Passthaball & Project Basketball put on the Queens Court Skills Academy & Showcase. Was able to bring out the top talent in Northern California under one roof to see the talent up close in action.
WALNUT CREEK,Calif. -- The stars were definitely out at the Queen's Court Skills Academy & Showcase June 14, as many of Northern California's crop of elite players made an appearance at the well-run event.
As always, Gabby Green of St. Mary's of Berkeley, ranked No. 8 in the 2014 Full Court Fresh 50, impressed with her 6-2 size, smooth play and basketball IQ, but that's to be expected from a member of the USA Basketball U19 team that will be playing in the World Championships later this summer.
No. 25 ranked Mariya Moore, a 6-0 2014 forward from Salesian High School, and No. 40 Mikayla Cowling, a 6-0 2014 wing from St. Mary's of Berkeley, also lived up to their elite status during a three-hour session that combined skills and games. (And credit to organizer Marissa Holbert and lead instructor/coach Kelvin Potts, who wisely didn't try to make the showcase more than three hours long. Kids, and coaches, get tired, and three hours is just about as far as they all can pushed.)
Asha Thomas (5-5, 2015) and Aisia Robertson (5-7, 2015), both from Bishop O'Dowd, were two of the many standout guards, along with 5-2 Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman (2015) of Berkeley High.
Of course, with three games going on at once, great things could have been happening on a court that wasn't under observation at that moment, so by no means were the above players the only ones who showed well.
All in all, though, it was a great opportunity to see many of NorCal's best in one spot, and a chance for lesser-known players to measure themselves against the top players in the area.
Player evaluations from event organizer Marissa Holbert
Nadene Hart, 6-1, 2014, center/foward, Scotts Valley High/San Jose Metro
At her height, Hart has a soft touch and can consistently knock down shots outside the paint.
Lexi Tubbs, 5-11, 2014, guard/foward, Modesto Christian/Stanco Stampede
Tubbs impressed me by taking it to the rim and stroking the three, she has very nice shooting form. Definitely a scorer.
Mariah Williams, 6-0, 2014, forward, Vanden High/Cal Ballaz
I enjoy watching Williams play because she is so aggressive and very active on both ends of the floor. She attacks the rim if she sees an open lane or knocks down the jumper if given space. Very solid athlete.
Desire Finnie, 5-10, forward, 2014, Berkeley High/Cal Ballaz
Finnie is a very athletic player that will give you points and steals and is fun to watch when she is in the zone. Her shot has definitely improved and this is a must have player on your team because she hustles, gets rebounds, gets steals, your all around utility player.
Jasmine Hampton, 5-11, forward, 2014, Modesto Christian/EBX
Hampton surprised me with moves I never thought she could do, which keeps me interested in following her development. She came out ready, and she plays better when she attacks the rim and uses her foot work. I want to see more offense and more attacking the basket, two things she is capable of.
Geanna Summers Luaulu, 5-9, guard, 2014, Sacred Heart/Cal Stars
This player does a little bit of everything, scoring with or without the ball. She knows how to create offense for herself by constantly moving. She can get the put back,rebound, or steal. Very smart player and a definite offensive player when given the opportunity. Keep an eye out for her.
Erika Bean, 5-7, guard, 2015, Bradshaw Christian/NorCalSparks
Bean is definitely becoming more aggressive on the offensive side and is proving she can score. She played very well on both ends of the floor and made some nice passes. Every time I see her play her game has improved.
Antuanisha Wright, 5-6, guard, 2015, Emery High/FBC
Wright is definitely under the radar. She's very athletic and can score, shoot, and pass. Plays with confidence and not afraid to go at any player.
Kelea Dennis, 6-1, forward/center, 2015, Oakland Tech/Team Mariani
Dennis is a solid player who is mostly playing in the paint because of her size, but needs to consider playing forward to extend her range outside the key. Defensively she can guard the rim and can score with ease down low. She has a lot of potential and will have even more once she adds an outside jumper and some handles to her game.
