CHICAGO, Ill.- Though college coaches across the country found themselves in multiple cities for the first few days of July recruiting, a large majority inevitably found themselves in Chicago at one time or another. While there was a “somewhat large” tournament occurring in the city, the Nike Tournament of Champions, there was another highly regarded event as well. The 9th annual Blue Star Nationals went down in the Windy City utilizing the Quest Multisport, a venue that in the past has served host to the NBA combine as well as being the practice facility for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky and the McDonald’s All-American Games. Having most recently called Augusta, Georgia home, the move to Chicago was a plus for players, programs and recruiters alike.
In the end top honors went home to the Valley of the Sun as the Arizona Select claimed top honors behind a last second three point play in a back and forth game with Wisconsin Playground. The Select got strong play from Chavez, Caitlin Bickle and Brooke Demetre. While Chavez and Bickle are seniors the California based Demetre is just a rising freshman.
Across three days of play more than 200 coaches made their way to the Blue Star gym to both established and evolving prospects as well as a few making their first splash in the recruiting waters. With 48 teams coming from 20 different states and three countries, the talent was plentiful. To see a complete list of those teams and coaches in attendance as well as Pool All-Stars and results follow the link below to the post event page for the 2017 Blue Star Nationals.
All of the teams participating featured talent, so much so that it would be very simple to list at least one athlete from each team. However, this article will focus on players who haven’t committed to colleges yet and are perhaps not household names; not yet at least. That being said, a quick nod to the likes of Caitlin Bickle (Cave Creek, AZ), Taylor Chavez (Surprise, AZ), and Brittney Smith (Orlando, FL), three players who will likely be making their college decision in the near future. A quick aside is also appropriate to recognize the great play of college commits Alisa Fallon of Chicago Hoops Express (Army West Point), Kate Martin of Blue Star St. Louis (Iowa) and Mia Lakstigala of IL Lady Lightning (Penn).
As always, the players are listed in alphabetical order and in no way suggests ranking, college potential or any other status.
Megan Bauman- 2019- 5-8- Guard- (East Lyme, CT- RI Breakers 17 Nyzio)- Lefty guard who is shiftier than you expect…Has solid handles and does well in the open floor…Solid stroke and can hit the three…Gets into the paint and passes out to open teammates…Needs to get a little quicker laterally for her defense to improve…Getting more toned will help her with the physicality at the next level
Kylee Blacksten- 2020- 6-2- Wing/Forward- (Elbert, CO- Boulder Rockies USJN)- Long, lean and agile…Can affect shots defensively…Still a little raw but if she keeps developing her offensive game, she could be a really good stretch 4 at the next level
Kenzie Bowers- 2021- 5-10- Guard- (Kent City, MI- West Michigan Drive 15)- Doesn’t look the part…Plays with very little emotion on her face but gets the job done…Has a good stroke and can get hot from the perimeter…Isn’t afraid of taking contact when attacking the basket…Handle is OK but still needs some work…Solid passer…Keep an eye on her
Mya Blake- 2021- 5-4- Point Guard- (Stockton, CA- CA Soldiers 16)- Small and shifty point guard…Decent handles…Already has a solid floater game, a must for a smaller PG…Quick hands on defense
Jamiya Braxton- 2018- 5-7- Guard- (Mckinney, TX- Blue Star Dallas 17 Hopgood)- Shooter…Kid can really stroke it…Hit several threes with a hand in her face and the shot clock winding down…Active on defense…Needs to improve handle and finishing at the rim…A solid player who in the meantime keeps draining threes
Madison Conner- 2021- 5-10- Guard- (Chandler, AZ- AZ Select 15 Rising)- Two guard with solid handles, especially in the open court…Has a good stoke and arch on the shot…Has already added to her frame since last fall…Looks stronger and more ready for next level
Brooke Demetre- 2021- 6-2- Guard- (Foothill Ranch, CA- AZ Select 17 National)- Big time potential…Tall, strong guard with ability to score both outside and around the rim…Good ball handler…Strong enough to pass the ball nearly full court on a dime…One of the top guards in a loaded class
Angela Dugalic- 2020- 6-3- Post- (Des Plaines, IL- Chicago Hoops Express 16 Navy)- Very long…Has a lean body…Has the ability to defend multiple positions…Needs to get strong to be able to bang in the post with bigger players…Shot is OK but needs work…Keep an eye on her…Posesses the potential to be a very good player
