Commentary

Nike TOC: John Anderson Division

Updated: December 16, 2011, 4:40 PM ET
By Glenn Nelson | HoopGurlz

The John Anderson Invitational Division of the Nike Tournament of Champions at a glance (*- Records and rankings are noted as of Dec. 13, 2011, for all games played through Dec. 12.)

Academy of the Holy Cross

Location: Kensington, Md.
FAB 50 Rank*: 19
First Opponent: Sacramento
Current Record*: 3-0
2010-11 Record: 26-7
Coach: Edward Simpson
Impact Player: P Lanay Montgomery, senior
Synopsis: The Tartans loom large, so to speak, because of their abundant size. They lost two starters off last year's state semifinal team to the college ranks, but return four Division I signees, led by 6-5 Lanay Montgomery (West Virginia). At 6-1 and 6-0, Lerae Ettienne (Sacred Heart) and Pandora Wilson (Drexel) give Montgomery bookend support.

Archbishop Wood

Location: Warminster, Pa.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: St. Joseph's Academy
Current Record*: 2-0
2010-11 Record: 27-4
Coach: Jim Ricci
Impact Player: G Taylor Kaminski, senior
Synopsis: The Vikings lost six players to the college ranks off a team that won its second straight state AAA championship last season. Taylor Kaminski, who hit the shot that won Archbishop Wood its first-ever Philadelphia Catholic League title, is back. So is F Alex Heck, ready to take on a bigger load for a disciplined team that employs a Princeton-style offense.

Bishop Gorman

Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: Country Day
Current Record*: 2-1
2010-11 Record: 25-7
Coach: Sheryl Krmpotich
Impact Player: W Diamond Major, junior
Synopsis: Senior G Zhane Dikes (San Francisco) and Diamond Major really can get after it defensively, setting a tone for a Gaels team that isn't as evolved on offense and will generate scoring with its pressure. Dikes averaged 14 points last year. Gorman's offensive limitations hurt them against the buzzsaw that Konawaena presented earlier this month at the Iolani Classic.

Bishop O'Dowd

Location: Oakland, Calif.
FAB 50 Rank*: 49
First Opponent: Villa Maria Academy
Current Record*: 2-0
2010-11 Record: 25-8
Coach: Malik McCord
Impact Player: F Oderah Chidom, junior
Synopsis: The Dragons have all five starters back from their CIF Division III state runner-up team. Two of the country's best junior prospects, Oderah Chidom and Kendall Waters, anchor a college-sized front line, on which 6-foot-4 junior Breanna Brown is the post. Ariell Bostick will push the pace, and senior Margaret Huntington provides big support off the bench.

Brea Olinda

Location: Brea, Calif.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: Regis Jesuit
Current Record*: 6-1
2010-11 Record: 30-2
Coach: Kim Cram-Torres
Impact Player: W Keitra Wallace, senior
Synopsis: The Ladycats are the defending Smith champions, but a very different team. Last year's stars, Justine Hartman and Alexis Perry, graduated to the college ranks. Coach Jeff Sink left to coach boys. Jeanier Olukemi transferred. Still, a powerhouse doesn't fade easily, and Keitra Wallace (Pepperdine) and Taylor Spears (Cal Poly) are great pieces to build around.

Centennial

Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: Edison
Current Record*: 3-0
2010-11 Record: 32-1
Coach: Karen Weitz
Impact Player: G Jada Brown, junior
Synopsis: The Bulldogs are the defending state 4A champions in Nevada and, though they lost two starters to the college ranks, they have a crackling backcourt with Jada Brown and fellow junior Tamera Williams, both of whom were all-state selections as sophomores. Another junior, Breanna Workman, can provide some heavy lifting inside.

Country Day School

Location: La Jolla, Calif.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: Bishop Gorman
Current Record*: 4-0
2010-11 Record: 27-5
Coach: Terri Bamford
Impact Player: PG Kelsey Plum, junior
Synopsis: Bamford's teams play fast and disciplined, and this one has some special players. Maya and Malina Hood (both San Diego) are great athletes and have that twin connection. Kelsey Plum is the No. 31 prospect in the 2013 class. The Torreys don't have great size but do possess good overall length.

Dillard

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: Long Beach Poly
Current Record*: 8-0
2010-11 Record: 22-7
Coach: George Adams
Impact Player: P Macy Keen, senior
Synopsis: The Panthers are coming off a 5A state championship and are off to an unbeaten start despite losing three players off that team to the college ranks. Led by their senior inside-outside combo of guard Shatorria Baker and Macy Keen, they will press and run. The No. 37 prospect in 2012, Keen remains uncommitted.

