By Bob Corwin
Presented by ASGR Basketball on September 23 and 24, 2017, at the Suwanee Sports Academy in Suwanee, GA, Fall Finish 64 was dominated by the FBC basketball club. With 47 teams divided by age into six divisions, FBC teams won five of them.
There was no boycott of the fall viewing period by Power 5 schools (A lot of them want no fall evaluation period as they claim to be too busy on campus with recruiting visits and home visits to prospects.) as there was last year. About 30 colleges (mostly NCAA D1) and 52 individual coaches (many schools sent more than one coach) were present with a heavy Southeast USA base as might be expected. This fall many clubs held their own events so there was a greater spread of the talent pool than was the case with the massive (200 plus to 600 plus teams at one site!) July events.
FBC stands for Finest Basketball Club. According to Alfred Motton, FBC Program Director, it originated in California in 2001 and started its metro Atlanta, Georgia, branch in 2003. The California branch no longer exists. Motton came with FBC in 2012 and the current expansion started in 2015. The club runs 29 teams (17 travel and 12 elementary/middle school training teams). Motton further stated that there are 17 coaches in the FBC program, many of whom had run their own program but decided to merge into FBC. While Motton may head the organization, he cites these 17 as a collective leadership putting egos aside to work for the overall benefit of the young ladies in the program. During the fall and winter, FBC turns its attention to training its elementary and middle school players while the older players are involved with their high school teams. Motton went on “we don’t want to expand to just add kids but to get both quality people and talent into the program.”
Bret McCormick, ASGR’s Director of Scouting, says ASGR has over 100 division 1 prospects from FBC’s various teams listed in its computer files. These include players ranging from high school to elementary school projected as recruits at the various NCAA Division 1 levels.
Having watched many but not all of FBC’s travel teams, it is easy to say you cannot absorb all of the club’s talent in one weekend. You can find players on numerous FBC teams ranging from high Power 5 to strong D2 in potential. Some FBC teams are “stacked” with Power 5 recruits while others may start with mid major talent as its best prospects. This summer FBC had one of the very top US high school age club teams in FBC United Hunt but the depth of FBC talent runs all the way down into elementary school age. While the program is based in Metro Atlanta, it contains players from adjoining states.
In an era where so many want to do their own thing, FBC appears to be growing rather than splitting apart with disgruntled parents taking a group of players and forming their own clubs (has happened repeatedly in the last decade).
Over a week ago, I contacted the NCAA (based in Indiana) trying to get an answer to this question. “How many club girls basketball teams of middle school and high school age are registered with the NCAA in order to play in NCAA certified events?” My guess is 3000-4000 when 15 years ago it would have been much less.
At first I reached a real live person (probably by accident) and the lady asked me several times why I needed to know this. I calmly repeated that I was researching the issue of club team explosion in numbers. She was not sure they had an answer but she said she could not give it to me if NCAA did. I was told to call the NCAA public relations department and was given its phone number. When I did, I was directed by computer voice to a web site to submit my question as the NCAA public relations department did not take calls. I did what was asked and received an official NCAA acknowledgement of my question. Now over a week later, I still have not heard back from them with an answer to my question.
Below are very brief mention recaps to each final starting with the four 17 and Under Divisions (no unifying games to decide an overall 17U champion)….
17 and Under Divisions
FBC Lady Hawks 64-41 Lady Flames Elite Diamond
This was the game I watched most closely of the four simultaneous 17U finals contests. The Lady Hawks were in reality Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (likely one of the nation’s strongest high school teams for the coming year) out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Flames are a solid club team of multiple Division 1 prospects out of Louisiana. Lady Hawks started up 20-0 before the lead got to 10 thanks to the Hawks going cold from the perimeter. Eventually they regained form (four high level power 5 prospects) and won big.
FBC Black 2018 51-39 SC 76ers Black
This was the most competitive of the 17U bracket finals with this FBC being largely Collins Hill High School (one of the favorites for this coming year’s Georgia 7A [largest division] title) competing against some of the top 2020 to 2022 prospects in South Carolina. A good win for the Georgia side!
Peak Performance Miller 62-16 Alabama Heat Elite Dawson
Metro Atlanta based, Peak Miller has two strong players (see below) and they brought them through the bracket undefeated. Heat probably had more to offer (winning two games previously) than shown here.
