PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
SUWANEE, Ga. – Here at the Suwannee Sports Academy in suburban Atlanta, 64 teams fill the four elite brackets of the 2006 adidas Tournament of Champions. On Day One, it was Shay Selby, a young point guard from the Class of 2008, who turned heads.
Shay Selby of CBC/Next Level
Selby was the name buzzing throughout the facility as she is said to have had a solid showing in the U16 Showtime National Championship tournament and adidas Underclass Top Ten Camp showing earlier this week.
Selby looked outstanding in CBC/Next Level’s thrilling down-to-the-wire win over YES Baden Elite, which sports Georgia Tech commit Alex Montgomery. Selby used her quickness and great ball handling to carve up the defense and create offense for herself and her teammates. Her crossovers where lightening quick and she was able to find open players with ease when the defense collapsed.
When the defense adjusted to take to deter her penetration, Selby got her three-point stoke on and knocked down jumpers. She finished at the cup and when she didn’t she got to the free throw line to do her damage. Defensively, she used her quickness to bother the ball handler and is making an early argument to be considered the top point guard in the 2008 class.
Kiara Evans from Norcross, Ga., looked solid for FBC Georgia Blue in their first game of the tournament. The 5-foot-9 point guard from Berkmar High School is fast in the open court with the ball and makes good decisions at full speed with the ball. She makes the easy pass as well as dropping so no-look dimes to keep her teammates and the fans energized.
Drey Mingo of FBC
Anjale Barrett, a 5-9 combo guard from Bronx, N.Y., showed her smooth, graceful moves in a big Exodus NYC win. She moves almost effortlessly with and without the ball, even on her lefty jumper. She creates space but not the way the quicker guards do with a bunch of shoulder fakes and multiple crossovers, she just uses good deception moves and great balance to make things happen. It will be interesting to see her against an elite level defender as it appears she has another notch to turn it up to.
Sydney Smallbone, the 5-9 shooting guard from Granger, Ind., is most noted for her long range shooting exploits but showed more than that in a game where her jumper simply would not fall. The Tennessee commit handles the ball extremely well and loves to use a right to left behind-the-back dribble to change directions. She’s always moving and can get to the basket off the dribble at this level. She also passes the ball well and has a toughness about her that conveys she doesn’t care who is guarding her – she’s coming at them.
Andrea Mingo, a 6-2 forward from Atlanta, Ga., showed her combination of power, agility and athleticism to do a lot of things for FBC. Physically she can pound it out inside and she has good upper body strength and around the basket she uses that with her length to be very effective. She can overpower most high school forwards and those she can’t she can step out and shoot the jumper. She also runs the floor well for a kid her size. She looks like she can develop into a very good college player.
Nneka Ogwumike a 6-1 forward from Cypress, Texas, helped CyFair win their morning game. The most impressive attribute on the court is not her athleticism, which is notable in it of itself, but her hands. She is a good receiver and catches marginal passes. She made her living on the offensive glass where she used her long arms and leaping ability to snatch the rebounds out of the air and then used her exceptional touch around the basket to finish.
Shakeya Leary, a 6-3 combo forward who can play inside and out and looks great at the high post. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native handles the ball and moves extremely well for a player her size. She has strong wide shoulders, hits open jumper at the high post and she even hit a few threes in Exodus NYC’s runaway win Thursday morning.
Lily Svete, a 6-2 forward from Granger, Ind., is hard working player on both sides of the floor who uses her length, especially defensively. She mixes it up under the basket rebounding and perhaps the most shocking part about this tall youngster is her confidence in pulling the trigger from behind the three-point arc. She has legitimate range to the 19-20 feet.
Erin Helton, a 6-2 forward from Cookeville, Tenn., was making things happen for her Tennessee Team Pride squad Thursday night. She has great hands and caught passes that normally would end up bouncing off the end wall. She takes the ball to the basket strong and she tries to finish through the contact, not simply satisfied with drawing the foul. She also showed good mobility and a solid jumper out to about the foul line.
Gamer of the summer undoubtedly is Danielle Robinson, the elite point-guard prospect out of Archbishop Mitty in San Jose, Calif. She played in the championship game of the Cal Swish tournament near Los Angeles on Wednesday night, took a red-eye flight to Atlanta, was picked up by East Bay Xplosion coach Mark Anger at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday and played two games, the first of which was at 9:20 a.m. That is only one of the reasons, eight of the 10 Pac-10 coaching staffs were sitting on her games in Suwanee, Ga. … Christina Nzekwe, the 6-4 forward prospect out of Seattle, Wash., suffered an ankle sprain during a pickup game and is not with her Baden YES Elite team. Her absence is a disappointment to several West Coast college programs, from whom Nzekwe and her recruiting interests largely are a mystery.
Glenn Nelson contributed to this report
Nneka Ogwumike of Cy-Fair Shock
Erin Helton of Tennessee Team Pride
Chris Hansen is the National Director of Scouting for Women's Basketball at HoopGurlz.com and Scout.com. Chris leads the panel that evaluates and ranks girl's basketball prospects nationally for HoopGurlz, Scout.com and Full Court Press (www.FullCourt.com). Chris has been involved in the women’s basketball community since 1998 as a coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached
the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girls basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle
Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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TOC Watch - July 13
Our daily look at the top prospects, including elite 2008 point guard Shay Selby, among others.