When The Future program began in Chicago way back in 1999, it was called Team Franchise, and the organization frequently appeared in events sponsored by the All Star Girls Report. Over the years, The Future went away from ASGR tournaments, but this summer the program returns as a full fledged member of the All Star Girls Report Summer League.
“We have been a part of a sponsorship program recently, but we weren’t comfortable with the tournaments where they wanted us to play,” explained program director Sylvester Simmons. “We are transitioning back to All Star Girls Report events because we think that’s what is best for the kids.
“The goal of our program is simple — it’s all about the kids. This isn’t about the coaches or anything else, it’s about helping the kids improve and move from high school to college.
“The All Star Girls Report has a great staff, and they do a great job showcasing the kids. We had a number of kids in the past, including my own daughter, who really broke on the scene at All Star Girls Report events. They have the competition and the facilities, and they draw the college coaches.”
This summer, The Future will be led by a trio of outstanding perimeter players from the Class of 2017. That nucleus will include Niquera Short (5-9, CG), Juliunn Redmon (6-0, WF) and Devanae Gross (5-2, PG).
“Niquera is a versatile, inside-out player,” Simmons said. “She has an all-around game, and she plays hard. Niquera has a quirky shot, but it works for her, and she finishes well. Her left hand is so good some people don’t realize she is right-handed. On defense, she has the ability to defend taller players down low.
“Juliunn had an excellent summer last year. She is another very versatile player, and we could play her almost anywhere on the court. She has an excellent mid-range jumper, she has good moves, and she finishes well.
“Devanae is a very fast, very quick left-handed point guard. She is a really strong floor general. She has a great handle, she sees the floor, and she is a great passer.”