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It’s really not too surprising that the Carolina All Stars have competed in the Deep South Classic since 2005. The All Stars are based in Durham, NC, just a short drive from the downtown Raleigh home of the Deep South.
“It’s in our backyard, and you won’t find another tournament where you have more college coaches in attendance,” said Ty Cox, the founder and director of the Carolina All Stars. “The girls can sleep in their own beds, and then they get to play in front of their families and top college coaches from across the country. It’s a great situation for us, and we’ve had a lot of players over the years get evaluated at the Deep South.”
The All Stars currently have 60 program alums now playing for 45 different college teams. Three former Carolina All Stars played in the 2017 NCAA Championship Game — Syracuse’s Briana and Bria Day, plus Jade Phillips.
The 2017 Deep South Classic will be held in Raleigh from April 20-23. The event, which will feature some of the finest travel teams in the nation, will be played at the Raleigh Convention Center. There will be 20 courts in the building, keeping the entire event under one roof in downtown Raleigh.
“We have a good group of players, and I think they will continue the tradition of success that we have developed,” Cox said. “I’m excited about this year because we have so much depth throughout our program.”
The Carolina All Star contingent in Raleigh will be led by veteran J’Naya Ephraim (5-10, CG, 2018) and a trio of talented 2019 athletes — Nia Washington (6-0, W), Maya Johnson (6-1, PF) and Brittany Staves (6-0, W). Washington was listed as the No. 242 recruit in the Class of 2019 by the All Star Girls Report.
“J’Naya is a slasher and penetrator with very good ball skills,” Cox said. “She has good size and jumping ability, and she is a high IQ player. J’Naya can take smaller players into the paint, and she puts the ball on the floor against bigger players.
“Nia is a powerful guard with great strength. She can shoot the three, but her best asset is that she is a tenacious rebounder who can score inside. Maya has exceptional leaping ability. She regularly plays above the rim, and she is a great shot blocker. She runs the floor well, and she has a good mid-range game. Brittany has long arms and she is very athletic. She is at her best on the defensive end, where she gets her hands on a lot of balls. With her size and athleticism, she can guard the one through four spots.”
A lot of eyes will also be on the Carolina All Star’s younger standouts, including Khalis Cain (6-3, P, 2020, No. 132) and Ashley Roberts (6-0, PF, 2020).
“Khalis is another great shot blocker who runs the floor very well,” Cox said. “She is a younger version of Briana Day. I coached Briana, and Khalis reminds me or her a lot. She plays very hard, and she has a very bright future.
“Ashley has tremendous footwork down in the post, and she is very, very strong. She can shoot the three and she has a nice mid-range game, but her strength inside is what sets her apart. If we get her the ball inside, she is going to score or get fouled.”