- Long Beach, CAHometown
- Polytechnic High School
- 6Overall Rank
- 4Position Rank
Summer 08: Right off the bat I have to nominate Monique Oliver for the most improved player this summer compared to last year. It is evident that she has put a great deal of time into her game and the results will likely land her in the Top 10 when the 2009 class rankings are released. Oliver is simply an explosive rebounder. That may seem like a strange comment but she is so powerful when she skies for rebounds that it really can only described as explosive. She starts with a powerful base and attacks the ball at its highest point and rips the ball on her way back to the ground. She keeps the ball protected most of the time as well. Some people simply rebound because they are big but Mo is a fierce rebounder who likes to rebound the basketball. The most interesting observation is how that explosiveness doesn't always extend to her offensive scoring opportunities. Where she can really get up for a rebound that leaping ability doesn't show itself as often when she has the ball on the box. She makes very powerful moves on the block, gets position with her feet and her body and for some reason she doesn't always explode up to the rim to finish. But that's where the critiques can stop because her footwork around the basket is very impressive and gets overlooked a lot because she plays along side Kelsey Bone all summer. Her go-to move is a look/lean to the middle and a powerful dropstep to the baseline with a small elbow hook that she sneaks in to make sure she's by the defender while also protecting the ball form any reaching. Oliver also improved her range. She became a legitmate threat from the short corners and the high post. Backing off of her to take away closer shots was really not an option. She and Bone showed their mastery of the high-low both in passing and in sealing when the other was high.
Oliver is very athletic and on top of that is a very hard worker so she gets everything she can out of her athletic ability. She can move her feet as well as any post I saw all summer. She can play up in pressing situations and take advantage of her length to make quite an imposing trap. She doesn't possess blazing fast speed but she can keep up at this level. In college she may not see as much time up in full court situations.
Defensively she is a very strong defender who is getting a lot better at using her body and holding that position as opposed to just waiting for a shot and trying to block. Her shot blocking has improved as well without as much tendency to foul. She gets quite a few blocks from behind, again showing her leaping ability and improved timing.
The sky is the limit for Mo. She will be near the top of a very good class for bigs in 2009. The Las Vegas native could be a game changer that is overlooked due to playing alongside Bone but when Bone was injured or on the bench she showed she is a go-to player. Her attitude, coachability and athleticism make me believe she will continue to get better.
Transferred from Cheyenne HS (N. Las Vegas, Nev.), 2007
Club Team: West Coast Premier Nike Regional Skills Academy, 2008.