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Advantage Basketball Exposure Showcase(2011) Standouts



On July 30-31, 2011, the Advantage Basketball Exposure Showcase took place at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. Upwards of eighty girls ranging from the classes of 2012 to as young as 2016 came to execute drills, receive advice on their high school careers and participate in showcase games.
Chris Smalling, Advantage Basketball Founder and President, put on a showcase aimed at being efficient, yet beneficial for all attendees. “This event, being at the end of the summer schedule which began right at the end of the rep season, has had these girls playing a lot of basketball. I wanted to minimize the length of time the girls were in the gym by limiting the total number of games to two per day as well has having them have the opportunity to demonstrate some specific skills.”
As an added bonus, attendees were treated to guest speaker Stephany Skrba. Skrba, a former Michigan Wolverine was awarded the the Canadian title of 2005 Ms Basketball back in her high school days. She shared her knowledge of the hard work it took for her to succeed at the high school basketball and get to the next level of NCAA competition.
This was the first go at this type of event for Advantage Basketball and with their staff all on deck and helping out, it was well run. Judging by the reaction of the 15+ NCAA coaches in attendance there was well worth the visit.
Now, a quick peek at the player evaluations of some of those that stood out:

Brianna Thomas (5’9″, G/F, Notre Dame (Ajax), 2012)
Brianna demonstrated her ability to play many of the positions on the court. Her ball handling skills and speed used when bringing up the ball for her team showed that she was more than comfortable in that role. She was able to create for her team mates by unselfishly using the ‘drive and dish’ game plan as defensive help came when she drove it to the hole. From the outside, her shooting technique yielded a consistent enough shooting percentage to require defenders to respect her shot. And her post up game, although not her strong suit, was certainly causing matchup problems if up against fine form were on point when she was defended by smaller Guards. This combo Guard showed to be among the leaders of those in the 2012 class at this showcase, and should continue to turn heads over the next year.

Cassandra Edwards (5’10”, SG/SF, Notre Dame (Brampton), 2013)
Cassandra has very good size for a ball player at her position. Along with her size, which she used quite well, she brought some fairly good decision making with her to the Showcase. She often found opportunities to reward her teammates working hard to post up and made some good passes to those slashing towards the basket. She shot well from outside and when she drove towards the basket, was successful at times with some strong finishing moves. I would like to see Cassandra be more consistent when finishing around the basket though. Although she did have some strong takes, there were some attempts that appeared as though she wasn’t in control and ended up a ‘less than textbook’ attempt on goal.

Eternati Willock (6’2″, F, Pope John Paul, 2015)
Eternati has a thin long athletic build that houses athleticism and hustle. Add to that a great basketball I.Q. and you have the recipe for something special. She demonstrated a nice stroke and shot the ball well. Scoring plays were followed up by her hustling back on defense getting a block or helping her team get a stop. Her post moves demonstrate an advanced skill-set on the block and her back to the basket moves are usually accompanied by multiple head and ball fakes while making more than effective use of her pivot foot. It was not uncommon to find her diving on the floor diving for loose balls, sacrificing her body via contact in the paint and going hard on with or without the ball. Even when she went down for a couple minutes after having her leg rolled on by another falling player in the second game of day one, she found the strength to get up, ready to play again. It is this warrior mentality combined with an already impressive skill-set that made her standout in this showcase as a player with an extremely high ceiling.

Gwendera Simon (6’5″, C, David and Mary Thompson, 2013)
Inside the paint is where Gwendera liked to set up shop, and with good reason. On defence she was only limited in blocks due to the alterations opponents had to make to their shots and strategies around her. On offence you could often find her bodying for position and pulling down offensive rebounds for put backs. I often found Gwendera keeping the ball high which was a good sign that she taking advantage of her height and reach, however I would have like to have seen a more consistent finish around the glass as opposed to having to settle for second and third opportunities. I would also like to see more of a fire from within to show more hustle up and down the court and glimpses of more passion for the game.

Carly Flies (5’5″, G, Bishop Tonnes, 2012)
If there was an award for never taking plays off, my nod would have to go to Carly. This Guard showed hustle and tenacity on both sides of the ball. She found a way to handle the pressure brought her way very effectively and was able to make great decisions once she had the ball over half court. She has a great first step when needed but usually looks to involve her teammates as her first option. Her wise decision and I.Q. should make her an asset for any squad.  On ‘D’, I found her to be bother to her opponents, never relenting, always applying pressure while exercising good footwork.

Kayla Davis (5’7″, G, St Margurite D’Youville, 2013)
Heads up ball control, is what Kayla Davis delivered on a consistent basis this weekend. She was continuously buzzing around the offensive glass, being a handful for her opponents and often the outcome was a quite positive. Her lateral movement via footwork was quite commendable as she was often able to keep opponents in front of her when they decided to drive against her. She has speed that defenders will have to be on their toes for as she takes the ball up court. There were however a few times that defenders were able to keep up with her speed, and were able to cause turnovers. Its a situation that wasn’t happening too often, but is one that should be monitored especially against quicker, higher skilled defenders.

Oceana Hamilton (6’3″, C, St Edmund Campion, 2013)
On more than one occaision, it appeared as though Oceana was labouring to keep up with the play. But once she was in the play, she definitely made an impact. Oceana had blocks galore this weekend. On the other end, she was an immovable force, tidily cleaning up rebounds and getting the ball in the bucket. But in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but wonder how much more of a mark she could have left on games, had her fitness level been a bit higher.

Teanna Edman Rowe (5’5″, G, Pickering, 2012)
One of Teanna’s best attributes is the way she handles the ball and the pace in which she can do so. Ball protection while dribbling with either hand seemed to come natually for her. I even caught glimpses of change of speed runs she used to throw off the timing of defenders. That coupled with the low to the ground dribbling style of this 5’5″ Guard, minimized steals from her by her opponents this weekend. Although she did well making sharp passes in tight spaces and drove well to the basket, I feel Teanna would benefit from a more consistent mid-range jumper which may very well round out her attack.

Aliyah Lawson (5’5″, G, 2016)
Although her game is a little rough around the edges, Aliyah showed a lot of energy along with an ability to drive and score. Despite being the youngest at the showcase she was successful at pressuring opposing Guards resulting in multiple steals. It is a feat that is all the more impressive when considering she was a up against guards three and four years older than her. Her naturally left-handed drives often caught defenders off guard. Although I would have like to have seen a more balanced attack by driving and finishing with her right, as well as creating more for her teammates in half court sets, she is certainly an intriguing player that demonstrates a high aptitude and a development worth keeping an eye on.