Nike Nationals 2016 (part 2): Where talent shined bright!
By Bob Corwin
Power 5 talent was all over Riverview Park in North Augusta, South Carolina, during the July 27-30 NikeNationals. Many named below (all likely have or will receive Power 5 offers) will someday be well known names in women’s college basketball. There were a host of players that could be highlighted from EYBL play (again the 15U event was not covered in enough detail to feature players from that division).
Again, special thanks to the stats crew from Game Changer (recently changed web address: www.gc.com), who were more than helpful at cranking out written box scores in a timely fashion and updating team stats online!
Teams that made the GEYBL Championship (first and second place teams from pool play) bracket had their players’ results, where successful, given greater consideration for recognition below. Players are listed alphabetically giving height, position, graduation year and club team with home town in parenthesis.
Pass Tha Ball Nike Nationals All-Tournament Selections
Brinae Alexander, 5-10, guard/forward, 2018, Tennessee Flight Silver (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
Alexander made big shots (for one, a big tying 3 late in the fourth quarter versus Cal Storm) for the Flight averaging 10.1 ppg hitting on 43.7% from the field and a solid 34.1% from behind the arc. She prefers the wing to baseline area.
Taya Corosdale, 6-2, power forward, 2017, Tree of Hope Nike Elite (Bothell, Washington)
The Trees went 5-2 at the event and Corosdale was a big reason why. As last year, she led Tree of Hope with 14.6 ppg (up about five points from last year) on 46.6% from the field. Most of her scoring was in the lower key but she did step out to hit a few three. Add in 7.1 rebounds per game to complete the picture!
Aquira DeCosta, 6-2, power forward, 2018, Cal Stars Nike Elite (Stockton, California)
DeCosta is a high quality athlete with a big time motor. In helping the Stars go 6-2, she led her team in rebounding with 7.9 per game while averaging 10.2 ppg on 43.8% from the field.
Dana Evans, 5-6, point guard, 2017, Indy Lady Gym Rats Silver (Gary, Indiana)
The Gym Rats, undermanned again this year, went 2-4 but Evans produced solid numbers. Evans led the Gym Rats in points (18.5 ppg) while also posting 4,2 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Anastasia Hayes, 5-7, shooting guard, 2017, Tennessee Flight Silver (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
As last year, Hayes was the lead scorer for Flight (7-1, finishing second) posting 14.5 ppg on 44.2% from the field and 37.5% from behind the arc. She is considered by many to be one of the best shooting guards in the 2017 class.
Ashley Joens, 5-11, forward, 2018, All Iowa Attack Nike Elite (Iowa City, Iowa)
All Iowa went 5-1 and Joens was a major reason why. Leading the team in scoring with 14.2 ppg, she also chipped in 5.8 rebounds per game. She looks to attack the basket going left or right and is willing to mix it up in the paint.
Raeannah Johnson, 5-7, guard, 2017, Minnesota North Tartan 17 (Albertville, Minnesota)
North Tartan (4-2 in North Augusta) was one of the more balanced teams in the event. Johnson, orally committed to Iowa State, led the team with 11.3 ppg on 43.1% from the field. She did a little bit of everything on the perimeter for her club.
Taylor Kissinger, 6-1, small forward, 2017, All Iowa Attack Nike Elite (Minden, Nebraska)
Kissinger was another big weapon for All Iowa with her posting of 13.3 ppg and team leading 6.5 rebounds per game. Word in the gym was that she has made an oral commitment to Nebraska.
Aubrey Knight, 6-1, forward, 2017, Cal Storm Team Taurasi (Ventura, California)
Team Taurasi, unlike its namesake, has no true stars and Knight embodied its play hard and together style. She was constantly on the move at both ends posting 8.8 ppg on an impressive 62.9% from the field. She also contributed 5.7 rebounds per game while helping her team post a respectable 4-2 record at the event.
