RALEIGH, N.C. — More than 400 club teams from all over the country (and world) invaded the Tar Heel state last weekend for the first NCAA Evaluation weekend and the 2017 Deep South Classic. If what we saw was any indication, there is plenty of great basketball ahead throughout the spring and summer. As always, there was an abundance of talent from the host state, it’s next door neighbors to the north and south, as well as the Sunshine State, the Peach State, and the Volunteer state.
The fundamental concept of summer basketball once upon a time was to provide a stage for the best players on the best teams in their cities to square off against each other to see who was the best. Time and time again this weekend, players were competing to win basketball games, and that is what it’s all about. Here are some of the standouts from this weekend’s action in Raleigh.
One of the most fun young teams to watch was the Central PA Dynamite. Featuring a roster made up of all 2020 prospects (plus one ’21), this is certainly a team with quite a following. It’s hard to pick just one, but one name that more and more people are coming to know is Allison Campbell, a 5-11 guard. It’s easy to like tall, long, skilled players who play hard and do the little things. Campbell can handle the ball at a high level and get to the basket often, especially in transition. Throw in a strong competitive nature that the entire team shares up and down the roster, it is easy to see why lots of eyes will be on this Dynamite squad all summer.
A dynamic post combo that is going to be a lot of fun to watch can be found on the Greensboro Lady Gators U16 squad in 6-5 Elissa Cunane and 6-4 Elizabeth Kitley. Cunane, a 2018 already committed to NC State, played very well this weekend. With her height and reach it’s easy for her to get to the basketball. She’s a strong, decisive player who can stretch it to the three point arc and hurt you inside. Her 2019 battery mate Kitley also continues to add to her game, especially in terms of athleticism. She’s moving better and better and showed a very mature, poised face up game. Her decision making and pinpoint passing in the high low game with Cunane really stood out.
Expect 2020 5-11 guard Aaliyah Forman to be a star for the Massachusetts Rivals program this summer. Forman has a big time look and feel to her game with the versatility to play the point as well with her standout ball handling prowess. She’s also a stand out on defense and is the type of competitor that doesn’t give up on a play. With so many years ahead of her she should be a blast to watch.
There’s some high-end athleticism suiting up in the FGB program this summer. If you like length, speed, and explosiveness, Team Courtney Williams has plenty to spare. With some very strong spurts this weekend the team’s lone 2020 prospect, 6’1 forward Caitlin McGee, established herself as one to watch. McGee showed off some elite hops and other athletic tools against quality older competition, which is always promising to see from younger players. There’s a lot of potential evident when you see players who can sprint to the rim, jump up and snatch the ball, and finish as she showed in flashes this weekend. She has a chance to be a force with a lot of ball ahead of her.
We first documented Houston Skyrise’s Truong twins last summer and, no news here, they are still so much fun to watch. Kayleigh and Kaylynne Truong continue to be do it all players, and feed off each other well. Both combo guards can shoot it, dribble it, and pass it with some flare. Both are also threats to knock down the three with a quick trigger, but also play unselfishly as they drive and set up their teammates for easy looks. Their reputation continues to grow and the twins continue to play the game the right way.
Keowa Walters is among many stand outs to see suiting up for Ontario’s Become One program. This 16U team has a lot of talent and at 6-3, the 2018 graduate is surely at the center of it all. Walters is very skilled and light on her feet. While she is built to bang inside and very effective at posting while demanding the ball, she also can handle and pull up like a guard. Strong, agile, vocal, and energetic we expect to see more big performances from her on the circuit.
The eldest Carolina Waves team certainly was playing at high tide all weekend. There are some elite level prospects on this team which fared well against strong competition. Among the top performers is 5-10, 2018 Wing Izabela Leite. Boasting a great combination of physical tools, including some long arms, speed, and overall strength, what really sets her apart from the competition is her elite body control and the way she harnesses and applies her tools. Leite was a handful on the drive splitting defenders and using her body to shield and finish. If defenders choose to go under those ball screens she is more than comfortable pulling up and draining the trey.
