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Catching Up - USJN in Colorado and Missouri

USJN’s Rocky Mountain Challenge

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--USJN’s Rocky Mountain Challenge supplied some extra entertainment for those that wanted a break from the USA Basketball U16 tryouts at the United States Olympic Training Center last month.  Held on Colorado College’s campus a few legitimate Top 300 players were on hand, as well as some future prospects worth following down the road.

To see the complete post event page (results/pool all-stars/colleges that attended) for USJN’s Rocky Mountain Challenge – Click Here


Three Rising Seniors

Bailey Cotton has great length playing on the perimeter and at the #4 spot on the offensive end.  She is such a strong competitor for the Colorado Rockies 17’s, but sometimes will let those emotions take her out of her game.  This 2014 already has many college options and Blue Star has her around 250th in the country heading in to the summer evaluation period. 

Sleek & steady probably best describes Justine Hall, also of the Rockies.  She keeps the pulse of the team going with her constant energy.  It will be important for her to take a more vocal lead on the floor, but her actions do plenty of the speaking for the time being.

While I never had the opportunity to watch Jordan Molyneaux in the high school setting our evaluators tell me she plays with great heart and passion.  Sometimes the club setting sets players up to lose some of their competitive edge because of the number of games they compete in.  From personal experience and observation, true competitors don’t care if they are playing tiddlywinks.  They want to win at all costs at all they do and they have that approach all of the time.  In the games I saw this standout for the Colorado Hoopsters was simply going through the motions at times.  How would she know that two McDonald’s All-American Committee members were watching her on a side court in Colorado Springs in a 20 plus team event?  (Hint to young players – You never know who’s watching – Don’t ever play with less than your best effort) None the less it’s obvious why BCS schools are very interested in this player.  While normally considered a top 100 prospect her performance was more that of a 200 – 250 range player.  The interest is already there but Molyneaux has an important summer in front of her. 

Team Thoughts

Normally we talk about particular players, but one of the fun parts in evaluation is finding young teams that play with great chemistry.  It’s even more fun when their roster is full of future prospects at various levels.  If your freshman and sophomore years are about potential and junior and senior campaigns about productivity, then you have to say the Colorado Prime Time 13’s are looking good for some future productivity.  Gabrielle O’Connor’s confidence with the basketball in her hand, smooth pull up jumper, and solid outside jumper put her on track to be a mid to major level Division I prospect.  Jade Owens has solid vision and a good handle running the point plus is a catch and shoot three point threat.  She has a solid chance to be a mid to major level prospect.  Spencer Lindsey (pictured above) doesn’t force you to wonder what’s on her mind as she wears her emotions on her sleeve from opening tip to final horn.  If she can dial in some of that competitiveness and focus it in the right direction there’s has a bright future ahead of her.  Her confidence at this age should carry to some level of division I down the road.  However, just how high will depend on the work she puts in and how her body continues to develop athletically. Posts are always fun to evaluate at this age.  Currently 5-10, Courtney Stanton will need to develop her guard skills to secure her status as a D-I prospect should she not grow any more.  The potential for a few more inches appears to be there and it will be interesting to see what she does with it.

USJN’s 8th Annual Battle at the Border

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-- USJN’s 8th Annual Battle at the Border in Kansas City was yet another great compilation of Mountain and Midwest regional teams coming together on 14 courts in front of over 50 college coaches and national scouting services earlier this month.

To see the complete post event page (results/pool all-stars/colleges that attended) for USJN’s 8th Annual Battle at the Border – Click Here


No player’s name is less reflective of her teams name than Clare Thomas of the Lady Ball Hoggs Elite 15’s.  The 2015 guard is a competitor that controls her team’s tempo, has nice vision and passing skills but can score it herself when needed as well.  A physically strong build goes with those skills and makes her a slightly hidden gem for programs outside the area to check out.

Most evaluators will spend their time watching the older prospects but Naomi Hickman is a 2017 worth plenty of attention.  Possessing size, length, hands and the ability to run the floor at 6-3, the future is limitless for this member of the talent laden Missouri Valley Eclipse program.  The top 100 is a very real possibility depending on how she continues to build her game.

Another even younger prospect on the deep roster of the Eclipse is 2018 Tristan Gregg.  Calling her a shooter is an understatement and she loves to let it fly.  And rightfully so, she can fill it up and make the process look effortless.  A quick release makes her a challenge to defend and Gregg plays with a passion at both ends of the floor.  All the tools are there to put her on the top 100 radar.

Thoughts on a Team

The Missouri Supreme 12 Red team has a roster featuring at least 9 players worth keeping an eye on and that doesn’t even include one who wasn’t there.  Their progress will be something to watch both as a team and individually.  Their point guard, 2018 Tiana Gipson, may not have a lot of size but more than makes up for it playing with explosiveness and a willingness to play physical defense.  On the wing or at the small forward Aiyana Johnson is an evolving player sure to be heard from in the future.  The ballhandling is there to handle it in the open court and will need to become a weapon in creating her own shot in the halfcourt as well.  Three point range is already in place and she has a strong athletic build at 6-0.  Watch Johnson closely.  Another 2018, Amanya Adams, has plenty of length already and is likely to add some more size down the line.  She’s court savvy already and could evolve mid to major prospect.  It’s up to her.

Chris Mennig

Chris Mennig is the National Evaluator for Blue Star Basketball, & Event Coordinator for US Junior Nationals. Mennig was a women's college basketball assistant coach/recruiter for over 10 years and has been on the side lines for twenty years, with stops at Bryant College, Brown, St. Bonaventure, Illinois State, University of Illinois, and Arizona State University. Presently a member of the McDonald's All-American committee, he has lectured at various recruiting clinics as well as at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Convention.

Website: www.bluestarbb.com/bluestarconsultants_mennig.php Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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