Junior achievers at Nike Tournament of Champions
The courts at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix were overflowing with talent last week. The 10-player espnW HoopGurlz Nike Tournament of Champions All-Tournament Team featured four juniors, and here’s a look at five more top recruits in the 2014 class who made a major impression.
Sierra Calhoun, 2014 (Christ the King/Middle Village, N.Y.): The latest star from Christ the King, Calhoun is a 6-foot guard who can put it on the floor and score when needed -- watching her rebound and go coast to coast is a pleasure. With her length and quick feet, Calhoun also makes it hard for smaller guards to get around her.
Mikayla Cowling, 2014 (St. Mary’s/Berkeley, Calif.): Cowling, a force all weekend, helped lead her team to the Joe Smith Division title alongside fellow division MVP Gabby Green. The 6-foot-1 swing player has a knack for owning the ball. The Cal commit can rebound, finish down low and run the floor .
Monique Billings, 2014 (Santiago/Garden Grove, Calif.): Billings is long, athletic and tough, and she’ll surprise you as a post/wing with her slightly undersized frame. The 6-3 undeclared junior can take bigger players off the dribble, absorb contact and get to the rim. Throw up the rock, and Billings is sure to catch it and finish.
Auteaonna Gilmore, 2014 (Riverdale Baptist/Upper Marlboro, Md.) Gilmore, who pushed Riverdale Baptist to the championship game in the top bracket, continues to improve, and her game shows her relentless determination. At 5-8, she is a Tony Parker type of guard who navigates the court with ease and gets to the basket with a knack for using her body well. What makes her special is the way she keeps the ball on a string, then explodes past her defender for a floater in the lane.
Gabby Williams, 2014 (Reed/Sparks, Nev.) Williams made everybody fall in love with her style of play in Phoenix. At 5-9, she has a Scottie Pippen/Derrick Rose finesse, and works hard on both ends of the court, defending much bigger post players. Some players are athletic, but Williams is both skilled and athletic.