2016 guard Sabrina Ionescu helped guide the Cal Stars to the championship game of Nike Nationals. (Photo by Kelly Kline)
2016 guard Sabrina Ionescu helped guide the Cal Stars to the championship game of Nike Nationals. (Photo by Kelly Kline)

Noteworthy freshmen and sophomores from Nike Nationals

Staff Writer
August 8, 2013 - 9:42am

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- At the 2013 Nike Nationals held recently in North Augusta, South Carolina, in numerous cases it was not easy to evaluate 2016 and 2017 players as they often took a back seat to older participants on their respective teams.  In a few cases it was yet hard to understand why rising freshmen and sophomores were on National Division teams and not down in the Juniors Division as they were getting very limited playing time.  Regardless, there was plenty in these classes to digest from what was presented.  Often you could see the talent was pretty obvious but with so much ground to cover and so few eyeballs to do it with, in some cases the evaluations below are not nearly as detailed as were presented in the report on 2015 class players. Again, the list below is not meant to represent the fifteen best prospects of this class at Nike Nationals but rather something that stood out for however briefly at this event.  Almost all should however be monitored by major division one programs! 

Player are listed alphabetically with home town in parenthesis.

2016

Sydnei Archie, 5-11, small forward, Monacan High School/ BWSL 15U Elite (Richmond, Virginia)

Archie is a player with a varied skill set thanks in part to good size and medium-solid build.  She has three-point range but is not afraid to attack the basket.  For a perimeter player she appears to hit the boards hard. 

Katie Benzan, 5-5, point guard, Nobles and Greenough School/NE Crusaders 15U (Wellesley, Massachusetts)

Benzan carried a heavy load for the Crusaders.  She was the team's primarily ball handler but also was called on to score primarily via three-balls.  Benzan plays hard and seems to have a good basketball IQ.  How she develops (currently a modest medium build) physically may determine just how high she will go as to division one offers. 

Jaelyn Brown, 6-0, small forward, Vista Murrieta High School/Cal Sparks (Murrieta, California)

Brown will likely rank high in the 2016 class when all is said and done.  A lefty, she has an athletic, medium-solid build.  She is a good passer who already seems to understand how to enter the ball to the post.  For individual offense she has a nice mid-range jumper.  Playing in the Nationals Division, her confidence appeared to be growing from when viewed in April.   

Crystal Dangerfield, 5-5, point guard, Blackman High School/Tennessee Flight Silver - 16U Nike Nationals (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)

Dangerfield, the co-MVP at the Battle in the Boro, had an inconsistent week by the high standards she is setting for herself.  As the saying goes, she showed flashes of high quality play but still has to refine her understanding of running a high-powered team.  It is a lot to expect one of the youngest players on the team to be the team leader.  Given everything it was a good summer for this talented rising sophomore and her team! 

Chelsea Dungee, 5-11, small forward, Preston High School/Cy-Fair Team Ogwumike (Okmulgee, Oklahoma)

Dungee, a member of the USA 16U team, had a reserve role for Team Ogwumike but she handled it well.  Of fairly solid build, she can attack the basket but also showed three-point range.  She did not look to force shots but took what was given her in what was often limited minutes.  She runs the court adequately but appears to be more skill player than super athlete.  

Courtney Fredrickson, 6-2, forward, Minnetonka High School/MN North Tartan 15 (Shorewood, Minnesota)

Fredrickson is a more power than small forward but has some of each in her.  A lefty with medium-solid build, she likes to drive (likes spin moves) the key and baseline.  She is a good passer on the perimeter but also a physical player who can block shots when she is in the paint. 

Sabrina Ionescu, 5-10, guard, Miramonte High School/Cal Stars Nike Elite (Walnut Creek, California)

Ionescu is becoming a regular write-up on Full Court.  Starting at point guard for the National Division runners-up, she carried a heavy burden of ball handler and scorer.  The highlight of her time in North Augusta may have been her 25-point outing in the Stars 74-66 Gold Bracket quarterfinal win over the Cal Sparks. She still needs to improve her ball handling and her 3-ball takes time to load up.  Currently versus high level opposition, she appears to be more productive as a driver than long range bomber.  She also needs to be more patient about not getting the ball when open on the wing as she demonstrated frustration that usually doesn't sit well with teammates.  Even if you are talented (perhaps long term the most talented player on the team), older players are not always going to give you the ball when you want it.       

