Young talent steals the spotlight at ATL Summer Slam

August 3, 2013 - 8:33pm
Bianca Cuevas, ranked No. 35 in the Full Court Fresh 50, played well in Atlanta. (File photo by Kelly Kline)

Bianca Cuevas, ranked No. 35 in the Full Court Fresh 50, played well in Atlanta. (File photo by Kelly Kline)

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The ATL Summer Slam features both young teams and a loose format, so teams might play four games or just one.

Regardless, the Clayton State University event exposes a lot of up-and-coming talent to college coaches, though those coaches tended to be from the Southeast and New York City.


Tyra Buss, 5-6 guard, Indiana Elite SWISH Saiko/Mount Carmel High School

Buss is a somewhat controversial player as to her college potential -- the proponents who point to her near 40-point-per-game high school average plus a number of strong showings on the club circuit while others counter that her high school opposition is relatively weak plus that she mostly plays on a weaker club basketball circuit as opposed to the stronger Nike-affiliated loop. As in most cases, the truth lies somewhere in between. After watching Buss in this event, the position taken here is closer to the former than the latter.  She runs very well with the ball and can score in a lot of different ways (drives, pull-ups and perimeter setters). She has very good vision on the break, putting the ball where it needs to go. She needs to strengthen her left-hand dribble and consistently finish on the left with her left hand. While her hands are quick for steals, she should also work to defend more diligently. Regardless, she should positively impact Indiana's program (school to which she has verbally committed) in her freshman year. 

Bianca Cuevas, 5-5 guard, Exodus NYC/Nazareth Regional

It is hard to question Cuevas's talent: She can create a shot for herself or her teammates, and it appears she is trying to involve them more than a year ago but she still needs to step up her intensity on the defensive end. A member of Full Court's Fresh 50 for 2014, she has not yet chosen a school for the next level, and to maximize her potential, whoever gets her must be a coach who she will be willing to run through a wall for every day of the week.  

Jada Johnson, 5-9 guard, KY Retros/Waggener High School

Jada is a skilled offensive player who is tough to defend because of a consistent three-point shot, solid midrange jumper and the ability to finish around the rim. Her strong athletic build gives smaller, less physical guards matchup problems. Jada is an emerging talent, often having played up on older teams where she deferred to teammates, and she stepped up, showing the ability to lead a team in Summer Slam. 


Kiah Gillespie, 6-1 forward, New Heights Blue/Capital Prep

Gillespie has a versatile skill set for a forward. She can attack the basket but also has a nice perimeter stroke and is able to be somewhat of a threat to beyond the arc. Her foot speed is just adequate but she has the ability to suddenly explode to the basket with a nice burst.  With a  medium-solid frame, the BCS schools are already lining up.


Kasha “CC” Austin, 6-0 wing, FGB/Charlton County High School

There are not many players who combine the strength and explosiveness that CC does.  A rare combination of power and finesse, Austin has a myriad of moves and can score from the perimeter and inside in a variety of ways. Really there’s not much Kasha can’t do offensively --she excels at scoring and does so consistently.  Her only drawbacks (reading defense and mental lapses on defense) should be corrected in plenty of time for college. 

Haley Duren, 6-4 post, East Tampa Thunder Elite/Archbishop McCarthy High School

Haley’s a young post who understands the game and how to do the little things young post players often fail to do. She will flash to an open spot, and then stop and seal her defender so she can catch the ball cleanly. She gives the guards a good target hand and calls for the ball. She blocks out consistently and uses a variety of post moves, including a great up-and-under, to score. She’s a willing passer out of the post to open shooters and she does an excellent job of reading defense. She will need to get stronger, however.

Atyanna Gaulden, 5-6 guard, GA Sparks/Coffee County High School

Atyanna puts on a show every time she touches the rock. Her skill level with the ball is through the roof, and her explosiveness gets better as she matures. She is arguably one of the top 2016s nationally and will really start to draw some attention as she gets older. If she develops into a lockdown defender she will be one of those can’t-miss prospects, but she is already a star with her current skillset and is definitely a pleasure to watch.

Cinia McCray, 5-7 guard, Pink Panthers 16U/Proviso West High School

McCray does a lot for her team. Of course, she scores the ball and with a varied diet at that.  She can shoot the three but also drives to the basket both right and left.  On top of that, she is a vocal leader, makes intelligent decisions as to when to do what, and is above average athletically with a medium-solid build.  At the event, BCS coaches were circling her name as a recruiting target.

Delicia Washington, 5-11 guard, FGB/Baker County High School

A thin-framed combo guard, Delicia has experience playing both guard spots. The reality, though, is she's just a player, not totally defined by one position. She has amazing athleticism and uses that and her length to finish in transition, jump passing lanes and get by on-ball defenders. Her jump shot is becoming more consistent and her basketball IQ has increased a great deal from the spring. 

