695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
August 8th, 2015, Washington, DC.
Lisa Bodine of Blue Star Media is the only female national talent evaluator in the country. When she throws a party just about everyone in the girls basketballl community wants to be on the guest list. This party is invitation only, but that never stops overly zealous parents or entourage members of various players from trying all types of tomfoolery to sneak in. The stakes are high because the event is unique.
Potential prospects for the next level get to play in front of national talent evaluators like Bodine's Blue Star Media family including Mike Flynn, Mark Lewis, Joe Costa and Kevin Lynch. With national evaluators like Prentice Beverly, Nicc Jackson, Dan Olson and Joe Fenelon in attendance, it is a great opportunity to make a name for yourself. Next Sports Phenom's Tink Butler was holding it down for the DMV set as only he does.
Once again the action went down at St. John's College in Northwest DC. Parents, high school coaches and club coaches packed the sidelines to watch 58 chosen players try to make a name for themselves. Some of them did just that.
What I liked....
Watching the players in such a different setting. The drill sessions and the combine piece allow for a different perspective. You can tell who is receiving quality coaching.
The growth of the event. In 2013 we saw 26 prospects. In 2014 we saw 41 and this year it was up to 58. It's nice to see that many young ladies getting this opportunity.
The enthusiasm of some the players was refreshing. I love it when players realize they are getting a unique opportunity.
What I didn't like...
The venue. It was too hot and without any bleachers people are right on the court.
Baltimore was largely dismissed this time around after having a great showing in 2014. Only 5 of the 58 participants were from the 695 side of the DMV. I'm getting my propaganda machine ready for next year because there were several more who would have held their own.
The growth of the event. Yes, I know I said I liked that earlier. Going from 26 to 58 in two years allowed more girls to get seen. The problem is not all of them were ready. Some were not even close.
Here is a look back at who I enjoyed watching...
Yolanda Lavender, head coach at Ballou High School, DC.
One of the top trainers in the area, Ms. Lavender always brings her passion to the court. She has that special ability to teach the game in a manner that the girls can relate to. She would make a good talent evaluator as well.
Malu Tshitenge, 6'2", 2019 post. Germantown, MD
The size is real and the game is too. She has added a nice mid range jumper to her game to compliment her shot blocking ability.
Samantha Brunelle, 6'2" 2019 post, Ruckersville, VA
Ms. Brunelle showed off some immaculate footwork in the post and drained at least five three pointers during the scrimmages. She looks good handling the ball in traffic too. Great outing as she represented for the Richmond area.
Kiyana Jefferson, 5'11" guard, 2019, Lancaster, PA
You can call her Kiki. She is up to 5'11" now and showing a lot of versatility in her game. She's a natural floor general that can guard multiple positions. She is a smart player that plays at a measured but confident pace. She can shoot and finish inside as well. She is developing into the total package.
Jakia Brown-Turner, 6-0, 2019 wing, Temple Hills, MD
This was probably the player with the most potential in the event. She made some grown woman moves and I think she can help a few colleges right now. She is a smooth lefty with a nice handle and a nice array of moves. Her high school career will be fun to watch. I thought she was spectacular today.
Lauren Park-Lane, 5'3" 2019 guard, Wilmington, PA.
Lauren is a natural scorer. She is dangerous in the open court because she's quick and finishes even with defenders hanging off her. She'll mix it up on defense too. She's small but she can ball.
Lauren Hansen, 2019 guard, 5'7" combo guard, Setauket, New York.
Lauren has a nasty crossover that freezes defenders. She was knocking down jumpers from all over the court so she was a tough cover all day.
Angel Reese, 5-10 2020 wing, Randallstown, MD.
I like what I saw from Angel all summer. She has grown to a lanky 5'10" or 5'11" with a serious wing span. She has learned to slow down and let things come to her.
Azzi Fudd, 5'10" 2021 guard, Arlington, VA.
This was my first time really watching Ms. Fudd and she did not disappoint. She has excellent size for her age and plays a very mature game. Looking forward to watching her in the near future.
Mariah Perez, 6'3" 2019 post, Harrison, New Jersey.
She is a true post player that knows her role. She patrolled the paint and immediately ran full speed to the other block and established post position. She held that hand up high and called for the ball. She has a soft touch around the rim. Nice prospect.
Makayla Daniels, 5'7" 2019 guard, Frederick, MD.
Makayla had an impressive day. She was clearly on a mission to prove she belonged in the mix. She really went hard and competed on every possession. She is a skilled player with heart that sometimes gets overlooked on her talented MD Belles team.
Ashley Owusu, 5'10" 2019 guard, Woodbridge, VA.
Ashley is a beast and has been for a while. She was punishing chicks all over the court. Paul Pierce is her favorite player and you can tell. She has some of his signatures moves down to a tee, including the step back three off one foot.
Anissa Rivera, 5'11" 2019 wing, Dumfries, VA.
It's hard to believe she is only a rising 9th grader. She is strong, physical and explosive. She played with the ball in her hands most of the day, running the point and leading fast breaks. She is really blossoming as a player.
Rites of Passage host Lisa Bodine addresses the participants.
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