SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.– The next thing in West Coast girls’ basketball took off this past weekend with the inaugural West Coast Sports Alliance (WCSA) Golden Gate Showcase at the City College of San Francisco before a packed house of fans and college coaches. The combination of two Nike Elite youth girl’s basketball programs along with five regional Blue Star Travel Team programs to form the WCSA gives this organization impact and geographical reach that has never happened outside of a shoe brand. The benefits of this alliance are more visibility for players, programs and collegiate opportunities.
Bringing together the Cal Sparks (Nike EYGBL), Fast (Nike EYGBL), BC United (BSTT), Northwest Magic (BSTT), Oakland Soldiers (BSTT), Golden City (BSTT) and the AZ Select (BSTT) covers the entire Western part of the US and Canada. It was a desire for more competition, more regional and national media coverage and more college coaches watching great games for enhanced player scholarships opportunities is what spearheaded this Alliance.
“It was great. So exciting to see this idea come to life,” said Golden City (CA) program director Armondo Pazos “Having a viewing event where you play teams you normally don’t get a chance to play was extremely exciting for my players and all the parents.”
All of these desired synergies and more where the hallmark of the first WCSA Golden Gate Showcase (operated by national event group USJN) with games running last Friday through Sunday at the spacious three-court City College of San Francisco. Teams were able to compete in front of many college coaches and national evaluators, more than most West Coast events being held the same weekend. Blue Star Media had four evaluators (all with D1 college coaching experience) and two photographers (BMS and EGBAA Media) covering the players and teams at this inaugural event.
“We needed to play competition like this to prepare for our national schedule versus EYBL competition,” said GEYBL Nike girl’s youth program director Lisa Griffith. “We were very impressed with the competition we faced!”
What the national evaluators and college coaches got to see is the cream of the crop from the five WCSA programs that participated in this year’s event. With age group competition ranging from 8th grade up to 11th grade it was an opportunity to see today’s and tomorrow stars play all in the same venue.
This is the first of four other WCSA events that will operate this travel team season. The next event will be this weekend’s USJN-WCSA California Classic (April 28-30) at Serra Catholic HS (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), Saddleback College (Mission Viego, Calif.) and Blizzard Sports Center (Lake Forest, Calif.) with almost 90 teams.
The next NCAA observation WCSA event will be the USJN Las Vegas Showcase (July 6-8) at the Tarkanian Center and other area facilities. The final WCSA co-sponsored event will be the USJN Summer Finale in Los Angeles in late July.
It was the full stands and number of attending college coaches who attended the first event WCSA event which made the group of elite girls’ basketball program directors happy.
“I think the future is bright,” said Northwest Magic (WA) program director Vanessa McClendon. “I am very excited and proud to be part of the Alliance.”
“The WCSA is only going to get bigger and stronger,” added Fast (OR) director Lisa Griffith. “The quality of the event was overwhelmingly positive. One location, college regulation courts, easy parking, great competition. This was a top notch start!”
Veteran coach and former Vandebilt standout Nettie Respondeck was on hand for Blue Star Media throughout the event and offers up some quickhitters on some performances that caught her eye.
