Amaria McNear (#13) and Kirsten Deans of Phoenix Elite (PC: Bob Corwin)
Bigger and better than ever
By Bob Corwin
Played on 22 courts under one roof at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this year’s ATL Summer Slam in its tenth year saw 289 teams (up from 225 last year) do battle from July 23-26. Presented by Insider Exposure, over 350 college coaches running the gamut from NCAA Division 1 to junior college evaluated the field for at least one day of the event. Most were from the eastern 2/3 of the country, kind of mirroring where the teams in the event came from.
Too much too see
With so many teams to canvas, it was hard to see teams more than once in looking for some of the best performers to single out. On the few occasions, I was able to see a team a second time. It was worth noting that sometimes different players would step to the forefront, making you wonder if you were watching the same team as earlier in the tournament. This should be a caution to all new college evaluators to be certain to see prospects multiple times and as possible, in both club and high school setting.
Some Summer Slam title game results
Due to obligations to attend other events as Summer Slam was concluding, we are only presenting the result of top divisions in various age groups without any additional commentary.
17U (two 32-team divisions):
Hulk Hogan Championship Final: 1Dream 17U (Huntersville, North Carolina) 59-56 Stars Elite 2019 Red – Garner (Merchantville, New Jersey)
Rick Flair Championship Final: New World Elite (Landover, Maryland) 66-51 Boston Showstoppers – 11th (Boston, Massachusetts)
Sophomores (or younger):
Shawn Michaels HBK Championship Final: FGB Team Delicia Washington 10 th (Jacksonville, Florida) 52-47 Rivals 10th Gold (Haverhill, Massachusetts)
Freshmen (or younger):
American Dream Dusty Rhodes Championship Final: Flight Select Silver 2021 (Knoxville, Tennessee) 65-57 Become One WBB 2021/22 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Eighth grade (or younger):
Jimmy Super Fly Snuka Championship Final: AR Dazzlers 2022 (Conway, Arkansas) 61-42 WV Thunder Buchanan 2022 (Huntington, West Virginia)
Players below are listed alphabetically within graduation year with listed height, position, and club team. Home town is in parenthesis. All players discussed below are likely to be recruited at some level of NCAA Division 1.
Mya Bembry, 6-0, shooting guard, iExcel Junior Walter (West Orange, New Jersey)
Bembry is an athletic wing with a finesse style. She can shoot the three, pass or attack the basket. At times, she could be a bit more willing to take contact. A Power 5 prospect, the right fit could be important here.
Kirsten Deans, 5-7, point guard, Phoenix Elite (Greensboro, North Carolina)
Deans competes hard backing down from no opponent. Number one option is to attack going left or right (stronger hand). She can shoot from the mid-range. She has offers from the Power 5 level down.
Klarke Sconiers (#31) and Mya Bembry of iExcel Junior Walter (PC: Bob Corwin)
Nirel Lougbo, 5-10, point guard, Rivals Platinum Gauntlet (Methuen, Massachusetts)
Loubo is explosive looking to attack the basket in the quarter court and get out on the fast break when possible. A good athlete having offers from the Power 5 level down, she still could improve her left-hand dribble and her shooting range.
Amaria McNear, 6-4, center, Phoenix Elite (Kernersville, North Carolina)
McNear missed last high school season with an ACL tear. She covers a good bit of territory to get to block a shot. In the paint, she can hit face-up shots. There is a Power 5 upside with this prospect.
Angelique Ngalakulondi, 6-2, power forward, Rivals Platinum Gauntlet (Andover, New Hampshire)
Ngalakulondi’s biggest asset may be a good motor. She can rebound out of area and defensively reads passing lanes better than most. Offensively she has a mid-range face-up stroke but still has some growth needed in her offensive arsenal. She has offers from the Power 5 level and down.
Madeline Plank, 5-11, point guard, Exodus NYC EYBL 17U (Briarcliff Manor, New York)
A well-built lefty, Plank is productive game after game. She runs the offense, will score via drive or perimeter shot within the offensive framework, is physical and generally makes good decisions with the ball. A lot of Power 5 schools wanted her but Plank has opted to oral to Princeton in the Ivy League.
Klarke Sconiers, 6-2, power forward, iExcel Junior Walter (Rosedale, New York)
Sconiers is a blue collar, physical, lunch bucket, in-the-paint operator. Her motto is hit the boards early and often. She has Power 5 offers.