Emily Engstler- 2018- 6-1- Wing- (New York, NY- New Heights 17 Blue Rosa)- Bigger wing player who could play the four in a smaller lineup…Good from the perimeter, both shooting and attacking…Quicker than expected…Can elevate over defense to get a good shot…Needs to work on lateral quickness to defend at the next level…When she’s on, she is tough to stop
Jaiden Galloway – 2018 – 5-6 – Point Guard – Aurora, Colo. – Boulder Rockies)- Athletic and attacking point…Pushes the ball at opportunity…Can get into the paint and create…Capable scorer or distributor…Demonstrated speed with and without the ball…Assertive and active on ball defender
Vannessa Garrelts- 2018- 5-6- Guard- (Spring Grove, IL- IL Elite 17 National)- Combo guard with a nice stroke…High IQ…Reads the floor well…Team succeeds when the ball is in her hands…Gets into the paint and makes good decisions
Alyssa Geary- 2018- 6-4- Forward/Center- (Elmhurst, IL- Lady Lightning 17 Platinum Martinez)- Thin stretch four player with range to the perimeter…Needs to get stronger to be a true five…Good rebounder who pursues the ball and meets it at its highest point…Moves well in open court
Tristan Gegg- 2018- 5-6- Guard- (Altamont, KS- Next Level Eclipse 17 Blue Star)- Solid build…Gets to the rim and finishes with both hands…Solid stroke and gets it off quickly…Just a solid player who finds a way to contribute
Gabrielle Hurst- 2019- 5-3- Guard- (Pearland, TX- Houston Skyrise 16 Flight Blue Star)- Tiny point guard…Gets defenders off their feet with a strong pump fake…Finishes at the rim…Still needs to get consistent from deep and make better decisions…Offensive game is trending in a way that her height shouldn’t be too much of a negative
Katelyn Levings- 2020- 6-3- Forward/Post- (Oklahoma City, OK- Swarm 17 Blue Star)- Finesse stretch four…Has the bility to finish at the rim…Is comfortable handling the ball a bit…Impressive vision for a non-guard…Long, nice body…Has a ton of potential
Taryn Mahoney- 2019- 5-10- Guard- (Singapore- Singapore Select 17)- Could turn into a decent player if the work ethic is there…Stroke is OK but the results are good…Can absolutely hit the three with consistency…Strong, good body…Needs to play with and against better competition to fully realize potential…Might be worth a flyer for some program
Emma Martin- 2020- 5-7- Guard- (Mountain Home, AR- Mavericks 15 Blue Star Martin)- Nice, young combo guard…Can get into the paint and make good passes out to open shooters…Nice stroke
Tamara Nard- 2019- 6-3- Center- (Chicago, IL- Chicago Hoops Express 16 Silver)- Has some flashes of brilliance in the post…Finishes with both hands…Showed a drive from the high post that involved a spin move…Finished the shot through contact for the and-1…Still has lapses, especially when tired or frustrated…Tons of potential
Tyrel O’Sullivan- 2018- 6-4- Center- (Singapore- Singapore Select 17)- The definition of a project player…Legit 6-4 with a skinny frame…Uses her length well on defense…Has good hands…Catches and rebounds the ball well…Works hard for post and rebound position…Would benefit from playing with better guards…Raw but could be a diamond in the rough
Kalyn Sias-Chaney- 2018- 5-3- Point Guard- (Milwaukee, WI- WBA Prestige 17 Elite)- Quick point guard who is little…Overcomes her lack of height with good range…Does a good job of creating space with both her handles and a solid step back…Finishes well at the rim
Alexis Starks- 2018- 6-1- Post- (Cincinnati, OH- Cincy Finest 17 Black)- Big body with a nice stroke…Needs to develop some quickness as well as strength due to her being an undersized post…Works hard…Does a nice job finishing around the rim
Carly Stroemel- 2019- 6-1- Post- (Voorhees, NJ- Philadelphia Belles 16 Gerson)- Strong, undersized post player…Finishes through contact…Form on jump shot looks good…Would be well served to add a consistent outside jumper to compliment her solid inside play…Does well in hi-lo play from both spots…Footwork in the paint is good…Works for rebounding position
Marisa Warren- 2019- 5-8- Guard- (O’Fallon, MO- Blue Star St. Louis 17 Lovette)- Lefty guard…Quick first step…Good passer with both hands, though sometimes she will make a passer more difficult than it needs to be…Plays with flare…Likes to make the “ohh” and “ahh” type of plays…Will contribute at the next level, especially if she picks her spots better to make the fancy plays
Skye Williams- 2018- 5-7- Point Guard- (Indianapolis, IN- The Family 16)- Thin, lefty point guard…Nice mid-range game…Has a good crossover…Able to get to the paint almost at will…Finishes athletically at the rim…Needs to add strength to hold off bigger guards…Going to be a steal for some college program