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Chris Smith, the director of the Bolingbrook Panther program in Illinois spends his summer months trying to get as much positive exposure as possible in a positive environment for the players in his program. When he is setting the Panthers’ schedule, Smith searches for one important key.
“When you have multiple teams in your program, there is one major thing that you are looking for,” Smith said. “We want to find tournaments were all of our teams will be playing in one building. That’s one thing that the All Star Girls Report staff has done a great job with. In July we are playing in Suwanee, at the Summer Derby, and in Charlotte with ASGR, and all of those events are in one building.
“It is so much easier in terms of transportation when you don’t have teams going to different venues. And, as the director, it is much easier for me to support all of our teams when they are together. Plus, it’s easier for college coaches to see a lot of players. It really helps if you have talented younger players, but the coaches can see them in the same building.”
The next big step for the Panthers will come when they travel to Georgia for the Suwanee Tournament of Champions on July 5-8. The event, which will showcase top flight teams from around the country, will be played at the expansive Suwanee Sports Academy outside of Atlanta.
The Panthers are being paced this summer by standout Nicole Ekhomu. The explosive, 5-8 combo guard is currently listed as the No. 26 recruit in the Class of 2016 by ASGR.
“Everyone knows that Nicole is our top player,” Smith said. “She is just a superior athlete who also has a great shooting touch. She has a great shooting stroke out to the three-point line, and she can also finish in the lane. She can really handle the ball, but I think she will be a two guard in college.”