FBC Mo NextUp 67-14 Peak Performance Jordan
This need not be discussed except to say NextUp (how they spelled it) had several young (primarily class of 2020) Power 5 prospects.
16 and Under Division
FBC Mo YoungGunz 46-37 EOTO Black
The Gunz are primarily some to Metro Atlanta’s best class of 2021 prospects. EOTO Black is a mix of primarily respectable 2019 and 2020 high school players from the north side of Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. Here talent prevailed over experience but not without a struggle.
15 and Under Division
FBC Black 2021 53-49 FBC The Family
This intra-club match-up pitted a respectable group of rising freshmen that managed to hold off a group of very talented rising seventh and sixth graders.
Players below caught attention of observers at the event. Some have been discussed in prior articles in the last year. Listings are alphabetical within graduation year with listed (sometimes inflated!) height, position, and club team with home town in parenthesis.
Elizabeth Balogun, 6-1 forward, FBC Lady Hawks (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
Balogun, orally committed to GA Tech, can score at all three levels (key, mid-range and behind the arc). She did so consistently as her team won the 17U Bracket A (and probably was the best of the four 17U champs).
Carrie Gross, 5-8, small forward, Rock Creek Christian Academy (Clinton, Maryland)
Gross is a baseline attacker who can also hit the mid-range jumper. She is choosing among several high level mid-major offers.
Jazmine Massengill, 6-0, point guard, FBC Lady Hawks (Harrison, Tennessee)
Massengill, orally committed to Tennessee, combines great size with athleticism and point guard skills. Whether scoring or not, she clearly makes her team go.
Makayla Pippin, 6-1, power forward, Rock Creek Christian Academy (Laurel, Maryland)
Pippin exudes toughness as she runs the court. She is not afraid to take contact going to the rim. In the half court, her game is in the paint. She is choosing among several high level mid-major offers.
Ashlee Austin, 6-0, small forward. Atlanta Cagers Bluestar 2018 (Johns Creek, Georgia)
Austin is a small forward with a streak of toughness to her game. She shoots the three well and will go inside. Her handles could probably get better. Her dozen plus offers range from Power 5 down.
Dominique Davis, 5-7, combo guard, Lady Flames Elite – Diamond (DeRidder, Louisiana)
Several Power 5 schools came to the event to watch Davis in action. She was most impressive in transition and in providing on court leadership and a never-say-die attitude. In the quarter court, she looked to attack going right or pull up at mid-range. Three-point shooting appeared to be least desired scoring option.
Bria Harmon, 5-7, point guard, FBC Black 2018 (Lawrenceville, Georgia)
Harmon, a coach’s daughter orally committed to Purdue, is a steady player who guided her team to winning its bracket at the event. She looks to run offense first but showed she can score (15 points in final making drives and hitting threes) when needed.
Jordan Isaacs, 6-2, power forward, FBC Lady Knights (Dallas, Georgia)
Isaacs recently changed high schools and here was essentially playing with her new team (St. Francis of Alpharetta, GA, High School). She was one of the best post players at the event showing strong attack (usually going left) from the high post and elevating well near the rim. She has multiple Power 5 offers.
Zamiya Passmore, 5-5, point guard, FBC 2018 Kay (Locust Grove, Georgia)
Passmore has a lot to offer. She has good basketball IQ combined with decent athleticism, can attack the basket, pass well and showed a nice pull-up jumper. She has multiple mid-major offers. Height (or rather lack of) and modest build appear to be the two negatives from a Power 5 viewpoint.
Destiny Rice, 5-8, shooting guard, Lady Flames Elite – Diamond (Shreveport, Louisiana)
Rice is non-stop attack. She takes what’s given be it a drive or three-ball. One could argue that she thinks shot too much but at this event her “keep coming at you” mentality seemed more a positive than negative. Division 1 schools should be monitoring her progress if not offering.
Amari Robinson, 6-0, forward, Peak Performance Miller (Douglasville, Georgia)
Robinson “suffers” from having gotten good early in her career with talk of national player of the year candidacy. Perhaps she has not improved as much as hoped but she can go inside (fairly strong build) to score via posting or outside hitting perimeter shots. She just needs to show her best more consistently but Power 5 schools should still be looking to offer her.
