Nike Skills Report: Day 2
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Not all of the 19 participants in the Nike Girls' Skills Academy can be Brittney Griner or Christina Marinacci -- who have already committed to Baylor and USC, respectively -- but at least one is getting that much closer to choosing her next destination.
Taber Spani, ranked No. 23 in the 2009 class, is down to two schools: Tennessee and Kansas State. Until recently, the Lee's Summit, Mo., guard's list also included Connecticut, but she narrowed it down to the two after taking unofficial visits in June.
"I visited [Connecticut] and it was an awesome school," Spani said. "It just wasn't the right fit for me."
Spani, who will play with the Cy-Fair Shock Nike Elite this summer, said she liked the Tennessee campus during her visit to Knoxville. She's also familiar with the Kansas State campus -- it's a two-hour drive west from their home in Lee's Summit -- where her sister, Shalin, recently finished her freshman season.
Another 2009 player, Monique Oliver, ranked No. 6 in her class, has a list of five schools at which she hopes to make visits near the start of the school year. But Oliver might want to start pricing airfare now; her five choice destinations are spread across the country, including just one in the same time zone as Long Beach Polytechnic, her high school program in California. The list includes, in the order Oliver named, LSU, USC, Duke, Texas and Maryland.
And while some are whittling down a list, at least a few of the players at the camp at Nike World Headquarters are heading into their prime recruiting summer with their eyes, ears and, possibly more importantly, minds wide open.
"My list is totally open," said Jasmine Hassell, who plays for Tennessee Flight's top team. "I'm just trying to get ready for July. We want to win Nike Nationals."
Both Hassell and Tayler Hill expressed more concern about the next month -- and being successful with their summer teams -- than about having a short list of schools.
"I'm just planning to take a lot of unofficial visits in August and some in September," Hill said.
Although she bruised her hand on the rim Monday, Brittney Griner was back in dunking form Tuesday. During drills in the morning session, she was, unofficially, five-of-seven on dunks and two-of-four on alley-oop attempts from camp director Gannon Baker. ... Tierra Ruffin-Pratt started her day back in drills with a taped knee after injuring it jumping Monday evening. But by the end of the morning session, she was limping and she sat out the afternoon session's drills. & Diggins put a nice cap on Tuesday's afternoon session, hitting a half-court, buzzer-beater at the end of the final scrimmage of the day, earning cheers and applause from camp participants and coaches, as well as a group of guys waiting to take the court for their evening game.
Mindi Rice is a staff writer for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously was an award-winning sportswriter at the Tacoma News Tribune and barista at Starbucks. She grew up in Seattle where she attended Roosevelt High School before graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism. Mindi can be reached at email@example.com.
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