This time last year all sports were shut down, this was devastating news for Club programs. We had to rely on our personal connections to market our athletes to colleges and help them gain exposure. This year I'm happy to say we are getting back to business. Texas started the summer season off with the Marchfest, hosted by DFW Elite. Marchfest consisted of various top programs in and around the state...all getting ready for evaluation periods and shoe circuits. This event gave our scouts an early look at what the state has to offer.
Starting off with ProSkills 17U EYBL, this program has consistently produced high level athletes for some years now. This year is no different. They have height, depth, and a host of young talent to carry over next year. Led by '22 Amina Muhammad this squad is scary good. All players have the capability to push in transition, and play an uptempo style that highlights everyone's talents. Amina Muhammad is a 6'4 G/F with a crazy motor. I don't think there was a ball she didn't go after. Great hands, great feet, and tough. She played through contact the entire tournament, and she applies a lot of pressure in transition. She doesn't have to rely on guards to push the ball; she goes coast to coast at every opportunity. Already highly touted I can see her upping her status as the season wears on. Another player that caught my eye was '22 Kyla Deck out of Lone Star High School in Frisco. The 5'9 PG is tough as nails and really runs the guard spot. She is tough to keep out of the paint when she wants to get there, and shoots well from the 3. She knocked down 3 balls consecutively in attempt to get her team going. She plays hard nosed defense, and has great size which allows her to play through contact. I'm looking forward to seeing her progress throughout the summer. Most impressive for me was '22 Ayanna Thompson; G/F out of DeSoto who can do it all. She rebounded, knocked down 3s, defended, and put pressure on the defense all tournament long. She is one of few that gives everything on every possession. She is a sneaky good player. At glance you wouldn't know it, but she made plays almost every time down the court...she is certainly the one to watch.
SA Finest 17U has the size, shooting, and skill to compete with anyone. Although their best player '22 Ashlon Jackson is out, they still managed to look far better than everyone in the tournament. '22 Christine Iwuala & 23' Sammie Wagner are a load to handle for Reagan HS, and they pose the same inside and outside problem in summer ball. Both are very physical and skilled. They beat teams up on the interior, and will shoot the lights out on exterior. Along with VT signee '22 Carleigh Wenzel. With all that star power on a roster you would think there isn't room for anyone else. Introducing the babies of the bunch, and when I say babies I mean 25 & 26 classes respectively. LA Sneed '25 played like she has been doing this for years, and she actually has. Her name has been ringing on the grassroots scene since she was in the 5th grade. She plays with poise and control, she doesn't do anything outside of her comfort zone. She shot pretty good; which isn't her strong suit, so I'm looking for her to really develop that 3 ball, over the course of summer. Another baby baller was '26 Bella Fleming. You can tell she is young, but handles her own on the stage. She makes the right play, and lets the older girls carry the load. It's about gaining confidence for her right now.
CyFair Elite 17U EYBL - Warren is really good. They play a very up-tempo style of game, and it works well for them; multiple 4 star athletes with elite size and quickness. '23 Chloe Clardy is as advertised, long athletic, with a great feel for the game. She is capable of reeling off points effortless, but I would like to see her assert herself more often during the course of the game. '23 Rylee Grays is an elite athlete. She defended, rebounded, and ran the floor all tournament; everything you want from a post presence. She has a high motor, and is very physical in the paint. She defended on the perimeter with ease and confidence. It appears that she is still figuring out her body, and what it can do. Her potential is scary high.
Drive Nation 17U EYBL took a loss to Texas U early, but showed very well. They have excellent guard play, and '22 Laila McLeod a 5'10 do it all G/F, is very smooth out there. Everything seems effortless, and she plays with grit and motor. Laila got anywhere she wanted on offense, as no one could contend with her size and athleticism. Don't let the loss fool you. It's early in the season, and players are just getting acclimated to new teams. Drive nation has been a premier club for some years now, and I don't see them coming down.
The last team that impressed me was Cal Stars Red. This team played together, they have multiple guards that can handle and shoot, but they just play as a good team. You don't get the sense of anyone trying to stand out. One player that I did notice was '22 Faith Shelton. The 6'2 wing played solid all tournament. I loved her ability to push the ball in transition and make the right play. She possesses an automatic mid-range pull-up that she often resorted to.
The team to keep an eye on is Texas U. They have multiple guards that compete hard. They didn't shy away from competition. Not having a roster made it difficult to highlight players, but definitely keep your eyes on them as the summer continues. '22 Cammie Mckinney is a lefty guard with a lot of bounce. She is difficult to keep in front of you, because of her quickness. Watched her get to the bucket at will. I'll look forward to seeing them on the UAA circuit this summer.
Faith Shelton - Cal Stars Red
Talana Lepolo - Cal Stars Red
Gabriela Jaquez- Cal Stars Red
Laila McLeod - Drive Nation
Ayanna Thompson - ProSkills
Amina Muhammad - ProSkills
Kyla Deck - ProSkills
Christine Iwuala - SA Finest
Carleigh Wenzel - SA Finest
Cammie Mckinney - Texas U
Lydia Cooke Wiggins - Texas U
Rylee Grays - CyFair Elite
Chloe Clardy - CyFair Elite
Maddie Cox - ProSkills
Breya Cunningham - Cal Stars Red
Sammie Wagner - SA Finest
Next Stop San Antonio for the ShesBallin Extravaganza