Maria Alvarez — 2019 – 5-7 – Point Guard – FGB Team Courtney Williams — Becoming more and more of a known commodity…Can play both the floor general role and the scoring role as well…Coachable and poised…Good push in transition and can set up the right option to cash in on transition lay ins
Jacee Busick — 2020 – 6-0 – Guard – NC Team Xpress – Long, lanky young guard…Handles the ball well with some pace…Combination of athleticism, competitive side, and ball skills…Shoots the three
Chaniya Clark – 2021 – 6-4 – Post – Florida Future Elite U15 – Huge young post…Does some nice things…Still just scratching the surface…Will excel with strength work…Plays with some intensity and excitement…Does the little things
Yvonne Ejim – 2020 — 6-1 – Forward – Become One U16 – Strong and long…15 foot range is there…Handles it well for a young forward…Knows how to use her length to get out in the passing lanes
Mackenzie Holmes – 2019 – 6-2 – Post – Maine Firecrackers – High effort…Fundamental big post…Can Well coached…Blue collar worker inside….Works for position and moves without the ball…Noticeable intangibles
Mya Jackson – 2019 – 5-7 – Point Guard – Angels Basketball Club (OH) – Quick young PG…Has some power in that lower half…Nice change of direction with the ball…Three ball looks great…Was productive
Kiara Johnson – 2018 – 6-2 – Post – NDO Elite Blue – Big post inside…Moves well…Gets low into a stance to guard as well as post…Has some moves but still room to add more….Needs to utilize her left more on the finish…Bright future
Alexis Leggett – 2018 – 6-3 – Forward – Team Slink – Raw athlete…Continues to pick up the basketball skills…Wing span is an eye catcher…Runs, jumps, and finishes…Expect her to change and block many shots…Should continue to get a lot better this summer
Aliyah Matharu – 2019 – 5-6 – Guard – Havoc City Sol Boogie – Defenders struggle with her on the drive…Gets low when she handles…Has nice hang time…Possesses a growing arsenal of finishes
Kiyomi McMiller – 2024 – 5-0 – Point Guard – OSA Sharpshooters U15 – Big time, well known ball handling skills…Plays with the body control and pace of a much older player…Skilled…Continues to play very hard against much older competition
Caranda Perea – 2020 – 6-2 – Post – Central PA Dynamite 2020 – Nice post prospect…Pick and roll scoring threat…Mobile defender…Nice, smooth 15 foot stroke on the move…Relentless player inside
Asia Smith — 2019 – 6-1 – Forward – Carolina All-Stars 2018 – Athlete…Plays with intensity…Fast and can really elevate…Sits down and seals inside…Rim runner…Boards her own misses and goes up again
Jaron Stallworth – 2018 – 6-0 – Guard/Forward – FBC Black 2018 – Physical, strong built player at the 3/4 spot…Handles the ball…Uses her body as shield from defenders…Can drive and use the up and under to finish…Will bring it up as well
Brianna Turnage – 2021 – 5-11 – Forward – FBC Mo Young Gunz U15 – Super long…Explosive hops already have her up slapping the backboard…Handles it in transition…Driving threat from the wing…Length lets her get hands on a lot of shots
Obalunanma Ugwu – 2018 – 6’0 – Forward – Carolina Waves 17U – Athletic forward…Can work out of the high and low posts…Likes to rip and drive to the rim…Does so catching on the move…Gets out in the passing lanes defensively
Carly Whiteside – 2019 – 6-2 – Post – Cape Cod Bulls U15 – Nice build in the post…Makes herself a big target…Knows how to score it once she has it…Demonstrates a big drop step…Boxes out…Passes well out of the post…Has three point range
Amari Young – 2018 – 5-11 – Guard/Forward – SC76ers Black U17 — High end athletic tools…Explosive on the boards…Elevates to finish…Lefty…Shoots the gap in the passing lanes…Needs to continue to utilize the right hand and develop her jumper…Lots of possibilities