There we’re more than 15 Canadians teams at this year’s USJN National Championships held in Washington, DC. The event, primarily featured team she in the 17U and 16U age brackets, and took place between July 22-25.
The following are just a few of the Canadians that stood out:
Class of 2018
When one looks past the small size of this dynamic Point Guard, one comes to appreciate the effort that she put forth throughout her team’s semi-final run in this event. She showed the ability to score at all three levels, earning the respect of all those that opposed her. That respect earned her many different strategies by the teams she faced in terms of the sets of pressure she faced in the open and half court, each of which Niles handled with great poise and quite a bit of success. Whether keeping her dribble alive, making great reads or creating separation in the open court, as she has done in this event, she will be quite a valued asset to a fortunate post secondary school because of her ability to do a lot of what one would expect from a Point Guard.
Class of 2019
The coming out party for Makolo appears to have been a successful one. Having watched her play a handful of times in DC, it appeared as though she made all of the adjustments necessary in order to excel against the American competition she faced. Having been a member of the Canadian National team, she had already begun turning heads. And with routine athletic plays such as the baseline reverse layup play that she drove from the the outside corner complete with the impressive hang time to finish off the move, she impressed even more. As a key contributor to her team’s success with a good showing in Pool play and eventually making it to the semi-finals she will undoubtedly gain lots of interest from teams looking to get in on the ground floor of her recruiting.
Tuchscherer looked very strong and played the role of a legitimate stretch four quite superbly. With her 6’2″ frame, she not only ran the floor very well she demonstrated that she has no problem starting the break. And, if the opportunity presented itself, she had no problem going end to end and driving in for a score. She looked very comfortable when she had the ball at the top of the key, or in the corner and made good decisions on whether to pass, shoot or drive. She shot the ball really well from 3-point land in games against the Vogues and the Philly Belles EYBL, and is certainly among the brightest of stars, coming from Canada’s west coast.
Denys played for Blue Star Ontario and stood out for a number of reasons. Her size for the type of game she played, drew mismatches that she made a good job taking advantage of. She is a good passer making her time on the perimeter fruitful. I found being able to make good reads and lead her teammates making cuts to get the ball in a position to make a successful play. As well, she appeared to continually look for being matched up against smaller Guards, who she looked to take advantage of, by taking advantage of her post-up ability.
Class of 2020
Web is an offensive minded Two-Guard that caused a lot of problems for her opposition. She was strong and proved over and over that she was willing to absorb contact, in a freight train like manner. This automatically created problems for opponents that quickly realized that they were in for a battle when matched up against her and was one of the key reasons why her team went 5-0 in pool play. There were however, times where I noticed that using a pull-up jump shot may have been a wiser decision instead of an all out drive to the basket. When this skill eventually gets incorporated into her game, it would keep defences guessing in future trips down the floor and would provide another outlet she could rely on when should driving lanes be too tight.
Class of 2023
In a world where eye rolling and ‘I know better than you coach’ attitudes are evident, it is always refreshing to see a player buck the trend and humble themselves enough to trust the process. Through various games in the tournament Thompson could be seen absorbing and then applying the instructions she had been given by her Bluehounds 13 Coach. And, when she took to the floor and applied her learnings to her length and athleticism, she was able to yielded her some standout success in scoring and rebounding. I would like to see her play a little less upright in her own end of the court, which would allow her to become more of a lock down defender. To her credit, she did show some of this in spurts, indicating that the potential is there, along with plenty of time to ensure that it becomes a mainstay in her toolkit. And with her willingness to take and apply instructions, the future for her is looking very bright.