College prospects shine at Super 64
FRISCO, Texas -- The third annual Super 64 saw 128 teams compete in three separate categories. The Tennessee Flight took top honors Thursday night with an easy win over Texas Express Elite 2012-Jones.
Like the Flava Jam down the way, this event had several impressive college prospects. The following are just a few.
Sara Hattis (Rio Rancho, N.M.), Cy-Fair Premier: Just since the spring this 6-4 post has shown an improvement and sharpening of her game that is going to make her a constant force next season and beyond. Her size and impressive frame is something college strength coaches will love to work with once she moves on to the next level. She works hard at both ends and doesn't seem hesitant to mix it up a bit with a little pushing and shoving down low. Her ability to get up and down the floor is not sprinter's speed but is plenty adequate to be effective. She understands angles and posts effectively on the block. On the catch, she has a nice touch around the rim and a drop step that seals and covers ground. Another strength is her ability to read and pass out of the post, especially to the weakside wing. Defensively she's a presence with her size and wingspan but also gave evidence of some good vision from the helpside as she rotated.
Kealana Veal (Eunice, La.), Acadiana Stars: One of the eye-catching and successful teams in the Super 64 was the Stars, an ultra-athletic and aggressive team from Louisiana. This explosive 5-8 point guard is dynamic anytime she touches the ball for them. Her first step will leave even the quickest defender wondering where she went and scrambling to recover. She can get to the rim and evaluate among the bigs or pull up with either a jumper or a high arching floater. Her perimeter stroke looks good at the line but with her ability to penetrate she wasn't taking a lot of jumpers in the halfcourt. While she can create her own looks, she's just as willing and able to give it up if a teammate has a better opportunity. Defensively, she's got the lateral speed to turn opposing ballhandlers and her quickness puts her in a position to take away options on the catch or off the dribble.
AJ Alix (Houston, Texas), Cy-Fair Premier: The Cy-Fair Premier has the luxury of having two attacking and effective point guards. This 5-5 speedster combines with Brooke McCarty to keep their teammates on the attack on virtually every offensive possession. Alix has the skills that allow her to create both shots and passes. Her ballhandling is highlighted by an exceptional use of hesitation and change of speed that goes with the acceleration that leaves opponents lunging out of their stance. Once she's into traffic, she's effective at looking off her passes and using misdirection to create passing angles and lanes that lead to easy looks for teammates. She's an adept scorer herself but her shot selection occasionally detours from the straight and narrow, taking away from her effectiveness. Defensively, there's plenty of quickness and aggressiveness to make her a harassing concern for opponents.
Sylvia Gatson (Omaha, Neb.), Nebraska Force: Gatson's game is exciting to watch but is still in the stage of being more potential than reality. When you see a power player of her size attacking the floor off the dribble with smooth and fluid individual skills, it's hard not to take notice and think point forward. At 6-0, she navigates traffic with ease and delivers some eye-catching passes that exploit even the smallest defensive breakdowns. Her ability to get to the rim is a combination of physical strength and well-honed ballhandling. Where reality shifts back to potential is when she doesn't have the ball in her hands. To keep defenders honest, she's going to have to be more active and eliminate the standing and watching that seems to happen every time she gives it up. The quickness and explosiveness are there to cut and create looks for herself at will if she'll apply the same effort as she does with the ball. Defensively, she has all the tools to be a force as well. Her play is aggressive but she takes lots of risks at times that could lead her to the bench when her teammates need her most on the floor. Lots of tools but the jury is still out.
Alyssa Dry (Fort Worth, Texas), 360 All Stars: This young combo guard offered up some sharp play for someone who has yet to play a varsity game. Her ball skills put her in a position time and again to develop her own looks or better options for her teammates. At 5-8 she can handle it on the break and was effective using a deceptive hesitation dribble. There are times that she's upright as she puts the ball on the floor which will be tougher to do as she faces older and physically more mature players. The form and range were there early but left her a bit once fatigue set in. All in all, she has lots of tools and possibilities, and is worth keeping an eye on.
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Mark Lewis is the national recruiting coordinator for ESPN HoopGurlz. Twice ranked as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the game by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, he has more than 20 years of college coaching experience at Memphis State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Western Kentucky and, most recently, Washington State. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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