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After enjoying a strong start to the 2014 travel season, FGB Elite is now set to send all four of its teams to the Nashville Tournament of Champions in July. FGB Elite director Kenny Kalina is excited about the way all his teams have played, but it is the prospects from the Class of 2016 that has drawn the most interest from observers.
“All four of our teams finished in the Top 5 in their respective divisions at the Deep South Classic, and we’re excited about all of our teams,” Kalina said. “That 2016 group is very strong, and that should guarantee that our program will stay strong in the coming years.
“We’re also excited about playing in Nashville. I think there are going to be a ton of college coaches in the area, and there are going to be a lot of the top independent teams at the event. We played at Hooptown before, and it is a great venue.”
The Nashville Tournament of Champions will be played from July 10-12. The event will include 48 elite travel teams, with games being played at the newly expanded Hooptown facility in Smyrna, TN. Hooptown is conveniently located near popular restaurants and hotels.
Kalina identified five 2016 standouts who are getting serious attention from college coaches. That group includes Delicia Washington (5-11, G), Jade Lewis (6-2, G), Kasha Austin (5-11, G), Sydney Searcy (5-8, G) and Respect Leaphart (6-0, F). Four of those players are currently rated among the top recruits in the country for 2016 by the All Star Girls Report. Washington is at No. 68, Austin is No. 89, Lewis is No. 110, and Searcy is at No. 170.
“Delicia is a very athletic guard who can do it all. She would have been our MVP at the Deep South Classic,” Kalina said. “She is fantastic in transition, she plays hard, and she is exciting to watch. Jade has great size on the perimeter, and she is the best shooter in our program. Overall, she has come a long way in the past year. She seems to be more mature, so she is playing harder and playing better defense. I call Kasha a power wing. She can shoot the three, and she is very powerful when she goes to the basket. She is also a long athlete who is effective on the defensive end. Sydney is an athletic guard who has committed to Florida. She is one of the best defensive players I’ve coached, and her shot has really been improving.”
ASGR analyst Bret McCormick added his perspective on the FGB Elite stars from 2016:
Delicia Washington: “Washington is a great athlete who can score in a lot of different ways. She can play any of the guard positions, and her stock is going through the roof this summer.”
Jade Lewis: “Lewis is an athletic wing with great size. She can post people up inside, or step out to the perimeter. She can attack the rim and hit the three.”
Kasha Austin: “Austin has a college-ready body, and she is a scorer. She can take people off the dribble, she has a good mid-range game, and she shoots the three.”
Sydney Searcy: “She is a strong, aggressive player who handles the ball well. She can attack the rim, and she can take it coast-to-coast.”
Respect Leaphart: “Leaphart is a four-three player who does all the little things. She is developing her face up game, and she is someone to watch as her skills progress.”