CHICAGOLAND, Ill. – USJN offers the most reputable and extensive roster of girls grassroots basketball events in both NCAA certified and non-certified calendars. The RecPlex and Trinity International were the game sites for last week’s second annual USJN Great Plains Qualifier. There were 38 teams and over 500 players on hand representing four different states on at this young and quickly growing event.
Post Event page can be found at - http://www.usjn.com/xtm_post_event_new.php?which=187
Here are just a few of the prospects that stood out over the two day event.
Mackenzie Wolf (WI Lakers 17/Sheboygan North), a post player from Kohler, WI, is a physical presence inside but also showed that she could knock down the free throw line jumper when left open. At 6-3, she has good size plus a college type body. Wolf proved that she’s just not a rebound and outlet post player by demonstrating the ability to start the break herself off the dribble.
If you’re looking for a heady point guard to take control of the team when needed by distributing the ball to open teammates then take a look at McKaela Schmelzer (IL Rockford Wildcats/Harlem HS). The 5-8 floor general can also by put the team on her back by scoring herself when needed. There’s not a lot of flash in her game, but she just gets the job done. Physically there’s good size and strength, so Schmelzer should be able to move over to wing if needed at the next level.
If you haven’t heard of Sidney Cooks (WI ABC Knights 17/St. Joseph Catholic) of Kenosha, WI, just wait and you will. Long and lanky at 6-4, the young post can run the floor, block shots and step out and knock down an occasional 17 footer. Though, still not a polished product, the possibilities are obvious and seem to be keeping everyone intrigued as to just how good she can ultimately be. Her low post game will need to develop but that should come along as she physically matures.
Chrislyn Carr (IA Showtime 14) of Davenport, IA was a crowd favorite at the event. At times the 5-3 speedster was a one person press breaker. Additionally, in the half court she seemed to be able to break defenses down and get to basket at will. Whether the situation called for setting up her teammates options or looking for her own opportunities, Carr stepped up. She showed a good mid-range jumper of her own and knocked down numerous 3’s throughout the course of the event.
One smooth and slender guard that played well throughout the tournament was 5-8 Caylin Rufus (IL United 13/York Community HS). She showed a multitude of skills for a player of her young age. She has a great stroke from behind the three point line and also can create options off of the dribble. When teams tried to take away her perimeter shot, Rufus used her quickness and ballhandling to attack the rim. Expect great things from this young lady in the future.
Versatile players that have the size and strength to post up inside but still can use their sweet stroke to knock down 3’s are a rare commodity. Breanna Beal (IA Showtime 14) just happens to be one of those hard to find prospects. Despite her youth, she already measures 6-0, however I still look for her to be more of a wing player at the next two levels of her career.
Martin Clapp comes to Blue Star with over 30 years of coaching experience in women’s basketball. Most recently he served eight years on the sidelines at Purdue University in one of the nation’s premier programs. Prior to his time with the Boilermakers, he spent 14 seasons as the head coach at the University of Louisville where he helped guide them to six NCAA tournament berths and earned 2001 conference Coach of the Year honors. Prior to taking over the helm for the Cardinals, Clapp spent time at the professional level (NWBL) as well as collegiately at Arkansas College, Arkansas Little-Rock, and his alma mater Murray State.