Kaylee Sticker, 6-0, guard/forward, Peak Performance Miller (Dawsonville, Georgia)
I have seen this player once or twice a year for several years now. She is now a bit taller and improved her perimeter stroke. Sticker runs very well but still needs to continue to improve handles, driving ability and toughness. She has numerous offers from just below the Power 5 level which may yet come on board given the upside.
Olivia Cochran, 6-3, center, FBC Mo NextUp (Columbus, Georgia)
Cochran comes from athletic stock with a mother who played college ball. Olivia has a very strong, thick muscular build which many Power 5 programs covert in their low posts. She moves well considering her body type and her hands do well to catch and finish at the block.
Kamilla Cardosa, 6-6, center, FBC Lady Hawks (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
From Brazil, Cardosa first came on to the scene a year ago getting rave “prospect” reviews. Showing a strong ability to finish in the lower paint, block shots and rebound, the future is becoming now for this high level Power 5 recruit.
Kenyal Perry, 6-6, center, Lady Flames Elite – Diamond (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Perry is a likely future Power 5 player. She is long, agile, runs well but the ability to score consistently is not yet there. She showed glimpses of the future at the event but needs to fill in the current void of skill.
Malia Fisher, 5-11, small forward, FBC Black 2021 (Sugar Hill, Georgia)
Fisher stood out for continually being active, moving without the ball making positive contributions often without scoring. Her progress should be monitored from the Power 5 level down.
De’Mauri Flournoy, 5-4, point guard, FBC BounceNation Futures (Villa Rica, Georgia)
In interviewing Flournoy, she claimed to have no interest of note from college coaches (well she is just entering high school) but by now that may already have changed. Flournoy has strong handles willing to attack either dishing off or finishing herself. On top of that, she is an above average athlete who can knock down the three. A Power 5 prospect, the only negative is a relative lack of height.
Patsy Mosley, 5-6, point guard, FBC Mo YoungGunz (Atlanta, Georgia)
Mosley, an obvious D1 prospect, is a quality athlete who on occasion has been known to play on the edge of being out of control. In this event, the athleticism was still there but she made tough perimeter shots and finished in the paint with her performance helping her team win its division.
Brianna Turnage, 5-11, forward, FBC Mo YoungGunz (Atlanta, Georgia)
Turnage is already well known in Power 5 recruiting circles. In this event, she showed to be expanding her game and adding consistency in scoring game to game, demonstrating a nice drive starting in the key or from the perimeter. She has always been willing to post up.
Shamya Joiner, 5-8, point guard, East Coast United U14 (Mims, Florida)
Joiner is an athletic, penetration oriented lead guard. A likely D1 prospect, she needs to build shooting range.
Anala Nelson, 5-6, point guard, SC 76ers Sizzle/Cubs (Columbia, South Carolina)
Nelson is a lead guard with a steady demeanor. She showed nice vision on the fast break and finish at the rim. She will be playing high school basketball (allowed in South Carolina) at Lower Richland as an eighth grader. Her progress should be monitored from the Power 5 level down.
Ashlyn Watkins, 6-2, center, SC 76ers Black (Columbia, South Carolina)
Watkins is regarded as one of the top post prospects in the 2022 class. Playing on an older club team against opponents with rising juniors and seniors, she still stood out scoring in the lower key. Unlike all too many talents discovered in middle school, it appears Watkins is continuing to progress.
Essence Cody, 6-2, center, FBC The Family (Valdosta, Georgia)
Cody is still relatively raw as one might expect at this age but has the right stuff to already be viewed as a Power 5 prospect assuming continued maturation. . She runs well and showed she can catch and finish near the rim. On defense, she is a shot blocking presence.
Emma Risch, 5-10, small forward, East Coast United U14 (West Melbourne, Florida)
Risch is light on her feet and showed a nice perimeter stroke to beyond the arc. Not surprisingly, she needs to fill out and get stronger. Her progress should be monitored from the Power 5 level down
Jaloni Cambridge, 5-7, point guard, FBC The Family (Nashville, Tennessee)
Cambridge has an older sister who is orally committed to Vanderbilt. This Cambridge also has Power 5 potential. Only in the sixth grade, she knows how to run a team playing with a group a year older on average. She has a good motor and plays both ends of the court. She needs to get her release up as her perimeter stroke is a bit strained (happens with some players starting so young) with limited physical strength.