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2014 USJN DC 17U Tournament Standouts



TW Bluehounds 17UFar and away the most successful Canadian Team throughout the 2014 edition of the USJN DC 17U Tournament was the TW Bluehounds out of Montreal, QC.

The Bluehounds advanced out of Pool V with a 3-2 record, good enough for second place in their Pool of five others and allowing them to advance to the Consolation Playoffs of the Gold Division against other teams that finished second in their pool.

After a victory in the Quarter-Finals over New Hampshire’s New England Crusaders 16 Murphy and a Semi-Final win over Toledo Elite 17 Flight, they were fortunate enough to make it to the Gold Division Consolation Finals against Virginia’s Cardinal Elite 16. However, that is where the magical run would end, as they lost their third game of the day to the Cardinal Elite team that appeared to still have lots left in the tank.

In all, there were 17 Canadian teams taking part in this tournament, here are just a few names of the players that stood out:


Sarah St-Fort

Sarah St-Fort
St-Fort is peaking at just the right time in her development. The college coaches that may have been sleeping on her before hand, had quickly woken up from their slumber with the performance she put on throughout this event. Putting the team on her back, St-Fort logged some serious minutes from the 2-Guard spot, displaying an almost unrivalled athleticism in each of the eight games her Bluehounds played in over the four days.  She was among those whose recruiting stock had risen tremendously on the back of her effort in this tournament.

Sirah Diarra
Among the best bigs available in the Canadian 2015 Class, Diarra is continuing her development quite nicely. The SLAM CAMP Post showed well in this tournament and often brought on double team attention when her team was on the offensive end. One of the things I have noticed with her is her improved decision making. The art of know just what you bring to the table from a skills point of view, and being comfortable to play within that skill-set and knowing what and when to execute based on positioning, defensive set and defender appears to have sunken in with her more now than in the past. As she continues to understand that balance, and improve on her repertoire, her recruiting will only continue to benefit.

Idil Turk and Yagmur Bul
When watching the lone BC contingent in the tournament, I couldn’t help but notice the couple of players seemed to bring a unique angle to the game. Two of 3D Elite Basketball’s standout Guards, PG Yagmar Bul and G Idil Turk both hail from the country of Turkey, bringing their European influence to their games in this tournament with good skill with their Turkish influence. While Turk stood out because of some pretty good shooting from the perimeter, Bul made more of an impression on me. As a PG, she found creative ways to make something out of nothing on her way to the basket. Although her finish around the basket is not as consistent as one would like, she routinely employed a decent change of speed and drive and dish strategies to give herself the best opportunity for her and her team to be successful.

Esme Pajkovic
Need size? How does the sound of a solidly built, 6’3” Post sound to you? Pajkovic had done a good job in the gym over the past year or so to get herself to where she is now. Her fitness level is much improved. She runs the floor much better. She has even developed a fairly decent 10-15 foot jumper. At the next level, her bread and butter will be doing damage on the block. While that has improved some, I believe that there is still room for increased productivity in that department. Maintaining position throughout her post moves, and powering through expected contact would help a great deal. And if she can make the strides she has in these areas as she has in others (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility), she could be that beast of a player that no opponent wants to deal with. And that would sound great for any team at the next level.


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