Destiny Littleton, 5-9, shooting guard, 2017, West Coast Premier Black (Spring Valley, California)
Littleton is a strongly built guard with a flashy step-back move. She led West Coast with 15.3 ppg and shot 97.4% from the foul line (double digit attempts) as she used her body to create contact in helping her team go 5-2 at the event. She also contributed 5.3 rebounds per game.
Kelsey Marshall, 5-9, shooting guard, 2017, Essence Purple/TipHayes3 (Davie, Florida)
Marshall was Essence’s most consistent player in North Augusta. She posted 15.3 ppg on 42.1% from the field and 47.5% from behind the arc as Essence went 4-2 at the event.
Quanniecia Morrison, 5-8, shooting guard, 2017, Team Elite Pointer EYBL (Powder Springs, Georgia) MVP
Morrison, orally committed to Georgia, was our MVP pick (close call over teammate Pointer) at Nike Nationals. She was her team’s best player in the final and was consistent all week long. She led her team with 14.1 ppg (46% FG, 45% for 3’s) and 7.2 rebounds per game (as a guard!).
Ashley Owusu, 5-10, guard, 2019, BWSL 16U (Woodbridge, Virginia)
Owusu had a large burden on her shoulders as she played the point (probably not her most natural position) as a very young player on an EYBL team. She averaged 7.6 ppg but also 6.4 rpg (as a guard) and led the team with three assists per game in helping her team go 5-2 in reaching the semi-finals.
Evina Westbrook, 6-0, guard, 2017, Cal Stars Nike Elite (Salem, Oregon)
Last year in North Augusta, she played on the wing. This year, she played more of a guard’s role showing great versatility for her size. She led her team averaged 16.4 ppg on 41.4% from the field. She also led Cal Stars (6-2 winning the Silver Division [3rd-4th place pool finishers]) with 4.1 assists per game. Westbrook was another of the very top prospects of the 2017 class featured at Nike Nationals.
Destiny Pitts, 5-11, shooting guard, 2017, All Ohio Black (Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan)
Pitts made a living behind the arc (34%) and at the foul line (88.5%) in averaging team leading 10.9 ppg for All Ohio (4-4). She also contributed 4.8 rebounds per game.
Khayla Pointer, 5-6, point guard, 2017, Team Elite Pointer EYBL (Kennesaw, Georgia)
Pointer was the straw that stirred the drink for the champions. Her shooting tailed off toward the end of the end but it could be easily argued she was the event MVP. Orally committed to LSU, she averaged 11 ppg and led the team with 2.9 assists per game.
Lindsey Pulliam, 5-10, shooting guard, 2017, Fairfax Stars 16U (Silver Springs, Maryland)
Pulliam was a “steady Eddie” wing shooter for Fairfax (3-3). She averaged 13.3 ppg on 41.4% and 41.7% respectively inside and outside the arc.
Kianna Smith, 6-0, guard, 2017, West Coast Premier Black (Moreno Valley, California)
Kianna Smith, orally committed to Cal, showed a versatile offensive game playing both guard slots. She averaged 11.3 ppg on 50% from the field. She also contributed 4.3 rpg and a team leading 3.7 apg.
Megan Walker, 6-1, guard/forward, 2017, BWSL 16U (Chesterfield, Virginia)
Walker, considered by many the top prospect in the 2017 class, did not disappoint in North Augusta. She posted a team leading 15 ppg (41.2% FG, 35% from behind the arc), 5.0 rpg and 2.1 assists per game.
Christyn Williams, 5-10, guard, 2018, Texas United Nike Elite (Little Rock, Arkansas)
Christyn, a do it all lefty capable of playing either guard slot, led United with 8.0 rpg (for a guard!) and 2.9 assists per game while posting 12.0 ppg. The top programs in the USA are after her services.
Madison Williams, 5-10, forward, 2018, Texas United Nike Elite (Fort Worth, Texas)
Madison is a strongly built, high energy attacker very willing to go inside after lining up on the perimeter. She posted a team leading 16.6 ppg (55.4% FG) along with 6.7 rebounds per game. United (2-4) lost several games down the stretch due to a lack of depth after competing most of the way in those contests.