Still more than just worthwhile!
By Bob Corwin
In its third year, Future Stars USA, held July 28 at Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, Kentucky, once again displayed a field of talent that made those in attendance leave believing their time was well spent. The event, presented by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and Preferred Athlete Scouting Services, had just 60 (by invitation without charge to players having been pre-screened by event organizers) participants from the 2021, 2022 and 2023 classes. For a myriad of reasons, about 25 registered participants did not show up forcing a quick, well handled re-arrangement of players on the exhibition teams.
College attendance down
While the talent made attendance worthwhile, logistics of getting to Lexington, Kentucky, unfortunately caused many to skip the event fearing too much time away from evaluation of older prospects (classes of 2018, 2019, 2020) particularly in Atlanta where several large events were going on simultaneously. Still where can you see about 50 D1 (say 15 of whom future Power 5) recruits in just five hours? OK, the Nike EYBL! Where else?
Both mid-majors and Power 5 programs should make it a point to attend next year! The time will be well spent!
To parents and players…
If invited to an elite, invitation only exposure camp like Future Stars, it should be considered an honor. However, regardless of how the player shows off at one of these talent-rich camps, it must be remembered this is just the start of the long march toward playing at the NCAA Division 1 level. Continued improvement through hours of hard work in team practice and individually is really critical toward reaching such a goal. Work on weaknesses and strive for excellence!
Each player participated in two running-clock games of about one-hour duration.
Note the names below as they will become better known in the years ahead. There were plenty of others that could have been mentioned as well. Quite frankly, there was too much to come close to fully absorbing all of it in just a few hours!
Players below are listed alphabetically giving height, position and graduation year with home town in parenthesis.
Se’Quoia Allmond, 5-5, point guard, 2021 (Memphis, Tennessee)
Allmond is an athletic lead guard with good handles. and decent court vision. She can attack going right (strong hand) or left.
Alyxandra Avrach, 5-7, shooting guard, 2022 (Boca Raton, Florida)
Avrach was not one of the more athletic players present. However, in an event full of attacking guards, she stood out as one of the best three point shooters off the catch (quick release!).
Mari Bickley, 5-7, shooting guard, 2023 (Tallmadge, Ohio)
Bickley is athletic and can get to the rim but also hit the floater along the way.
Emani Burkes, 6-3, center, 2021 (Palm Bay, Florida)
Burkes is a physical low post presence with soft touch around the rim. Word in the gym was that she
has not as yet successfully translated her strong camp play into actual games. Let us be patient!
Diana Collins, 5-4, guard, 2023 (Lilburn, Georgia)
Small, lanky and hopefully still growing, Collins has a nice stroke and an athletic gait.
Cailee Crawford, 5-10, small forward, 2021 (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Physical, Crawford likes to get into the paint often starting on the perimeter. She showed a nice hook shot in the key.
Trinity Gooden, 5-11, small forward, 2021 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Gooden showed she can power the ball from the perimeter to the rim and get out successfully on the fast break. In a quieter moment, she showed she can enter the ball to the post (somewhat of a lost art!).
Tionna Herron, 6-3, center, 2022 (Desoto, Texas)
Herron has not yet filled out but she showed a strong will to battle in the lower Key. Her hands
appeared good on catching the ball.
Paige Lyons, 5-5, point guard, 2021 (Hampton, Georgia)
Lyons seemed to possess non-stop energy looking to penetrate. Several times, she looked to drive and kick out to open shooters, something not seen often in the exposure camp setting.
Paris Miller, 5-9, guard/forward, 2022 (Hampton, Georgia)
Miller can get to the rim going left or right (strong hand). Besides her handles, she is an above average passer with advanced understanding for her age.
Kendall Moriarty, 5-10, small forward, 2021 (Wheaton, Illinois)
With a good motor and above average basketball IQ, at times she seemed almost everywhere on the court. Physical, she looks to drive and take contact. Her outside shot appears to still need work.
Jayla Oden, 5-7, shooting guard, 2021 (Windsor Mill, Maryland)
A high level athlete, she likes to get out on the break running hard. In the quarter court, she looks to attack the basket. Her outside shot still needs development.
Diona Reed, 6-3, center, 2021 (Millington, Tennessee)
Reed has continued to fill out from last year’s event (where last seen). Strongly built, she is a force down low but has added some range out to the foul line, impressive for age, height and build. All things considered, she runs adequately.
Ariana Riley, 5-6, guard, 2022 (Decatur, Illinois)
Riley looked to attack the basket (showing finish) but was very willing to dish to more open teammates (refreshing in this often “me-oriented” setting).
Cassidy Rowe, 5-5, guard, 2022 (Pikesville, Kentucky)
With a good motor, Rowe showed an ability to get out on the break. In the quarter court, she demonstrated a decent perimeter stroke.
Lazaria Spearman, 6-2, center/power forward, 2022 (Lawrenceville, Georgia)
Long, lanky and not filled out, Spearman runs well and has decent touch. Defensively, she showed some shot blocking ability.
Bridget Utberg, 5-4, point guard, 2022 (Canton, Georgia)
Utberg was one of the most willing passers at the event keeping the ball moving for her team, in
particular feeding the post. She can also hit the three. Already strongly built, with Utberg (who I have already watched for a few years), it is not can she play but rather will she grow much taller (increasing her stock)?
Isabella Westbrook, 5-10, shooting guard, 2021 (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Westbrook showed a lot of skills at the event. With a medium-solid frame, she was active moving without the ball. She passed well and showed a nice perimeter stroke.
Matyson Wilkie, 5-10, shooting guard, 2021 (Beaver Dam, Wisconsin)
Physically tough, she made good decisions with the ball when pressured. She also showed an ability to hit off-balance shots.
Carleigh Wilson, 5-10, guard, 2022 (Nashville, Tennessee)
She rebounded well for a perimeter player. Offensively, she got out and finished on the break (running well) and showed she can hit the three.