Nia Washington, 5-4 guard, Havoc City Elite 2016/Colonial Forge High School

In Summer Slam, Washington was the tip of the spear for Havoc City (primarily a group of rising sophomores from the District of Columbia and surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia), as she was often the one finishing the play at the rim. She played hard, did not force shots, hit numerous spot-up threes when open, and moved without the ball when not. Like the rest of her team, she played within the concept while showing an above-average degree of athleticism and always good sportsmanship (for example helping an opponent up when she had been knocked down). Like so many of her teammates, she should get Division I offers down the road. However, as a small guard, Washington needs to develop more point guard skills to raise her stock toward the BCS level as currently she appears to be more of a shooting guard.    

Jackie Young, 5-11 shooting guard, Indiana Elite SWISH Saiko/Princeton Community High School

Young is a player who grows on you the more you see her.  Being a young player on an older team, she can defer a lot to the more veteran teammates, but she is well above average athletically and finishes well with either hand. However, she needs to improve her left-hand dribbling.  On offense, she is mostly a driver, but her stroke form on the perimeter looks solid so that area has a chance to grow more productive over time. Possessing a good basketball IQ to complement her medium-solid athletic build, she is already being courted by high-major Division I programs in the Midwest.   


Jordyn Dawson, 5-10 forward, D-1 Greyhounds/Huntington High School

The last time we saw Jordyn was in the spring, and she has grown a couple inches since then as she was only 5-8 at the time. Dawson has all of the physical tools to be a very good player, and she continues to improve and grow. She has above-average athleticism and a decent offensive game -- if she develops her outside shot more she could really be a special player.

Dekeriya Patterson, 5-8 guard, FGB Elite 14U/Dunbar High School

Patterson is typically Floridian in that she is long and athletic in her build. Where she differs from most is in her advanced skill set. She handles the ball well and has a nice pull-up jumper, though she still needs to develop more consistent shooting range and mature in her understanding of situations. About to start high school, she already has a couple of BCS offers on her table.

Savannah Slade, 6-3 post, Team Slink/Stewart County High School

Savannah is one of the best young players in Tennessee. She has an immense amount of potential and has already heard from several schools after her first July on the circuit. She has a very good face-up game and can knock down the mid-range shot with ease. Savannah runs the floor extremely well, and has the ability to affect every rebound -- if she doesn’t grab it for herself she at least gets a piece of it so a teammate has a shot at it. The sky is the limit for this young prospect and she should be an exciting player to watch going forward.

Zaria Wright, 5-6 point guard, NC 76ers/Mallard Creek High School

Sadly, many college coaches at the event may not know this talented player as someone else was listed as wearing her number.  Ironically, Wright's father was part of the coaching staff so this is hard to believe he would have allowed not having his daughter listed (and even worse having someone else with that number in the college coaches' packets. If nothing else, have an accurate roster in the college coaches' packets).  As a player, Wright displays characteristics of a coach's daughter.  She has above-average understanding of the game for a young player, handles the ball well and primarily looks to drive to score finishing well with contact. She needs to add more shooting range but filling in the blanks (and being on the roster), a Division I future at some level awaits her.   


Ally Niece, 5-6 guard, Legacy Elite/Woodland Middle School

We last saw Ally at the Tennessee Miracle Tournament in May and she continues to improve. She still manages to stick out on a very good team, and her shooting abilities have improved. She wowed a few college coaches with her handles and her penetrating abilities, as they could not believe that she was so young. I still believe Niece is one of the top 2018s out of Kentucky, and will stay there as long as she continues to get better.

Mykia Dowdell, 5-11 forward, TN Fury/Robertsville Middle School

We also saw Mykia at the Tennessee Miracle, and we thought she had quite a bit of potential for an undersized post player. It was obvious to me that she has grown a few inches and looked like she could be pushing six feet now. Dowdell definitely has all of the physical tools to be a big-time player and is showing improvement and a willingness to get better. For a player who has only been playing basketball for two years, Mykia is definitely way ahead of everyone else her age. If she continues to work to become an even better offensive player and develops an outside shot. she will be a star, and easily one of the top 2018s in Tennessee.


Shanell Haskins, 5-5 guard, Havoc City Elite 2016/Ernest Just Middle School

Haskins was Havoc City's youngest player but may also be the team's best prospect long term. She has good speed and quickness but yet embraces the team concept that is this club's mantra. Her body looks like it will fill out nicely and hopefully she still has a few inches of growth in her. Already she can spot up for the three-ball and yes, she is already on numerous Division I recruiting charts only entering seventh grade.