PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
Click Here for Blue Star Photo Gallery
LAS VEGAS - These events usually are dominated by the guards. They control the ball and take most of the shots. They want to show off their handle, their ability to create, their jumpers, but post entry passes don’t really seem to be a priority. However, last weekend at the McDermott Center at UNLV it was not a story of the guards dominating the ball, but two bigs dominating the paint.
Kayla Pedersen, a Scout.com / Full Court Press All-American for the 2007 class and Kelsey Bone, a rising star from the class of 2009, were placed on the same team and they proved to be the most dominating duo on any team. Pedersen is ridiculously skilled for someone 6-foot-4. She’s smooth once she catches the ball and she can finish with her seemingly effortless turnaround jumper. Bone, on the other hand, uses raw power to dominate all those in her path.
Bone, from Dulles, Texas, has soft hands and uses her size against smaller opponents. She shows great balance and athleticism for a player her size and age. She shows very good coordination giving her the ability to develop into more than just a big post.
Not only were Bone and Pedersen on the same team, they also had a very solid point guard in Erica Helms, a 5-foot-6 junior from Antioch, Calif. She is a very smooth player who always has her eyes up the court. In this setting she had enough ballhandling ability to get into the paint as well as the passing skills to find her two big targets inside. She listed six colleges of interest heading into the camp – Arizona, Boston College, Maryland, Northwestern, Oregon State and Vanderbilt. She will be playing her junior season at Deer Valley High School, transferring from St. Mary’s, where she averaged 12.3 points and 4.5 assists per game playing alongside Jacki Gemelos. This event didn’t showcase a lot of pressure defense, with which she struggled at times this summer playing for the West Coast Elite.
Speaking of ballhandling, Sarah Morton, a 5-8 point guard from Monroe, Wash., looked very good in Las Vegas. She uses change of speed moves as well as anyone and her quickness and length make up for her lacking strength. She was 5-3 two years ago so she’s hoping to add that strength once she stops growing. She has had the pleasure of playing along with some great talent the past few years. Her sophomore season she played with McDonald’s All-American and current Arizona State freshman Kirsten Thompson. She followed that up this summer by playing for the Spokane Stars Elite which just so happen to have a Scout.com/FCP All-American and potential McDonald’s All-American in Angie Bjorklund. The test for her will come this winter when she’ll be asked to be a regular scoring threat and a primary scoring option for her high school team. The schools recruiting her the hardest are Washington, Stanford, Oregon and Gonzaga with the U.W. and Zags already offering her a scholarship.
Another player getting heavy attention from the Pac-10, and showing she deserved it in Las Vegas, was 5-11 guard Carissa McGee. The Las Cruces, N.M., native has tremendous length and athleticism. She plays about three inches taller and fifteen pounds heavier than she is with her energy and her length. She handles the ball pretty well and finishes at the basket. She needs to add three point range but does all the little things coaches love. Her list of suitors to date include Arizona State, California, Oregon State, Texas Tech and UNLV.
It almost goes without saying that Italee Lucas has game. The North Carolina commit showed off her talents as well on Saturday. When she gets focused on it she can score at will. She comes out of her shake moves always on balance which makes up for her lack of size. She truly is an exceptional talent. If she learns the game and how to run a team from the point guard position the sky is the limit because the fact is she is simply more talented than most anyone out there.
Upperclassman All-Stars (2006 & 2007)
Kelsey Bone (2009)
Kayla Pedersen DNP
Amanda Jane Smith
Underclass All Star Teams (Class of 2008 and younger)