MERRIVILLE, Ind. – Close to 100 teams from eleven states gathered in Merriville, Ind. to take part in the Adidas Hoosier Hardwood Championships here are just a few of the many talented young ladies that caught my eye.
Alexandria Harris 6-3 Adidas TNBA West U16 (Lorain, OH): Alexandria Harris, a 6 foot 3 post, was explosive in the paint, dominating on the boards, and used her above average leaping ability to finish at the rim. Harris also showed the capacity to put the ball on the floor and attack off the dribble. She did a good job hitting and cutters creating easy buckets for her teammates. Harris has a college ready body that with her size and athleticism showed flashes of being a dominating presence at both ends of the court. She also has the ability to defend multiple positions. The sky is the limit. She needs to continue to develop her low post game and be more assertive at both ends. Harris has the potential to be a solid BCS prospect.
Brittney McNamara 5-9 Adidas TNBA West U16 (Avon, OH): There are two things that all college coaches crave. One is a quality post player and the other is a shooter. Brittney McNamara fills the later void in anybody’s book. The 5-9 guard is a sniper from behind the arc and also has a deadly midrange game. She displayed a high basketball IQ, which isn’t surprising since her father is the coach. You can only imagine the late night film sessions. In the second half McNamara used that high IQ to dissect the defense shot after shot while draining buckets from all over the court. McNamara is the typical coach’s daughter she should be a good fit for a low to mid major program.
Tyra Buss 5-8 Indiana Elite Swish U17 (Mt. Carmel, Ill.): The name Buss is very well known in Los Angeles, courtesy of LA Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss. I'm not sure if Tyra Buss is related to the Lakers owner, but this small town girl definitely has a big time game. For the old school fans her game is like Mr. NBA logo himself Laker Hall of Famer Jerry West and for the fans of the more modern game future Hall of Famer Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns might be a good comparison. Buss is a sharp shooter from beyond the three point arc. At the same time she dropped several dimes, a couple of which were of the no look variety and she handled the rock like it was a part of her hand. Buss is definitely a pass first scoring point guard yet she scores when it's needed. Whatever the situation calls for, she can deliver. She is tough as nails and fearless when it comes to attacking the paint and shows the ability to finish with either hand and contact. Buss must add strength to her otherwise well rounded game which could give her a legitimate chance to be considered among the best in her class.
Tayler Miller 5-10 St. Louis Team Adidas U15 (St. Louis, MO): Tayler Miller has the college body and skill set that most college coaches covet. The 5-10 combo guard has the ability to play three positions at the next level. Miller showed that she can run the point, has excellent command of her dribble and great court vision which leads to some precision passes. She also played well at the shooting guard knocking down several midrange jumpers. Miller also has the ability to make the big plays. With the ball in her hands, she has a sweet crossover and spin move to break down her opponent. She even demonstrated that she can play with her back to the basket. Miller is a solid on ball defender but needs to be more assertive on offense. The body and tools are there to be a BCS recruit. Definitely worth keeping your eye on.
Brittany Ward 6-0 Indiana Elite Patberg U14 (Indianapolis, IN): Brittany Ward has the prototypical college body for a forward. Ward 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 runs the floor very well. Ward loves to get out in front of the fast break and finished at the rim several times while absorbing contact with her solid frame. Ward really attacks the glass and has the ability to dominate the boards at both ends. There’s also has a nice jumper with range out to 17 feet in place. She is a solid defender and not afraid to mix things up with opponents. All the above attributes had several college scouts salivating while watching Ward play. She must continue to develop her game I expect her to be a can't miss BCS caliber prospect.
Ali Patberg 5-10 Indiana Elite Patberg U14 (Columbus, IN): If you’re in the market for a tough, scrappy big guard with a high basketball IQ look no further than Ali Patberg. This 5-10 guard is as tough as they come she isn’t afraid to dive on the floor for loose balls. She loves to attack the paint with reckless abandon looking to create contact and finish at the rim. There’s a nice pull up jumper in place as well as smooth three point stroke that she can call upon. She runs the floor very well and she has great court vision dishing out multiple assists to teammates. Patberg plays defense with the intensity that's rarely displayed at the high school level. This hardnosed guard is a coach’s dream and she’ll almost certainly make some BCS coach very happy.
Tori McCoy 6-3 Central Illinois Storm U16 (Champaign, IL): As a scout I'm always looking for the Real McCoy. I may have finally lucked up and found it in Tori McCoy. While talking to former WNBA player and current Notre Dame Assistant Niele Ivey, the athletically built 6-3 Tori freshman to be walked by and passed the eyeball test with flying colors. I immediately searched the coach’s book to see who she was and when she was scheduled to play. McCoy runs the floor extremely well, is a beast on the boards and can be a dominating defensive presence in the paint. While currently very raw offensively she still has the knack for scoring in the paint. Her game is similar to recent Notre Dame and WNBA draft pick Devereaux Peters. With continued development has a chance to be a special player and the Real Tori McCoy.
Aliyah Walker 5-10 Indiana Elite-Central U14 (Indianapolis, IN): Aliyah Walker is a silky smooth athletic guard with the ability to play both the wing or down on the block. Walker likes to attack the paint and almost enjoys finishing with contact. She has a nice midrange game as well that keeps defenders honest. Her long arms and college ready body makes her a solid defender as well as a strong rebounding guard. Walker must continue to develop her offensive skill sets to reach her which looks now to now to be in the high mid major range…or more.
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.
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