Sarah Barcello – 5’11 – 2018 (CA Oakland Soldiers) – High level shooter from three point and midrange…Confident – never misses 2 in a row…Tough player…Can mix it up on both ends…Lacks foot speed to guard elite athletes but gives max effort…Takes charges and attacks the boards…Plays passing lanes well…High IQ
Jazeem Bethea – 5’8 2018 (OR Fast 17 Swoosh) – Impressive combo with PG handle and decision making ability…Creates shots for herself and others…Can get into the lane against most defenders…Next level pullup jumper and floater in the lane…Very right handed…Great bounce…Can rebound and go coast to coast
Caitlin Bickle – 6’2 2018 (AZ Select National) – Intimidating Physical Player on both ends…COMPETES AT ALL TIMES…Throws bodies around…Developing outside game…Shot 50% from the three point line often trailing the play…Reads defense well and puts the ball on floor from perimeter…Chase down shot blocker…Never gives up on a play
Essence Booker – 5’8 2018 (NV – JOI Select 17 Black) – Unflappable, controlled point with high IQ…Very solid handle under pressure…Court awareness…Pass first mentality…Misdirects with ball fakes…Gets into the lane for a college level pullup jumper…Three pointer is inconsistent…A push shooter…Takes charges and keeps people in front defensively
Taylor Chavez – 5’9 2018 (AZ Select National) – Special scorer…Can get a shot every time down the floor…Long range high level shooter…Wow factor worth the price of admission…Efficient player never expends excess energy…Deceptive athlete…Can leap with the best…Smart defender
Brooke Demetre – 6’2 2021 (AZ Select National) – Advanced Wing with unlimited potential…Incredible wingspan…Advanced IQ…Moves well without the ball…Skilled handle and passer…Sees a play ahead…Rebounds well in traffic with her length…Euro step…Scores with left and right hand…Possesses good pullup jumper in the paint…Inconsistent three point shot is overhead with slow release may need tweaking…Should be on everyone’s radar
Cierra Ellington – 6′ 2019 (OR Fast 17 EYBL) – Lefty…Athletic wing with length to guard at college level…Excels in transition…Slasher who attacks the rim in the halfcourt
Jess Finney – 5’9 2021 (AZ Select 15 Rising) – Long range shooter with moxie…Slower release but very accurate…Still developing physically and needs strength…Solid handles and passing ability…Good court presence and awareness…Nice upside
Belle Frazier 6′ 2019 (NW Magic 17 Blue Star) – Long wing…Good size…Three point touch…Attacks the boards…Competes on both ends…Gets deflections in passing lanes
Kalani Hayes – 6’1 2019 (OR Fast 17 EYBL) – Pac 12 body and athleticism…Flat out scores the ball with a next level pullup jumper…Competes on both ends…Relentless on boards…A winner…Very high upside
Monka Hickok – 5’11 2019 (OR Fast 17 EYBL) – Athlete…Can fly…Out of control at times…Scores around rim on drives and put-backs…Special offensive rebounder from perimeter…Almost impossible to box out…Attack mentality on offense…High level defender…Can guard multiple positions…Hesitant outside shooter
Jennah Isai – 5’10 2021 (AZ Select 15 Rising) – Attacking Playmaker…Can create shots for herself or others…Developed physically for her age…Advanced offensively using eurosteps and creative finishes around the rim…Can get out of control…Got frustrated at times showing her youth…Fun to watch…Has high level potential…Projects as a college combo
Kiara Jefferson – 5’9 2018 (CA Oakland Soldiers) – Elite athlete…Combo guard…Suffocating/ intimidating on-ball defender…Also plays passing lanes…Streaky three point shooter but has good form…High energy and very coachable…Unaware of how good she could be…Should be more selfish at times…Decision making at the point will take some time; Exciting in transition…A blur going coast to coast
