CHICAGOLAND, Ill. – Travel teams from seven states descended on Chicagoland to participate in USJN’s Summer Final. For me and a multitude of college coaches this was the last day of the summer evaluation period for us to gage, evaluate and look at college prospects. We had the opportunity to see a wide range of talented young ladies. The following players made my Summer Final Sensational Six:
Tori McCoy Central Illinois Storm Champaign, Illinois: Dr. Albert Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity which tells us about many things, including what would happen to our view of the world if we could travel very fast. If I were a scientist and had the notion to assemble the perfect “Big” I would use 6-3 Tori McCoy as my model. McCoy is long athletic with a really smooth up and under move in the low post as well as a nice spin move that creates space allowing her to get her shot off in traffic. McCoy has a nice face up game she showed the ability to consistently attack off the dribble as well as going coast to coast with defensive rebounds and finishing at the rim. McCoy appeared to be just as comfortable on the wing handling the rock and dropping dimes with either hand. McCoy rebounded extremely well at both ends and ran the floor like a guard. Defensively, McCoy a natural shot blocker can defend on the perimeter or in the low post. McCoy has the ability to play multiple positions and she plays with a maturity well beyond her age. McCoy is still a work in progress she needs to add strength and a 3pt shot. Although McCoy wasn’t his creation, I’m sure Dr. Einstein would agree that watching McCoy’s game evolve is all relative. With McCoy’s continued skill development she has a chance to be in the top echelon of her class.
Brittany Ward Midwest Elite 17 Indianapolis, Indiana: Brittany Ward has the prototypical college body for a forward. She is smooth and extremely athletic with the ability to handle the rock like a guard. She is a good passer with great court vision and she runs the floor very well. The forward loves to get out in front of the fast break where she finishes at the rim while absorbing contact with her solid frame. Ward really attacks the glass and has the ability to dominate the boards at both ends. She also has a nice jumper with range out to 17 feet and does a good job attacking her opponent off the bounce. Ward communicates well with teammates at both ends of the floor and is a solid defender. All the above attributes had several college scouts salivating watching Ward play. She must continue to develop her game to be BCS caliber prospect.
Faith Suggs Dream Team 17 Plainfield, Illinois: Faith Suggs a 6-1 athletic forward played a solid all around game. Suggs likes to attack off the dribble with either hand looking to create contact and finish in traffic. She also showed the willingness to manufacturer her shot by attacking off the bounce as well as consistently draining the spot up jumper. Suggs used her long arms to rebound well at both ends of the floor. Suggs’s long athletic frame and quickness helped her play solid defensively. Suggs played aggressive at both end of the court and has a knack for being around the ball. Suggs needs to add strength and continue to develop her 3pt shot. Suggs has a tremendous upside.
Adrianna Murphy Midwest Elite 17 Platinum Fishers, Indiana: Every coach worldwide loves a player that competes on every play and is fundamentally sound, defends well and can flat out shoot. Adrianna Murphy a 5-2 cat quick point guard brings all of these things to the table. Murphy showed the ability to knock down the midrange jumper and was be a sniper from behind the arc. Murphy displayed that she can run the point with the best of them. She handles the ball well with either hand and is a very good passer with blazing speed. Murphy showed that she is a solid on ball defender with sound defensive principals. Murphy is not flashy but she gets the job done. Keep your eyes on this young playmaker.
Katherine Strong Wolverines 16 Elite Chicago Heights, Illinois: A 6-0 smooth point guard Katherine Strong played extremely well. Strong had her entire repertoire on display. Strong used her killer crossover coupled with her explosive first step to attack the paint looking to score or dish to slashing teammates. Strong pushes the ball up the floor and finish off the break weaving in and out of traffic handling the rock equally with both hands. Strong also showed that she can consistently stroke the midrange jumper but needs to continue to work on her 3 point stroke. Strong showed the ability to translate her speed and athleticism to pay great dividends on the defensive end forcing turnovers and cashing in on the other end. Strong is a definite mid to high major prospect.
Mandy Traversa Lady Lightning 17 Gold Winfield, Illinois: The one commodity that everyone is looking for is a shooter; well I suggest you look at 6-0 Mandy Traversa. Traversa literally put on a shooting exhibition; she knocked down eight 3 pointers from every angle imaginable. Traversa stroked several midrange spot up jumpers as well as a few pull up jumpers. Traversa was arguably the best shooter at the Summer Final. She has a quick release and an even faster trigger. A tough physical blue collar prospect will help a low to mid program.
Prentice Beverly is a National Evaluator for Blue Star Media and the owner of Balln Prep Girls. He also works for Girl Powher Showcases, Schollyme.com and is the Author of “Navigating the Maze” a grassroots reference guide to women’s college basketball recruiting. Beverly has spent 15 years coaching high school and club basketball and resides in Montgomery, Alabama.