94/50 Combine showcases elite talent

October 18, 2013 - 7:53am
Rachel Bell drives to the basket under pressure from Chassity Carter. (Photo by Martin DeKorte)

Rachel Bell drives to the basket under pressure from Chassity Carter. (Photo by Martin DeKorte)

CLARKSVILLE, TN -– The Playmaker Academy, led by Skills Director Terry Boykin, hosted sixty-four of the top girls prep players in the Mid-South region for the inaugural 94/50 Elite Player Combine.  The event offered players an opportunity to develop basketball skills and core athleticism at a total of six well-positioned developmental stations. The individual stations were directed by some of the very best in the business, including former professional player Trenton Hassell.  Many of the participants thought this to be the best way to start their Fall, as the start of the high school season nears. Full Court was there to observe the talent -- here are some of the standouts we took notice of:

Point Guards

The position of point guard can be characterized as the hardest to gauge. Why? -- Because the position takes on varying responsibilities depending on the level of play. Elite point guards must find a balance between scoring and distributing. Elite point guards must also be above average defenders and most importantly, be the leader on the court - the floor general.

Brandi Beasley (5-7 – St. George's HS, Memphis, TN – 2016)

Beasley has been a national circuit performer for some time now and her mentioning among the very best in the state has been there for some time.  A 2016 Full Court watchlist candidate, Beasley has the game and build to be one of the top point guards nationally in the class of 2016.  She’s what we would classify as a “find first” point, meaning she’d rather distribute to open teammates than score.  Her strong ball-handling skills and toughness make her attractive at the next level. Always in attack mode, the Memphis native will need to improve her shooting for both the mid-range and 3-point arch to warrant major consideration for All-American status, but a sure high end Division I prospect in time. (Category: Penetrator, Attacker, Distributor, Rim-Finisher)

Jaida Roper (5-5 – Houston HS, Collierville, TN – 2016)

While many may look at Roper and see a diminutive and petite frame, her game screams like a giant. An absolute wizard with the ball in her hands, Roper showed on countless occasions that there are very few defenders who can stay in front of her as her crafty dribbling skills are effective and effortless. She executes dribble drives with purposes and can get anywhere she pleases on the basketball court with the ball.  Roper also showed the ability to score at a high rate.  Her ability to stretch the defense with three-point shooting makes her a very attractive prospect despite her lack of size and weight.  (Category: Crafty Handler, Lead-Guard, Entertainer, Scoring PG)

Emily Beard (5-6 – Dickson County HS, Dickson, TN-2017)

Beard is a slightly built young point guard with a confident “swag” and an emerging game. As an offensive player, she has a nice floater that she uses to score over bigger defenders in the lane.  She easily navigates in traffic and attacks.  She’s a willing defender. (Category: Lead Guard, Monitoring Prospect, Finesse Player)

Shooting/Off Guards

This position, also often referred to as the wing, is in most cases viewed as the “glamour” position. It’s the position or former position of such greats as Kobe Bryant, Diana Taurasi and most notably Michael “Air” Jordan.  Elite shooting guards must be able to shoot and score the basketball in a variety of ways. While most offenses heavily rely on the services and skills of two wings (shooting guard/wing/small forward) one of those will be required to be an exceptional defender. So it can be said that this position(s) requires, athleticism, length, superior offensive skill set and toughness. 

Rachel Bell (5-10 – Creek Wood HS, Charlotte, TN-2014)

One of the most impressive players of the combine was the high-energy, high-scoring Rachel Bell.  We entered the gym having an idea of who Bell was and what we could expect from her. After all we’ve seen her on the travel ball circuit for a couple of years and knew of her pedigree as a pure shooter.  We walked away realizing that she’s much more than just that.  She has ideal size for the position, a scorer’s mentality and a smooth shooting release.  Bell, a Vanderbilt (SEC) commit showed that she could also be called on to play at the point guard and possesses the toughness and athleticism to be a high-level defender.  (Category: Scorer, High-Volume Shooter, Combination Guard, McDonald’s AA Nominee)

Chassity “Lea Lea” Carter (6-0 – Dickson County HS, Dickson, TN- 2016)

A member of the USA U16 National team, Carter showed every reason why she was a member and will contend for a position on future USA Basketball teams. Standing 6-0 (or slightly taller), Carter already possess superior size for the wing. Her game now is more suited for the small forward spot, due in large part to her inability to consistently connect from the outside. But despite that small shortcoming, and we consider it small because her game offers so much more offensively; she attacks from the wing with a quick first step and has the ability to find cutting teammates.  One of her greatest attributes is her ability to rebound and push in transition.  We marveled at the fact that she’s one of the best rebounding guards you will find and she’s only entering her sophomore campaign. Lea Lea also does an excellent job passing into the post from varying angles on the floor. A gem of a player! (Category: Point Forward, Slasher, Rebounding Guard, All-American Candidate)

Nicole Ungaro (6-0 – St. Benedict HS, Collierville, TN – 2016)

Ungaro has a high basketball I.Q. and has good size for her position. A crafty finisher over the shot blockers and she also finishes well with both hands around the basket. (Category: Power Wing; Cerebral Player; Average Athlete)

Bria Dial (5-9 – Brentwood Academy, Murfreesboro, TN – 2017)

Dial is an exceptional athlete with outstanding speed and quickness.  She has a very good first step and generates most of her offense from her athletic ability.  She has a strong frame with broad shoulders.  She does a good job of defending from the help side and elevates well to contest shots at the rim.  The freshmen prospect must still get better at the offensive skills required to play at the next level, but this is probably the reason she attends such camp as the 94/50 Combine. (Category: Athlete, Monitoring Prospect, Raw Player)

Post/Power Forward

These positions are usually occupied by the tallest players on the floor and because of this they present two noticeable advantages: offensively, they offer the highest percentage of making shots and defensively, they offer the best opportunity to deny an opponent from making shots – both due to the height and proximity to the basket in relations to other smaller players.  But today’s posts are much more than tall players who play offensively on the block. They provide un-matched versatility.

Breanna Boggs (6-2 – Houston County HS, Erin, TN – 2016)

Boggs was one of the more physical posts at the combine. She did a good job posting to the ball hard and making herself available as a scoring post option.  Once she received the ball in the post she did a solid job of gathering and making well-balanced moves to the rim. Boggs lacks elite level foot speed and explosion, this will cause her problems on the defensive end at the next level.  We like her long-term as a mid-major post. (Category: Solid Post, True Post, Mid-Major Prospect, Average Athlete)

Kiana Chew (6-2 – Clarksville Academy, Clarksville, TN – 2017)

Already standing a legitimate 6-2, Chew will be a sure-fire Division I prospect in time.  She runs the floor like a guard now and shows a knack for the ball that is rare for post prospect this young.  She moves well in transition defensively and protects the rim with her exceptional leaping ability.  The Clarksville native has the ability to move to the perimeter in time and this move could make her even more attractive as a prospect.  She lacks strength now and her skills are still very raw, but her upside is tremendous. (Category: Long-Term Potential, High-Level Athlete, Rangy Defender, National Watch List)

Savannah Slave (6-3 – Stewart County HS, Dover, TN- 2017)

Savannah was one of the youngest post at the combine, but she was also the tallest.  What we like most about Savannah’s game now is that she keeps the ball high, making it virtually impossible to block her shot.  Her slender build leads us to believe that she will continue to grow.  Her natural ability to play facing the basket also leads us to believe that she could develop into a stretch forward.  She will need to get much stronger and developing a hook or jump hook could make her a prize recruit in time.  (Category: Long-Term Potential, Shot-Blocker, Face-Up Potential, National Watch List)