This is the second set of player evaluations from the Best of the Midwest tournament held in Geneva, IL. Comments involve players from two Chicago area AAU teams -- Chicago Hoops Express II (16s) and Chicago Flame (17s+).
2006 Teah Gant (5'10 F, Chicago Hoops Express II) -- Another player that makes you "wow" with her versatile game. Listed by her coach as a forward, but she has serious guard skills. She will pick your pocket before you even begin to realize its happening. On Saturday against the Pacesetters, she went three-for-five in less than two minutes, all five attempts she created for herself off steals. She attacks on defense in the backcourt. Very active on offense and defense. Elusive on offense and can he can score in either direction.
2006 Kaitlin McInerney (6'2 PF, Chicago Hoops Express II) -- McInerney is a workhorse around the basket. Has a good nose for rebounding, and scores quite a few points off of garbage off the offensive boards. Rebounding really stuck out with her, but she also had a nice stroke on a spot-up three-pointer.
2007 Alison Jackson (5'11 F, Chicago Hoops Express II) -- A smooth and athletic forward with a soft pull-up jumper. You can tell a lot about the comfort zone of a player when they are put under pressure, and AJ looks to go inside. She has solid small forward skills at the moment, and if you look for a player who creates her own shot as defining that position, Jackson leans heavily to slashing toward the basket. She has two more years to hone her outside game, but now is highly skilled at slashing and finishing around the basket. Two players on CHEII this weekend, Jackson and Woods, will keep college coaches busy visiting Fenwick over the next couple of years.
2007 Samantha Woods (6'3 C, Chicago Hoops Express II) -- A player that would be interesting to see more of, especially considering this team leaned more toward guard play in the two games I witnessed. She has several things that bode well for her future at this age. She is active around the basket, and can not be confused with someone who waits for the game to come to her. She posts up aggressively and calls for the ball with those long arms. She also appears to have a sharp eye for her teammates on the in-and-out, and is a passing post.
2004 Candace Parker (6'4 F, Chicago Flame) -- What can I say about Parker that has not already been said a thousand times? Her father said the doctors cleared her to play, but to take it easy. Easy evidently meant not running the entire game, as she still atempted dunks, got down into low defensive stance, and generally did everything seen of her before the knee problem. I will say this -- Parker is physically different than any other player at the tournament. Her defensive stance engulfs players. Why the Flame needs to bring in ringers Parker and Reed I can't fathom, because the team really didn't need them. However, it was great to see both players.
2004 Charese "Tudy" Reed (5'11 F, Chicago Flame) -- The first player I saw when entering the gym during the tournament, and it was on a missed dunk attempt. Later, she took an alley-oop from Candace Parker during warmups and dunked on the third attempt, landing and giving her bench her best impression of a flexing Arnold Schwarzenegger. She has amazing springs, and her legs serve her well in the open court too. She didn't seem to be the scorer her abilities might tend to support, but ends up having a few ticks in almost every statistical column by the end of a game. A small forward who can run like a guard and dunk like a center. Some mentioned her as a guard, but her rebounding ability is so advanced I'd hate to see her spend too much time on the outside. Yet she will greatly pad team rebounding numbers collapsing from the outside and outjumping the competition.
2005 T.K. LaFleur (5'9 G, Chicago Flame) -- I was very interested in seeing this move-in from Texas, now playing in the Chicago area. Very quick feet and pushes the tempo. She is the queen of the floating jumper. Her vision is good and may border on the edge of being a flashy performer. Heard Baylor mentioned among three suitors, a list that will have her playing ball in the southwest somewhere.
2005 Danielle Campbell (6'4, Chicago Flame) -- I hate comparisons to other players because they are so problematic, but Campbell reminded me of Purdue's Camille Cooper when I saw her run the court. Her thin body is strong, and she posts up aggressively and calls for the ball. Her offensive moves are polished, and looked to be flawless shooting within ten feet.
2005 Stanecia Graham (6'1, Chicago Flame) -- A very good player and a load to handle in the low post. Despite her size, she has some good open court speed. Strongest aspect of her game is rebounding, and if she blocked out more consistently would get even more. Still, it is hard for opponents to get around her when she hasn't got them contained anyway. I can't put my finger on it, but something is missing from her game, and deserves a look later in the summer to see her progress once the teams begin playing multiple games through the week and weekends. May be an early season conditioning issue. The Flame is a very athletic team. Needs some work on her freethrows.
2005 Lindsay Schrader (6'0, Chicago Flame) -- How many stars can you fit on one team? One more to the mix is Schrader, who made a case for one of the most complete players on the floor this weekend. She has fire in her belly, can go one-on-one with a great degree of success, and attacks the basket and finishes. Has some unbelievable scoring outbursts that works to change the defense to react to her. Saw her attack the sides of the lane from both sidelines, and can read the defense well enough to slash at full speed through the lane and not get bogged down by the help defense. Her grandmother seemed especially happy about her decision to go to Notre Dame, a school she visited four times before deciding to commit. While other schools were considered, Notre Dame was a focus for her attention. And they have a good player in Schrader.