Marcella Hughes, 5-6, point guard, 2015, Carondelet/Cal Stars
Hughes can knock down the three easily, don't leave her open. She has definitely improved, as her confidence came around she produced more on the offensive side and is not afraid to attack the rim by any means.
Lexi Thompson, 5-4, guard, 2015, Merced High/Stanco Stampede
Thompson caught my attention with a reverse layup, mainly because not too many girls can finish this shot regularly. She's a solid player that can definitely shoot and finish shots down the lane. Good court vision that finds the open teammate.
Madison Witcher, 5-6, 2016, point guard, Cosumnes Oaks/NorCalSparks
Even though she's young, Witcher plays smart and knows when the opportunity is there to score. She surprised me with some of the moves she put on. As she progresses I want to see more attacking and scoring.
Aliceah Hernandez, 5-9, guard, 2016, Sacramento High/ NorCalSparks
Hernandez is a definite shooter and offensive threat. When she's hot she gets in the zone and does not miss! Another exciting player to watch that has some moves. She looks to score if you give her too much room in three-point land or if she sees an open lane.
Keana Delos Santos, 5-7, guard, 2016, Miramonte High/Cal Stars
Delos Santos is a nice player in the making. She reads the floor well, dishes to open teammates, and knows when to score. Keep an eye on this one.
Kat Tudor, 5-10, foward, 2016, St. Mary's Stockton
Tudor is another sharp shooter that gets hot. She has a lot of potential in the future, would love to see her add some point guard tendencies.
Sierra Smith, 5-5, point guard, 2017, St. Mary's Stockton/Stockton Mavs
Smith is going to be a dangerous player in the future, she can already hand with the big dogs! I enjoy watching this very athletic player, that plays both ends of the floor. Her future is very bright if she sticks with it.
Middle School Mentions
Brianna Claros, 5-1, point guard, 7th Grade, Palo Alto Midnight
This girl went to work and turned everyone's head. For her age, Claros pulled off some nasty moves that had everyone thinking she was in high school. Definite bright future if she sticks with it. Great talent.
Llmar'l Thomas, 5-11, forward, 8th Grade, MRC Rebels
At her size, Thomas is definitely hard to guard. She can put the ball on the floor or post up down low. She will pose a threat in the future especially if she continues to grow. A must watch!
Anjel Galbraith, 5-0, guard, 6th Grade, Nor Cal Future
I love how Galbraith attacks the rim and plays very hard. She put up some difficulty shots in the game, very exciting to watch because she plays uptempo.
Milan Tuttle, 4'11, guard, 4th grade, Nor Cal Future
Tuttle is tough and handled herself well against the older competition. Her foot work is pretty good for her age and I was surprised buy some of the pump fakes and moves she showed off. Definitely keep an eye on this one.
Stella Kailahi, 5-10, forward, 8th grade, Palo Alto Midnight
Kailahi has great size and skills at her position. She can put the ball on the floor and get to the rack. Another offensive threat at the next level.
Makayla Edwards, 5-7, forward, 6th grade, Nor Cal Future
This player is just unbelievable! Edwards can hit a step back from three-point land and can handle the rock. If she continues to grow it's scary how good of a player she can be.
Nyah Willis, 5-6, guard, 6th grade, Santa Teresa
Willis is a very aggressive type player. I love the intensity she brings especially on defense, there is no quit in her!
Leilani Augmon, 5-4, guard, 6th grade, South Bay Elite
Augmon has some nice moves that get her to the rack. I like how she plays and what she does on the floor. She can definitely distribute the ball the open teammate.
May Blake, 4-6, point guard, 4th grade, Stockton Mavs
Blake definitely has some nice ball handling skills and can finish at the rim. Definitely has a lot of potential as she gets older. Be on the lookout.
- California teams dominate the West Coast Premier Invitational
- Chaminade takes charge at the West Coast Jamboree
- Plenty of talent at California state championships