Mia Singleton was one of the most prominent players in the DMV, playing her freshman year at Paul VI High School and Riverdale Baptist her sophomore year. Before her junior year Singleton’s mother was deployed to Afghanistan and the native Louisiana returned home to attend Bossier High School. Luckily for Maya, her Mom will be returning in September and she will be able to play her senior season in the DMV. At 6 feet she has a taut athletic build with wide shoulders that allow her to operate efficiently in the paint against taller players. She is incredibly explosive and can grab rebounds at the rim, but it’s her relentless pursuit of the ball that makes her a standout player. Singleton is a Rodman-like rebounder, not only does she get great position but she never backs down from contact, in fact she seems to thrive on it. As a senior there are signs of maturity, she is still a feisty competitor but her emotions are under control during the game. Her ability to handle the ball in traffic has improved, which make her even more of a scoring threat from the high post or short corner. Singleton, has not decided on a high school yet but wherever she decides to go will be fortunate to have her, even if it is only for a season.
With so much early attention on players who are barely out of middle school you wonder what happens to girls who enter high school as small scrawny freshmen hoping to just make junior varsity. 2013 Breanna Bolden, a 5-10 wing from Edgewater, Md. is a perfect example of a player who is blossoming into a legitimate college prospect later in her career. She is a natural athlete who plays with a ton of energy on both ends of the floor. Bolden can shoot from the beyond the arc with ease and slash to the basket creating her own shot. Her ability to grab rebounds and push the ball end-to-end in transition makes her tough defensive assignment because she is always on the move. Bolden looks like her body is still maturing physically with the possibility of another inch in height and the ability to add muscle weight. As a college prospect her best basketball is definitely in front of her.
The District of Columbia’s 2014 5-11 Mercedes Suarez is the perfect example of why summer basketball is such an essential eliminate of the college recruiting process. As the tallest player on her high school team she plays the post and any scoring comes for put backs off of offensive rebounds. However, with her summer club team, Team Sol, Suarez has the opportunity to play her college position and show college recruiters that she is a legitimate college prospect. She has the ability to score in bunches from just about anywhere on the court, in fact she had a game where she nailed six 3-pointers in a row. There are still some raw edges in her game but her upside is tremendous since she is just a natural at the sport. With another summer to polish her game, Mercedes may be one of the most pleasant surprises in her class.
Mid-Division I coaches searching for a quality post player need to keep an eye on 6-1 Makeba Ndifang (Mt. Airy, Md.), who was key in leading the MD Grizzlies to the Silver Division Championship. Ndifang was a nice arsenal of low post back-to-the-basket moves; she can execute her basic drop step move from either block. Defensively she blocks and alters many shots using her length and athleticism getting in the flight path of the ball. Ndifang has post fundamental that will translate well at the next level; she has the ability be a solid double-double player.
6-4 Casandra Ousler (Grand Island, N.Y.) was another post player who put in an impressive performance during the tournament. She is very mobile and deceptively athletic, running the floor in transition while keeping her hands ready for a pass. Rising senior Ousler is comfortable as a center, her skills are solid and she understands how to create scoring opportunities for herself or her teammates by setting picks in half-court sets. Defensively she is solid fundamentally, demonstrated by the way she gets defensive position before the offensive post has the ball. In the right college system, Ousler can be a strong post presence.
Although they don’t get as much attention as some of their high profile teammates, Philadelphia Belle Isis Thorpe andBWSL’sFeyonda Fitzgerald are two guards who continue to have impressive showings on the basketball court. 5-8 Thorpe is a jack-of-all trades type of perimeter player, who can come off the bench and energize her team. She is tough defender who gets plenty of steals and with her leaping ability she is one of the best rebounding guards in her class. Fitzgerald is a guard who is a standout jumper shooter with the ability to make shots from anywhere on the floor. She is a tough defensive assignment with her ability to stop and pop or create off the bounce. Fitzgerald is equally impressive on defense; she is not afraid take on the toughest assignment on the perimeter and she with plays defense with just as much energy as she brings on offense.