Pichayapa (“Diary”) Khin – 5’6 2020 (CA Golden City 17) – Pure PG…Very high IQ…Makes the right choices…Sees a play ahead…Creative passer…Entertaining…Pushes the ball in transition…Above average three point effectiveness
Nia Lowery – 5’10 2019 (CA Oakland Soldiers) – Aggressive scorer in multiple ways…Gets better every game…Smooth pullup jumper from 15-18 feet…Impressive scorer in traffic using right and left hand…College ready build…Wants the ball…Plays hard on both ends…Great intensity
Tayler Lyday – 6’1 2019 (OR Fast 17 EYBL) – Thin muscular gliding athlete…High level on-ball defender and transition player…Terrific leaper…Attacks the glass…Hesitant outside shot, needs work…High energy…Covers a lot of ground quickly
Brynna Maxwell – 6′ 2019 (NW Magic 17 Blue Star) – Long wing…Skilled, smooth handle…Point forward…Quick release and smooth stroke from deep…Coachable with high IQ…Court awareness is there…Loves to play
Amaya Oliver – 6’2 2020 (NV – JOI Select 17 Black) – Small forward with great size…Huge upside…Scores in many ways…Unstoppable in transition with euro step…Great pullup jumper…Right and left handed finishes…High-level, tight spin move in the paint…Rebounds with post players…Will be unstoppable with more control and a small tweak on her three point shot
Lexie Pritchard – 5’10 2018 (OR Fast 17 EYBL) – Tough well-rounded combo…Solid handles under pressure…Good decision-maker…High motor…Leader…Pass first…Excels at the drive and kick…Good three point shooter…Gets into the lane…Challenged on defense by smaller, quicker players but can guard the 2 or 3 spot
Faith Shelton – 5’11 2021 (Cal Storm 14 Bay Area) – Top tier potential…Long wing…Scorer…Can finish with both hands around the rim…Great hands with skilled handles…Creative passer…Advanced for her age…Streaky three point shooter…Good form…Thin…Body still developing…Can play multiple positions
Madison Vick – 5’8 2018 (AZ Select National) – Tough, physical point with a high motor…Average athleticism made up for by max effort on both ends…Knockdown three point shooter…Compact release…Uses strong body well in the lane for pullup jumper or to finish with contact…Excels at drive and kick…Reads well coming off ball screens
OTHER PLAYERS OF NOTE:
Aliyah Alexander – 5-8 – 2020 – WA Northwest Magic16 Purple – Guard
Mya Blake – 5-4 – 2021 – CA Soldiers 16 – PG
Tianna Brown – 5-10 – 2017 – WA Northwest Magic 17 Blue Star – PG
Tiarra Brown – 5-10 – 2020 – WA Northwest Magic 17 Blue Star – Wing
Geriah Bradley – 5-6 – 2013 – CA Soldiers 17 Blue – PG
Analilia Cabuena – 5-11 – 2020 – CA Storm 14 Bay Area – Forward
Michaela Coates – 5-7 – 2018 – WA Northwest Magic 16 Purple – Guard
Ashalia Dawkins – 5-10 – 2020 – CA Southern Marin Heat 17 – Forward
Haidyn Ecker – 6-2 – 2018 – OR Fast 17 Swoosh – Forward
Yaniah Fleming – 5’7 – 2018 – CA Golden City 17 – Guard
Lisa Franck – 6-0 – 2018 – CA Southern Marin Heat 17 – Forward
Miyah Lewis-Hampton – 6-0 – 2018 – CA Golden City 17 – Forward
Hanna Harvey – 6-3 – 2021 – CA West Valley Ladies 15 Select – Post
Maddie Hill – 5-5 – 2018 – OR Fast 17 Swoosh – Guard
Charity Hines – 6-2 – 2021 – WA Northwest Magic 13 Blue Star – Forward
Erica James – 5-10 – 2018 – CA Cal Storm 16 Bay Area – Wing
Emily Jones – 5-8 – 2021 – CA Bulldawgs Basketball Club 17 – PG
Sage Kramer – 5-8 – 2022 – OR Fast 13 Jr Elite – Wing
Amria Lama – 5-7 – 2020 – CA Soldiers 16 – Wing
Esmeralda Morales – 5-4 – 2021 – WA Northwest Magic 17 Blue Star – PG
Katie Peneueta – 6-2 – 2022 – OR Fast 14 Flight – Forward
Danya Phillips – 5-7 – 2017 – CA Lathrop Thunder 17 – Guard
Arie Searcy – 5-9 – 2018 – CA Cal Storm 16 Bay Area – Wing
Chanel Stewart – 5-11 – 2018 – CA Soldiers 17 – Wing
Kaelin Williams-Kenn – 5-10 – 2017 – WA Northwest Magic 17 Platinum – Wing
Kayla Yasukawa – 6-1 – 2019 – CA Golden City 15 – Forward
Jada Yeater – 5-7 – 2022 – WA Northwest Magic 13 Blue Star – Guard
Aujae Yoakum – 5-11 – 2020 – OR Fast 14 Flight – Forward
Shaira Young – 5-6 – 2019 – NV JOI Select 16 White – Guard