FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- The Tennessee State AAU Championship was held this past weekend at the A Game complex and although some of the best teams in state bypassed the weekend, we watched many new athletes, and a few familiar ones make a big impression. Winners for each division were: 8th Grade Div 1 – TN Flight Select, 9th Grade Div 1 – TN Xtreme Little, 10th Grade Div 1 – A Game Springer, 11th Grade Div 1 – TN Fury Gold. Here are a few of the standout players:
Damiyah Moore, 6-3 Post, TN Fury (Powell HS)
More times than not, Damiyah’s length is unmatched; she gets several blocks and several rebounds a game and makes it look effortless. If she had more confidence in her game, and played more aggressively on offense Moore could become an absolutely dominating player as she already has a leg up on most players with her length and above average athleticism. Demiyah is easily a D1 prospect, and she will only continue to get better throughout this summer and the next high school season.
Philecia Atkins, 5-4 Guard, Memphis Elite (Memphis Overton)
When we last saw Atkins, she was shining at the Tennessee High School State Tournament. This time was no different; there wasn’t a single defender that could consistently stay in front of her. Philecia seemed to make a point out of showing off her handles this weekend and quite frankly she put on a show. My favorite thing about her is her ability to create her own shot, from driving to the basket to shaking the defender and popping a trey. Atkins was active as always on the defensive end, and continued to be aggressive on both sides of the ball.
Alise Parker, 6-2 Post Memphis Elite Williams (Houston HS)
Super lanky and bouncy, I witnessed Alise get three chances to finish in traffic before she finally put the ball in the hoop. On the play she finished 1-3 with 2 points and 3 offensive rebounds. She showed the ability to finish around the hoop as well, usually making baskets on the first chance. She used her athleticism to gather offensive rebounds and stick them back in. Her size and athletic ability will give her the chance to play at the next level. She will have to add strength but she is a legit post prospect at the D-1 level.
Savannah Worland, 6-0 Guard, AGame Springer (Cheatham Co HS)
My first impression of Worland was on a shot she took from 30+ feet, it didn’t go in, but it looked effortless and she hit plenty of others while I watched. That being said, I would not characterize her as just a shooter. Worland has plenty of athleticism and skill doing a multitude of things. Most impressive, besides the range, was her ability to show and go, once teams starting flying at her after she caught the ball. Rarely did she make a mistake after she went by the defender, reading the defense correctly almost every time.
Alexis Bowers, 5-6 Point Guard, East TN Rain (Hampton HS)
I love watching Alexis Bowers when strangers are around. I usually strike up a conversation about how good her and her teammates are. Usually they look at me like yeah right. We have written about Bowers before but her ability to lead the Rain to the 10th grade Championship Game was more than admirable. Teams look at her and think they can trap and press but Bowers has an uncanny ability to keep her dribble, see the floor and back out of double teams. She also completely understands the importance and has the ability to change speeds and directions which makes her such an amazing PG. She has great passing skills and can hit an open jumper.
Brianna Smith, 5-6 Point Guard, AGame Springer (Martin Luther King HS)
Bri is a quick, elusive PG who see’s the floor well and pushes the ball in transition, using star wing players Savannah Worland and LeaLeaCarter beautifully. Smith has the ability to finish herself in transition and made some spectacular finishes against defenders. She was unselfish but displayed the ability to knock down open jump shots. She led her team to the 10th grade state title.
LeaLea Carter, 6-0 Wing, AGame Springer (Dickson Co HS)
Rarely am I just blown away by a player but LeaLea Carter did just that with her talent and ability. She’s so long and lanky with amazing athleticism and body control. She has above average guard skills including a great handle and good form on her jump shot. Sometimes players of this ability coast at times due to the ease at which they can dominate, not Carter. Her motor is certainly above average as is her unselfishness, which at this point is probably her big weakness since she could easily dominate any HS age division. I hate comparing players but her game is very similar to St John's star Shenneika Smith now with the WNBA's NY Liberty.
Kat Alomar, 5-6 Guard, TN Xtreme-Little (Walker Valley HS)
Kat is the epitome of a pure point guard; she is impressive on the drive and has great court vision. Her quickness makes her even better as she is able to get out on the break and either score on her own or find a teammate for the basket. Alomar is a talented defender thanks to her quickness and she doesn’t allow other guards to drive past her to the paint. She already has solid range on her jump shot and her game is going to continue to grow.
