© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
This was the first camp I’ve attended so the comments need to be tempered with that in mind. There was a WIDE variety of talent at the junior and senior high school level from various parts of the country (about 55 from Colorado through the Midwest to up and down the East Coast). The first day (July 21) focused on fundamentals; e.g., passing, dribbling, footwork, ball handling in sets, etc. The second day saw the group split into position groups; e.g., post play, fast break drill, etc. Then the groups were combined and organized into teams for clock running half court games. At the end of the day teams played full court games. Because of apparent conflicts with AAU or other tournaments in the area, about one-third of the participants started disappearing through the half court games in the afternoon. By the time the full court games were on the schedule the remaining participants were worn out and the full courts turned into garbage time, in my view. Of course, a lack of team practice, offensive sets, and the natural desire to “show” had a lot to do with that.
Because of the seating restrictions during the morning, I was best positioned to watch the post play instruction, which is probably what I would have chosen to watch as a priority anyway. As a consequence, I have a better feel for the capabilities of the post players than others, who may be talented, but got swept up in the garbage time game environment.
To get to the punch line first, several participants showed (me) that they are certainly worth a look for college (Big Ten level) play. Those that I would look at first for building a team would include:
Ashley Cimino (2007, 6'4 post player, Catherine McAuley HS, ME) - She has excellent footwork, sound fundamentals, and has upside potential. She has, however, a bothersome side arm-like hook shot that doesn’t use her height to advantage. I did not see Erin Lawless at this age, but I suspect that Ashley may have a resemblance.
Bianca Brown (2007, 5'7 guard, Detroit Renaissance HS, MI) - She struck me as the best ball handler in the group. She is also a great driver and can shoot effectively (quickly, accurately) from the outside. (I hope I have the name correct because "she" was #46 on the program and there was no #46 listed).
Val Schuster (2008, 6'1 post player, Newman Catholic HS, WI) - Val is a warrior and has the fundamentals to succeed at post play in high school. She does not have the size for major college ball at that position. She does not have a good shot facing the basket. Assuming that someone is willing to get her out of the post play frame of mind and have her work at #4 or #3 positions, it would be worth the effort.
Aleia Gland (2007, 5'10 guard/small forward, Scarborough, Ontario) - Aleia is very fast and a good ball handler.
Several are at a notch just below those above and include:
Kelsey Smith (2009, 6'4 center, St. Charles North HS, IL) - Kelsey is an excellent shooter, has good footwork, and is not afraid to mix it up. However, has a very slight frame that would need added muscle to fight the fight in the Big Ten.
Devereuax Peters (2007, 6'2 center, Fenwick HS, IL) - She has all the athletic tools, but appeared bored with the whole thing. She has worse luck with shots than Shaq with free throws. She needs dedicated effort on shooting (effectiveness) in order to succeed. She is an excellent rebounder and passer.
Elizabeth Campbell (2007, 6'3 post player, Sacred Heart Academy, KY) - She has great touch and can score. She does have a bothersome side arm hook shot, however. She was a weak defender in the “games” and needs bulking up to compete.
Stefanie Murphy (2007, 6'3 center, Londonderry HS, NH) - She is Emily Heikes-like. Not afraid to mix it up, slow footwork, but could help some programs with rebounds and close to basket scoring.
And there were a number of others who stood out in the crowd:
Alison Jackson (2007, 5'11 small forward, Fenwick HS, IL) plays above her height.
Hillary Wenning (2007, 5'10 guard, North Decatur HS, IN) has quick hands, nice shooting touch but has slow footwork (she was wearing knee braces so this may be a transient issue).
Holly Harvey (2007, 5'7 guard, Fenwick HS, IL) showed she likes to shoot (as most did during garbage time)
Lisa Lebak (2009, 5'5 guard, Peddie School, NJ), Kelsey Rector (2007, 5'6 guard, Elkin HS, NC) and Kristin Neal (2008, 5'9 guard, Cherry Creek HS, CO) showed that they know how to score.
Whitley Culler (2008, 5'11 small forward, North Surry HS, NC) and Caitlin Zeiler (2008, 5'5 guard, Mountain Vista HS, CO) stood out as ball handlers.