Edison

Location: Huntington Beach, Calif.
FAB 50 Rank*: 41
First Opponent: Centennial
Current Record*: 3-0
2010-11 Record: 28-4
Coach: Dan Wiley
Impact Player: F Katie Lou Samuelson, freshman
Synopsis: The Chargers are the defending champions of this division and replace one great Samuelson (Bonnie, Stanford) with another, Katie Lou, one of the most promising freshman prospects in the country. Her sister, junior Karlie, is the heart and soul of a team that can put up a lot of points, especially with PG Geena Gomez another option.

Edgewater

Location: Orlando, Fla.
FAB 50 Rank*: 48
First Opponent: Konawaena
Current Record*: 8-0
2010-11 Record: 23-3
Coach: Malcolm Lewis
Impact Player: W Alexis Prince, senior
Synopsis: The Baylor-bound Alexis Prince, No. 16 in the 2012 class, can be the country's most unstoppable scorer, when focused. The Eagles have a tough first-round draw in Konawaena and are without talented but injured junior guard Trimaine McCullough. They will rely on a trio of sophomores, Haley Clark, Markeema Crawford and Nyala Shuler, to support Prince.

Konawaena

Location: Kealakekua, Hawaii
FAB 50 Rank*: 43
First Opponent: Edgewater
Current Record*: 9-0
2010-11 Record: 31-1
Coach: Jessica Hanato
Impact Player: G Lia Galdeira, senior
Synopsis: The runnin', gunnin' Wildcats arguably have the most palpable momentum of any team in any TOC division, having mowed down three mainland teams, including Brea and Bishop Gorman from this field, in winning the Iolani Classic. They also have two big-time options in seniors Lia Galdeira and Dawnyelle Awa, both headed to Washington State.

Long Beach Poly

Location: Long Beach, Calif.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: Dillard
Current Record*: 6-0
2010-11 Record: 28-3
Coach: Carl Buggs
Impact Player: W Destiny King, senior
Synopsis: The aptly named Jackrabbits will be one of the fastest teams in the entire event, but lost a ton of talent to big-time college programs off last year's Smith finalist. Destiny King had a breakout summer and plays way bigger than 5-feet-9 but Poly has a tall, first-round order against Keen and Dillard.

Regis Jesuit

Location: Aurora, Colo.
FAB 50 Rank*: 44
First Opponent: Brea Olinda
Current Record*: 3-0
2010-11 Record: 20-8
Coach: Carl Mattei
Impact Player: P Katie Heckman, senior
Synopsis: Few teams can return all starters and have as an impact "newcomer" a senior, 6-foot-4 P (Katie Heckman, Duke) who missed last season because of an ACL injury. Her absence allowed seniors Marquelle Dent (Wyoming) and Jamie Revels (William & Mary) and soph Diani Akigbogun to blossom.

Sacramento

Location: Sacramento, Calif.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: Holy Cross
Current Record*: 4-0
2010-11 Record: 28-6
Coach: Michele Massari
Impact Player: P Ayanna Edwards, sophomore
Synopsis: The high-flying, highly talented as usual Dragons have ample perimeter talent in seniors Jehiah Cook (UNLV) and Jasmine Ware (UC Santa Barbara) and sophomore Zoniya Cormier, but soph P Ayanna Edwards looms large, especially with Holy Cross as a first-round opponent and O'Dowd elsewhere in the division.

St. Joseph's Academy

Location: St. Louis, Mo.
FAB 50 Rank*: 28
First Opponent: Archbishop Wood
Current Record*: 5-0
2010-11 Record: 27-5
Coach: Julie Goessling Matheny
Impact Player: P Sydney Stipanovich, junior
Synopsis: Though twins Maddie and Morgan Stock (both Missouri) probably are the foundation of a running, defensively swarming team, Sydney Stipanovich, niece of former NBA star Steve, is critical in a division with lots of size. Another junior, Erin Nelson, supports with next-level talent.

Villa Maria Academy

Location: Erie, Pa.
FAB 50 Rank*: NR
First Opponent: Bishop O'Dowd
Current Record*: 3-0
2010-11 Record: 28-2
Coach: Doug Chuzie
Impact Player: W Karlee McBride, junior
Synopsis: The Victors have all five starters, plus two key reserves, off a three-time defending AA state champion, but in a division with more size than it can offer, Villa will have to rely on its cohesion and sophisticated offensive and defensive sets. Senior Lisa Mifsud (Holy Cross) and Karlee McBride (Bowling Green) will lead the way.

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Glenn 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 glenn@hoopgurlz.com.