN) program that was coached by her father, former NBA player Chris Carr who is now an assistant coach on the Kansas State Women’s Basketball team.
This seasons Boo Williams EYBL 17-Under team (5-0) has a strong front-court with: Shakira Austin 6’5″/2018-(Maryland) 10.4-PPG 8.8-RPG; Rochelle Norris 6’5″/2018-(West Virginia); Tiara Chambers 6’4’/2018 and Jennifer Ezeh 6’3″/2019. In addition to Ashley Owusu 5’11″/2019 14.6-PPG, Honesty Scott-Grayson 5’11″/2018 9.6-PPG, Xaria Wiggins 6’1″/2018 10.2-PPG and North Carolina commit Makaela Kestner 5’11″/2018. Star wing Elizabeth Martino 6’0″/2020 joins the quad coming over from Team Takeover-(MD).
Team Elite Pointer-(GA) continues their stellar EYBL play by finishing up the 2017 spring portion in Virginia with a (5-0) record. Lead by 10 class of 2018 prospects and great coaching. Auburn commit Robyn Benton 5’9″/2018-(12.8-ppg) and Kaila Hubbard 5’10″/2018-(12.0-ppg/4.6-rpg-team leader) provide the scoring.
The IExcel Program is off to a great start lead by Aliyah Boston 6’4″/2019-(MA) and Jordan Nixon 5’9″/2018-(NY) among many others . The 17-under team participated in the April live period event put on by the Dallas-Fort Worth-(DFW) Nike EYBL program. Where they lost to the Cy-Fair Shock’s top team by 4 points. The IExcel 15-under team is an outstanding group that is on par with any top tier 15-under team in the country. With players like: Mya Bembry 6’0″/W/2019-(NJ); Cassidy Roberts 5’6″/PG/2019-(NY) and Kayla Morris 6’3″/F/2020-(NY)
Aliyah Boston 6’4″/2019
Jazmine Carter 6’1″/2018
Kem Nwabudu 6’1″/2018
Jordan Nixon 5’9″/2018
Amani Free 6’0″/2018
Annie Ramil 6’0″/2018
Kaia Harrison 5’6″/2019
Alexsia Rose 5’6″/2020
It was a great move this season by the Philly Belles director Kevin Lynch to put to together a top 17-under team with the best prospects regardless of class. This years team has a great mix of talent with Maddie Burke 6’0″/2020; Danielle Cosgrove 6’4″/2018; Faith Masonius 6’1″/2019;Celeste Taylor 5’11″/2019; Kylee Watson 6’3″/2020; Alisha Lewis 5’6″/2019;Kiyana Jefferson 5’11″/2019 and recent Georgetown commit Diamond Bragg 5’9″/2018.
College coaches are very impressed with the play of the New City Heat program directed by Kevin White. The 17-under team went (4-0) and won their bracket at Deep South-(NC) event. The club receives an A grade from a bevy of college coaches. St John’s commit Kadaja Bailey 6’2″/2018 is a true wing with athleticism and ball-skills, add in Jamie Behar 6’2″/2020 an emerging wing-forward type with unlimited shooting range and a good feel for the game. Long Island is back, loaded with talent in the 2018, 2019, 2020 classes.
Another program that has impressed college coaches is the New York Havoc, directed by Terrance Florence. Well coached with talented student-athletes like: Grace Heeps 5’11″/G/2019; Catherine Almeida 6’5″/P/2019; Fordham commit Chole Chaffin 5’10″/G/2018 and Shayla Sanford 5’8″/G/2018. Add in Jenna Zimmerman 6’3″/F/2018 and Julia Ford 6’2″/F/2018 to round out the front-court.
The Sports City U program is loaded with talented prospects, the Ohio based program directed by Bryce McKey is one of the stronger teams on the circuit. Syracuse all-time great Alexis Peterson and Kathryn Westbeld at Notre Dame are just a few of the clubs alumnae.
Naz Hillmon 6’2″/2018
Sammie Puisis 6’1″/2019
Abby Prohaska 5’11″/2018-(Notre Dame)
Taylor Mikesell 5’9″/2018-(Maryland)
Jamir Huston 6’0″/2018
Naveah Dean 6’2″/2020
Shai McGruder 6’1″/2018
Zakia Cooke 5’9″/2019
Madison Greene 5’8″/2019
Gabbie Marhsall 5’9″/2019
Destiny Bohanon 5’7″/2019
Sommer Pitzer 5’5″/2019
Quietly, the SayYesToSuccess Elite Showcase in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.has become one of the top destinations to showcase prep programs and stellar student-athletes. For 2018, the field will be even better with schools covering the eastern seaboard and parts of the mid-west.This January 13-15 2018 SYTS will be one of the top prep events in the country featuring a diversified range of outstanding collegiate prospects.