Fouled on a game tying three point attempt, the Connecticut signee made the first two but missed the third. Full Court breaks down events surrounding the game from Miami this week.
Kelsey Bone to South Carolina
Kelsey Bone made her commitment to the University of South Carolina.at the first timeout in the first half. Bone will play alongside Monique Willis (Savannah (GA) Beach) and Ieasia Walker (Copiague NY) next year and the combination of these three players may make the Gamecocks good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament in 2010. Aside from the commitment, Bone was gracious in the press conference where she talked about her decision to commit on television. Bone discussed about how the organizers of the McDonald’s All American game asked if she would like to commit on television and she explain that she decided to do so because of the significance of the game from a basketball standpoint and charity that the game stands for. Bone said she was honored to be asked to commit at the game. Bone’s decision came down to South Carolina and Texas A&M (where her mother wanted her to go). In the end, Kelsey won out. Bone’s maturity to understand the significance of the McDonald’s game as a major event in the basketball world but also a major charity event sponsored by McDonald’s, showed true class throughout the process and what type of representative she will be for the sport. In the big picture, Bone is one of the few players not to attend one of the traditional women's basketball power schools when ranked as the #1 player in the country. Bone’s pick of South Carolina brings more power to the SEC but puts more pressure on their top teams, which are used to dominating when they come to Columbia, for many years a place to get a fairly easy win. One thing everyone agrees on is that there is not enough parity in women’s basketball. Bone going to South Carolina tilts the scale in that direction for once.
Others Who Will Give Immediate Help
Even though she has still been plagued by a nagging shoulder injury, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (TC Williams, Alexandria, VA) will be an instant impact player at North Carolina next fall. Ruffin-Pratt’s ability to get to the basket, rebound and defend could return the Tar Heels to the top of the ACC next season. Skylar Diggins (South Bend (IN) Washington/ Notre Dame) is the best guard in the class of 2009. Diggins's ability to score, pass, and defend puts her in a different league than nearly every guard in the class. Look for Diggins to play the shooting guard at Notre Dame next year and it could be a sweet year if Skylar could lead them to the round of 16. Dara Taylor will likely start at the point guard position next season for Maryland in replacing All American Kristi Toliver. Taylor did not have a great game, but was very impressive in practice, defending and shutting down nearly every guard in the game. Cokie Reed’s size along with Ashley Gayle will make the Longhorns a tough match-up in the Big 12 next season. Reed is very athletic and the college conditioning and strength training will make her a player who is tough to stop from the beginning of her freshman year.
As you may already know, Diggins and Ruffin-Pratt were named Co-MVP’s for the game.
Just as first reported here on Full Court, Brittney Griner, the 6’8’’ dunking sensation, did not show up to this year’s McDonald’s game. After talk back and forth between the Aldine Independent School District and Griner’s family, the biggest losers in the end were Griner and the fans of women’s basketball. Griner was hyped to be the greatest player since Candace Parker and she was unable to represent women’s basketball in this game and charity event. This year’s All American Game’s competitiveness, humanity, and level of talent justify the selection committee and process which has been heavily scrutinized this year. The players all exhibited extreme class on and off the floor for the duration of the event. The event is very media friendly and is more then just an All American game. The first class treatment of players prepares them for their future in college and if they are lucky enough, life on the professional level as well. Many of the committee members were on hand to talk about the process of the selections and how the teams are put together. Any type of insinuation that the game has any type of block voting or political ties to club teams is a sad attempt to smear the game. One would have issue with finding any contempt for this year’s game as it turned out to be one of the all-time best.
Those in attendance comprised a who’s who of people in the high school game. Kim Davis and Kelvin Powell (Essence/ESPN Hoopgurlz), Brandon Clay (Peach State Hoops), Mike Flynn (Blue Star), Kevin Lynch (Philly Belles), Adam Hopkins (Parkway Academy), Pat Riley (Miami Heat), and Boo Williams (founder of the longtime prestigious invitational that bears his name) were all in Miami at some point during the week.
I had the opportunity to check out the facilities at the University of Miami and found them to be first class. Although the game did not utilize their practice facility, that is state of the art and one of the top of its kind that I have seen in the country.