Kaleigh Clemmons, 5-8 Guard, TN Xtreme-Little (Baylor School)
Kaleigh is such a well-rounded young guard, she had no problems carving up the defense this weekend. She is extremely explosive, and if defenders try to stop the drive she just stops-and-pops. Clemmons also has in the gym range, there were several times when she drained threes from NBA range. Kaleigh is on her way to being a big time player in the state of Tennessee and is definitely one of the top 2016 players to keep an eye on.
Jaden McCoy, 6-2 Post, TN Fury 2016 Navy (Webb School of Knoxville)
For such a young post, McCoy had a mature game. Her skill set was well beyond that of a 9th grade post. Good hands, sealed her man, and good footwork were all aspects that I thought were advanced for her age. Not surprising as she attends the Webb School and receives stellar coaching. She had a nice 15-foot jumpshot and played hard the entire time I watched her.
Shy Bowers, 6-0 Post, East TN Rain (Elizabethton HS)
The Rain as a group are very good and very well coached so Shy sometimes gets overlooked. This young post is a little undersized for the next level so she may have to grow another two inches or develop a perimeter game. That being said she has excellent post moves and knows how to seal a defender. She is strong and is able to get in to position to rebound very well. Shy is one of those kids you may not notice right away but any good coach would recognize her talents with extended viewing.
Akia Harris, 5-6 Point Guard, TN Swarm (Girls’ Prepatory School)
Akia is a crafty point guard with a multitude of spin moves and floaters that she uses just right. She’s also an adequate shooter but it’s her slashing ability that really made her stand out. Harris was a wiry lefty who made things happen offensively for herself and her teammates. Her team struggled at times playing in the 10th grade division but their best players were Harris and the 8th grader Tamia Long.
Tamia Long, 5-9 Wing, TN Swarm (Baylor School)
The thing the initially caught my eye was that Long was firing three’s from all over the place. So my first impression was that she was a shooter and a pretty good one. Later that day I was told she was just an 8th grader playing in the 10th grade division. Then the next day I watched as her team needed her to play the high post versus a zone, she hung out on the foul line and hit jumpers, moved the ball inside out or caught it and drove. For an 8th grader playing up she impressed with her versatility and ability to make the correct reads.
Caitlyn Yost, 5-7 Guard, A-Game 8th Grade (Forrest HS)
Yost is a player I watched a couple times during the high school season as she stared for Forrest High School as an 8th grader. Her athleticism and basketball IQ made her very hard to guard in Disctrict 9A, and as we found out this weekend, she is pretty good in AAU also. Caitlyn has the leaping ability to jump out of the gym, which may come as a surprise until you watch her play, and she has the speed to keep up with anyone. Any time there was a breakdown in a play, we saw her either go get the ball and take over or set a screen for her teammates to get them open to score. Yost can only continue to get better as she is definitely a player to watch in the 2017 class.
KeKe McKinney, 6-0 Forward, Flight Select (Fulton HS)
If you’re looking for a dominating 2017 look no further than here. McKinney is extremely long and athletic, which allowed her to dominate on the boards this weekend. Generally when you dominate the rebounding in a game, you dominate the game, and that was once again the case with KeKe. Her good finishing ability around the rim really stuck out however, she may not have the most polished offensive game yet. When she is able to develop a deeper jumpshot and some more post moves that will only add to her big numbers, and will help her continue to be a great player as she gets older.
Jaquasha Hines, 5-6 Guard, Flight Select (Fulton HS)
What stuck out to me with Hines was her handles; she gets the ball up the court with ease against a press, and is able to penetrate the defense. Her passing ability was quite impressive, she was able to get her teammates easy buckets all weekend long. Jaquasha is also able to step out and knock down the long ball, but needs to work on being more consistent in this area. I think she is well on her way to becoming a D1 guard, and will be a pleasure to watch during her high school career.
Kara Meadows, 6-2 Post, Flight Select (York HS)
Kara is simply as strong as an ox. Her 6-2 frame definitely helps, as there aren’t too many 8th graders around with her size. She is a consistent finisher around the rim, even through contact, which is hard to find, even at the collegiate level. Meadows also showed the ability to knock down free throws as she took some hard fouls from teams attempting to keep her off the glass. Her height alone will make her a dominating player for the rest of her career but her finishing ability absolutely cannot be overlooked as that is what really makes her such a great player.
John McGraw is the Head Women’s Basketball coach at Fisk University and the founder of Insider Exposure, a circuit of NCAA Certified Events. The Insider Exposure website is located at insiderexposure.wordpress.com. You can follow Coach McGraw on twitter @CoachJohnMcGraw
Trevor Goodson is the Assistant Women’s Basketball coach at Fisk University and the Director of Operations for Insider Exposure. You can follow Coach Goodson on Twitter, @CousinTrevvv
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