Ciera Johnson, 6-4, center, Duncanville High School/DFW Elite Gold (Duncanville, Texas)

If Duncanville goes undefeated again this year, Johnson's transfer to the school is likely to be one of the reasons.  A likely BCS prospect, she is a well-skilled post player with a variety of moves around the basket.  Decently athletic, she understands the game and does not force matters unnecessarily.

Stephanie Jones, 6-1, forward, Aberdeen High School/Fairfax Stars 16U (Havre De Grace, Maryland)

Jones could be accused of being one of those young players who often deferred to older teammates in the Nationals Division. She can seemingly be quiet and then explode to the basket and do so in the context of the offense. Regardless of where she stood on this team, she ranks high in the 2016 class.    

Makenzie Meyer, 5-9, guard, Mason City High School/All Iowa Attack - Mauro (Mason City, Iowa)

Meyer can play either guard slot.  She handles the ball well but also can go over to the off-guard slot and shoot threes.  She runs the court well and understands the game. 

Nancy Mulkey, 6-9, center, Cy-Woods High School/Cy-Fair Team Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas)

Of medium build, Mulkey still needs to bulk up some given her great height.  As to skill, she has a nice mid-range shot facing up in the key.  She runs the court well and has good hands.  Another USA U16 team member, she has made great progress over the last year and can hold her own as a member of Texas's super 2016 class.

Leaonna Odom, 6-0, forward, Los Alamitos High School/Cal Storm Team Taurasi (Los Alamitos, California)

Odom was unfortunately one of those players that did not get viewed as intensely as she deserved by this source.  She has a lanky build, runs and jumps well and for a young player 'playing up' seemed to have a lot of poise on the court.  A likely BCS prospect was the conclusion based on limited viewing.

Genesis Parker, 5-7, shooting guard, Bishop O'Connell High School/Fairfax Stars 15U (Bristow, Virginia)

Parker was the best player on this Stars team in North Augusta.  A lefty of medium build, she has three-point range.  At times she settles too easily for the perimeter shot and needs to become more consistent in her shooting but will be a high major prospect when everything is tallied up.     

Alexis Sevillian, 5-6, point guard, Goodrich High School/Michigan Crossover 15U (Goodrich, Michigan)

With medium-solid build, Sevillian showed strong skills at both ends of the court. On offense she showed three-point range and a mid-range jumper.  She played aggressive on ball defense but also read the passing lanes well.

Kayla Washington, 6-0, power forward, Cajon High School/West Coast Premier 15U (San Bernardino, California)

Washington played primarily in the paint.  On offense, she showed a face-up stroke and was willing to use her medium-solid build to post up.  She also showed a willingness to put the ball on the floor for a dribble or two and go hard to the basket.  At the other end, she showed a willingness to be active on defense and athletic enough to block a shot on occasion.  Given her size, building shooting range should be a high priority.  

2017

Ayanna Clark, 6-1, power forward, Long Beach Poly/Cal Sparks 2015 U Blue (Long Beach, California)

Clark has a chance to be a very good power player.  She is already strongly built (yet very mobile) and can hit the boards hard.  She has a nice mid-range face up stroke and is already capable of stepping out beyond the arc on occasion.  On top of all this she has an advanced understanding of the game for a very young player.

Anastasia Hayes, 5-6, point guard, Hendersonville High School/Tennessee Flight Silver - 15U Nationals (Hendersonville, Tennessee)

Of medium-thin build, Hayes handles the ball well with above average foot speed and quickness.  For offense, she is currently more driver than perimeter shooter but her stroke mechanics on her foul shot looked ok.  With Crystal Dangerfield and Hayes on board, the Flight look well stocked in the lead guard area for several years into the future.       

Autumn Newby, 6-1 forward/center Archer High School/Georgia Metros 15U Elite (Lawrenceville, Georgia)

For a player just entering high school, Newby has an advanced understanding of play in the key.  Her hands are good for catching the ball.  She can put it on the floor to re-position.  Newby can also drive a few dribbles going from high post or along the baseline to the basket.  She is a decent passer and her foul shot mechanics looked good so hopefully she can use that as a basis to build shooting range.

Taya Robinson, 5-9, point guard, Huguenot High School/ BWSL 15U Elite (Richmond, Virginia)

Robinson was another member of our Nike Nationals Full Court good motor club.  Offensively she is a driver with medium build.  She needs to build range, but the basis of her foul shot mechanics looked good so hopefully this will occur.

Makayla Stanley, 6-3, center, Glen Allen High School/BWSL 15U Elite (Glen Allen, Virginia)

BWSL had a lot of very young talent and here is yet another worth knowing about.  Stanley is strongly built but not beefy. She runs well and is a good passer. Her court presence is advanced for her age.


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