Camryn Taylor, 6-2, power forward, Example Sports 17U (Peoria, Illinois)
Taylor may be described as highly athletic but as yet a bit raw. She has a Power 5 upside and offers that support that. She can block shots and score around the basket just needing to add some polish to the existing framework.
Tracey Hueston, 6-1, power forward, BWSL 16 Wilson (Roanoke, Virginia)
It is often hard to evaluate a Boo Williams (BWSL) team as they have so many division 1 prospects taking turns dominating the action. In our one viewing, Hueston stepped up. She has a good motor, is physical and primarily scores in the paint occasionally stepping out to shoot on the perimeter. With a fairly solid frame, she can take the knocks in the paint. Power 5 schools are monitoring her maturation.
Madeline Plank of Exodus NYC EYBL 17U (PC: Bob Corwin)
Natalija Marshall, 6-5, power forward, Exodus NYC EYBL 17U (Forest Hills, New York)
Marshall has been a very highly regarded Power 5 prospect for several years. If the summer was an indication, high potential is starting to be translated into high level production on a more regular basis. Light on her feet, she can score near the rim with her face-up stroke at mid-range improving.
Sonia Citron, 6-1, guard/forward, Hoopers NY 2020 Elite (Scarsdale, New York)
Citron is unusual in that she can play multiple perimeter positions on the court. She can fill in at point, shoot the ball from the perimeter and drive the baseline. She is more finesse than physical (an area which could stand some improvement given the physical nature of high level D1 basketball where she is being recruited).
Morgan Dillard, 5-8, point guard, DME 2020 (Sanford, Florida)
Dillard is a quality athlete who can attack and finish going left or right willing to give the ball up to more open teammates. Perimeter shooting is the area needing most work as results from there are inconsistent at best. Power 5 programs should be monitoring her progress.
Jillian Hollingshead, 6-4, power forward, Lady Rebels Platinum (Marietta, Georgia)
Hollingshead is one of the top prospects of the 2021 class in the Deep South. Now filling out and more strongly built, she remains light on her feet yet taking contact well. She can finish with either hand at the rim but also has a nice face-up stroke.
Paris Clark, 5-9, guard, Exodus NYC EYBL 16U (Huntington, New York)
Athletic and lean in build, Clark has a Power 5 upside. She can shoot the three and attack the basket just needing physical maturation.
Sonia Citron of Hoopers NY 2020 Elite (PC: Bob Corwin)
Kailyn Gilbert, 5-8, guard, FGB Future (Lutz, Florida)
Gilbert plays both the point and shooting guard slots but is probably more point guard long term. She can hit the three but is probably more drive-oriented. Her development should be monitored from the Power 5 level and down.
Skye Owen, 5-7, point guard, iExcel Freshman Zetta (Staten Island, New York)
One way to describe Owen might be “zippy” as she is in constant motion. She handles well, has good court vision and can get to the rim. A bit thin as yet, she surprisingly has good body control in traffic. Perimeter shooting is the area that probably needs the most work. Her development should be monitored from the Power 5 level and down.
Vanessa Polk, 6-1, center/power forward, St. Louis Eagles 2022 (St. Louis, Missouri)
With a strong body and good hands, Polk is already a shot blocker. Scoring is currently around the basket so building a bit of range would be beneficial. Division 1 programs from the Power 5 level down should be monitoring her maturation.
Vanessa Polk of St. Louis Eagles 2022 (PC: Bob Corwin)
Chloe Clardy, 5-8, point guard, AR Dazzlers 2022 (Conway, Arkansas)
One of the top guards in the 2023 class, Clardy already has Power 5 schools lining up to offer her. With good size, she handles well able to attack left or right. Her court vision and basketball IQ are above average. The outside shot is there but needs to become more consistent. At Summer Slam she led her team to the title in its division.
Emma Risch, 5-11, guard/forward, East Coast United 2022 Futures (Melbourne, Florida)
Risch is light on her feet needing to get physically stronger as she currently can get bumped around disrupting her game. What is special is that she can score off the bounce and reads screens well. Her basketball IQ is advanced for her age. Power 5 schools are already monitoring her maturation.
Chloe Clardy of Arkansas Dazzlers 2022 (PC: Bob Corwin)