695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
My last stop in July was the Washington, DC convention center for the annual USJN Nike Invitational. The first part of the week featured the 17U teams and the second part of the week focused on the 12-15U set. I spent almost five full days taking in the action. With 350 teams and almost as many college coaches it is easy to miss players but I did what I could. This is one of my favorite events because I get to connect with so many people at one time. Some times I'm on my way to watch a particular team and I run into somebody who is always good for a nice conversation and get sidetracked. I want to give out a few acknowledgments to people who I spent a few minutes with at the DC Convention center. I can always count on Saladin Reese of Team Sol, Henry Anglin of DC Cobras, Stan King of the VA Cardinals, Sam Caldwell of Riverdale Baptist and Jason Harris of PSPA to spend a few minutes with me and drop some knowledge on me, or at least crack a few good jokes.
I always pick up some good information from Lisa Bodine of Blue Star Media and this year was no different. I spent the earlier part of the week with Tink Butler of Next Sports Phenom. All the Baltimore people call me when he rankings come out so I wanted to pick his brain on a few things. We have two major players who we see from opposite ends of the spectrum so it's always good to compare notes with him. James Nichol's Real Basketball Report was the motivation for 695Hoops.com so I have to check in with the "Mad Rapper" at every event.
Coach Joe Mcaleer is doing an excellent job with his 2019 Maryland Belles team and when I'm around him I get the sense that he really cares about his girls. I like what he doing with that team. Antonio Johnson of the Baltimore Starz is to be commended as well. He took a team of mostly JV players a couple a few years ago and guided them through the circuit and they had a wonderful spring and summer. All of his players will play in college and not every team on the circuit can say that. I was most happy to see the Maryland Lady Tigers 2018 squad at USJN. This is a talented team that not enough people know about. You will hear from them! Walter Roman and Keving Young are doing a great job keeping that program strong.
Finally I want to shout out a few college coaches who I got to spend time with while evaluating. Sue Cahill of Assumption College gave me great insight as to how she recruits players geographically and why she goes to certain events. I got similar information from Chowan University's Patrick Mashuda. I think the CIAA is a great conference for a lot of DMV kids so I wanted to network. Cheyney University's staff, Kyle Adams and Brittany Christian, are two of the more detail oriented coaches you can watch a game with. I am working dilligently to expose DMV student athletes to opportunities in New England so I had to check in with Bridgeport's Jen Carleton and her new assistant Steve Pogue. They will build a strong program and they recruit from this area. Bert DeSalvo of Southern Connecticut State is full of energy and passion and the conversation I had with him made me a believer in his vision. Coach Jonathan Parsons of Bryant University stayed until 10pm on the first night to watch a team I recommened and I appreciate that. Ty Grace of New Haven was camped out watching DMV teams as well. Now on to the players...
Jasmine Dickey, Maryland Lady Tigers, 2018, forward.
I love the progress and development in Ms. Dickey. She can dance. She's probably around 5'10" now and her footwork keeps defenders off balance. She has a nice up and under move and a nice array of jump hooks (both hands) and I saw one nice Elvin Hayes fallaway jumper go down. Catonsville high school has a good one coming in.
Sydney Hines, MD Pride (MD Grizzlies loaner), 2015, guard.
I was on the fence about whether Sydney would end up at a strong D2 program or a low D1. Based on early feedback she has expanded her options to include a couple of mid major D1 schools. Her game is just easy on the eyes. Her 3 point shot has perfect arc and she is fast and explosive enough to finish at the rim through contact. She has decent size at 5'7" and she her ball handling has improved enough for her to handle some spot duty at the point. She should have a strong finish at New Town high school.
Charnise Tyler, MD Pride, 2015, center.
This was my first time getting an extened look at Ms. Tyler who is a rising senior at Suitland high school. She is a solidly built 6'2" post player who does not play around. She is not enamored with drifting out to the 3 point line to become a "stretch" four or five. She uses her good hands to catch the ball in the point and she powers up and finishes. Not a lot of flair, just good productive post play from what I saw.
Ilysia Lewis, Baltimore Charm, 2015, guard.
Ms. Lewis is a long and athletic 5'9" slasher. She has made steady improvement over the year and is set up nicely to have a strong senior year at St. Frances. I hear that she is getting different levels of interest, but she is a decorated student with strong academics. I think she is an excellent candidate for a Liberty League school but money talks so we'll see how it plays out.
Malu Tshitenge, Team Takeover 2019
This is a long athletic post player who has some potential. She has good timing when she goes for help side blocks. Looking forward to watching her develop.
Tyeisha Smith, MD Pride, guard, 2016.
Ty looks like she is all the way back from a knee injury that derailed her earlier in her career. She had a big season for St. Frances last winter and some D1 schools are taking notice of this high scoring guard.
Jaylin Carodine, United Lady Ballers, wing, 2018.
Jayline is an explosive leaper and she is hard to keep off the boards, especially the offensive glass. She will get out on the break and finishes nicely. St. John's College has a nice one coming in the fall.
Kimberly McPhearson, Baltimore Starz, guard, 2017
Ms. McPhearson has improved at a nice pace since we saw her in Raleigh at the Deep South Classic. Her 3 point shot is more reliable and she is finishing better at the rim. She is more of a two guard but looks like she can handle some spot minutes at the point.
Asisha Greene, Team Sol, guard, 2016
Ms. Greene is one of the more explosive athletes I have seen this year. She is very hard for defenders to stay with. She has a good handle and first step and her hang time is exceptional so she is able to make difficult shots. I'm looking forward to watching her expand her game.
Shawnkia Mccallum, MD Lady Shooting Stars, point guard 2016
A nice looking point guard prospect with good vision and athleticism. She is transferring from Perry Hall to St. Frances this fall. We will take another look during the IAAM season.
Taylor Bolden, Baltimore Starz, point guard, 2015
Taylor has blossomed this summer into real nice college prospect. Her outside shot is now one of her strengths and she displayed excellent IQ and decision making. She is deceptively fast and she made some wicked passes in traffic that set up easy baskets for her teammates. Her team was much better with her on the floor which means she doing a lot of good things.
Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Diamonds, guard, 2016
This was my first time catching the Diamonds and I was very impressed with Ms. Sheppard. Someone pointed her out to me during warm ups and I decided to stay and watch. She is a big time scorer who looks like she can take over a game whenever she feels like it. The form on her shot looked good and the results were there. She attacked the rim aggressively at times and played with a nice swagger that her teammates fed off. After the game she was polite and well mannered. My type of player. She is transferring to St. John's in the fall.
Deja Ford, A Chosen Few, guard, 2016
Deja is a guard with good size and she can score from anywhere. She had no problem taking big shots to help her team pull off a win over PSPA in one of the better games of the week. She is making some colleg visits before going back to St. Mary's Ryken in the fall.
Ran into Ola Ekundayo, 2015 two guard. She is almost back from a knee injury. She will have a big season at John Carroll. Strong academics, explosive athlete and great teammate.
Aleah Nelson and Taylor Geiman were instrumental in helping their team win their division at USJN. They are key pieces of the MD Belles 2019 team.
Two impact players from the class of 2018. Maryland Lady Tigers point guard Nia Clouden and Jasmine Walton. They will be attending St.Frances and Western.
Coach Mosley and Coach Cotton.
Stan King and Saladin Reese.
Jaelyn Harris-Caple of Cap City Ballerz is a threat from long range and she can penetrate to score or set up the assist. She is a class of 2017 guard at LC Bird High in the Richmond area.
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