|ESPN.com: Girls Basketball||[Print without images]|
|The 5-foot-9 Handford averaged 12.5 points, 6.3 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 4.4 steals last season and led Malcolm X. Shabazz (Newark, N.J.) to its second straight NJSIAA Group 2 state championship.|
Difficult as it is to believe in these Tweeted out, YouTubed times, one occasionally gets away. A Jeremy Lin emerges without warning in the NBA. Or a dynamic leader of a nationally ranked team nears the end of her high school career without a college scholarship.It could go without saying that Aliyyah Handford is at least the best unsigned senior prospect at point guard, a position as high in demand by college programs as any. She wouldn't mind that. She's unranked and unsigned, but certainly not unnoticed. After all, during her first season at a new position, Handford last year averaged 12.5 points, 6.3 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 4.4 steals, led Malcolm X. Shabazz (Newark, N.J.) to its second straight NJSIAA Group 2 state championship, and was named to the all-state team. "We try to make everything go through her," Shabazz coach Vanessa Watson said. A growing number of college teams are latching onto a similar idea. Handford said she is considering Georgetown, Seton Hall, Pitt and Syracuse. She will commit a signature during the final National Letter of Intent signing period, April 11 to May 16. That Handford wasn't snatched up a long time ago is the consequence of a new position, an injury and, to a lesser extent, academics. Otherwise, at 5-feet-9, she has good size for either backcourt position, great quickness and fearlessness. She is a relentless invader of the paint, sees plays for her teammates, and has the ability to stop and pop or navigate her way to the rim.
|Converted to the point only last season, Aliyyah Handford has helped Shabazz to a state title and, this year, to a top 20 national ranking.|
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Discuss this on our Message BoardGlenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A graduate of Seattle University and Columbia University, he formerly coached girls' club basketball, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, has had his photography displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.