As the staff at Old Gold Free Press has done for the past several years, we will be releasing a nearly complete list of player evaluations and comments from this year's Nike Girls All-American Camp. We sent three members of the staff (Capri, Sternvogel and myself) for the second year in a row. The Nike staff was telling players our site would be posting evaluations, so a little more pressure was put on to try and get more this year. As an early disclaimer: Please read the evaluations as analysis of performances at individual points in time. Even though three different people will contribute to the evaluations, it is possible for an all-american to have a bad camp. Never-the-less, we strive to point out positive aspects along with some obvious areas in need of work that would have improved the players' performances at this national camp.
Until the evaluations are released (sometime next week), I'll try to post some of the information gathered from the camp.
To ease Capri's mind, I had a nice conversation with Kristen Forristall explaining Capri's scouting report last year. I warned her she would probably win the "most likely to get lost on the court" award for a 2nd straight year. She now understands what that means. She took our comment last year negatively (and in retrospect, we did not make it clear what were trying to say), and used it as motivation to get better. What we should have said was she tends to lose her defender well, and moves extremely well without the ball.
Jodi Howell has been relayed information from the Purdue staff that Curry is after a 2004 shooting guard from Ohio, Howell's likely position in college. I do not think this will impact her decision. Most likely the shooting guard is Mel Thomas, or at least she should be.
Not sure where all the Samantha Mahoney and Purdue info is coming from, but it is unlikely there is much strong mutual interest. Georgia Tech was a common school on her list (Curry spent about an hour talking to a Georgia Tech assistant on Wednesday).
Sade Buley is still having grade issues, but someone has hired her a tutor and schools are still offering her even though her academic status is uncertain. Great player, much more controlled than what I remember of her from last summer.
I'm approaching expert status on southern California high school basketball, after talking with two socal people intimate with the scene. What I thought was a 101 class on the region, turned into a grad level course. To say Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood's father is disliked would be a gross understatement. The nastiness among girls basketball fans down there rivals the venom between IU and Purdue fans.
Kelly and Kristy hit the camp on Wednesday, while Merriweather was there with her father on Thursday. Kristy said she was fresh off the plane from the adidas camp and was looking forward to going home. Saw most of the major coaches and assistants at the camp, except for IU which had a very low profile. Not sure where Bennett was, but I thought I saw an IU assistant late Thursday. They need to take notes from the mens program on how to be the focus of attention at a Nike Camp. When I checked the coach sign-in on Thursday night, I did not see Bennett's name.
There were a handful of players at the camp that really didn't belong there. Mostly because of politics and favors. While I will not in any way point out girls I thought should not have been invited, I will say a better job could have been done filling in the 90 plus camp spots, minus the players that went south to the Adidas Top Ten Camp. More on that later.
Carolyn Peck is developing quite a cult following in Tennessee. Upon her visit to see a prospect play, I hear most of the town turned out to see her. She's after Shelbyville (TN) guard Ashleigh Newman, who is down to five with two strong frontrunners -- Florida and Maryland. Newman wants to study Pharmacy. According to her mother, there have been plenty of Purdue fans in Tennessee point out Purdue has a great Pharmacy program. Someone down there is helping Purdue's cause (academic info is not a violation of NCAA rules for boosters).
In talking with someone familiar with Ohio AAU, he was impressed with Katrina Merriweather's hiring by Purdue and thought she would be an excellent recruiter. Said she is the living definition of a people person.
Candace Parker was in attendance Thursday with her knee wrapped. Obviously has not gone under the knife but it will happen soon. Another Chicago area girl, Lindsay Wisdow-Hylton will be visiting very soon. if you want to form a mental picture of Caprice Smith, think Lindsay Hicks with a more polished back-to-the-basket game. Smith, IMHO, is not an ideal low post player. But neither is Hicks and look where she will be playing next year. Both Hicks and Smith are capable of that position.