When Brian Wiley began building the DC Heat program long ago, it was basically done out of frustration.
“When I started the program 16 years ago, it was just me,” Wiley remembered. “I was training a lot of kids then, and then I would have to watch them go off to play for these travel programs. I got tired of seeing them not develop with those programs, and I knew I could help them.”
Wiley quickly proved that he could, indeed, help the young women.
“Our main goal is to get the kids as much exposure as possible to help them get a college education,” he said. “But life lessons are also a very big part of what we do. I can tell you that I had a defining moment when we had a player who we sent to play in college, and then she returned to our program to help coach. A little while later, she got a job as an assistant college coach. Nothing could make me happier than seeing a young lady go full cycle like that.
“This is about more than basketball. It’s about helping these girls go from making one step forward to the next. We are using basketball to help them discover their dreams.”
DC Heat will take another step forward this spring at the 2015 Deep South Classic, which will be played in Raleigh, NC on April 24-26. The Deep South Classic, which annually features the nation’s top travel programs, will once again have the entire tournament in one facility — the tremendous Raleigh Convention Center.
The Heat will be paced this summer by Shelby Harris (2016, 5-8, G), Gabriel Green (2016, 6-3, F) and Autumn Ash (2016, 5-11, W).
“Shelby hurt her knee at the Deep South Classic last year, and she hasn’t played since,” Wiley said. “She should be back and ready when we go back to Raleigh. She was our leading scorer last year before she was hurt. If she is 100 percent, she is a dynamic player.
“Gabriel is a finesse forward who can palm the ball and finish around the rim. She is working hard on her perimeter skills. Right now, her main problem on the perimeter is defending the three spot. Autumn is a left-handed player who can stroke it from the outside. She is also a very good rebounder, and her ball handling is improving.”
Bret McCormick, the analyst for the All Star Girls Report, also weighed in with his perspective on the Heat standouts.
“Harris, before her injury, was a very athletic combo guard who could attack the basket, and she had a nice mid-range game. Hopefully she will be fully recovered this summer,” McCormick said. “Green is a strong athlete who rebounds and provides an inside scoring presence. Her face up game is still developing. Ash is an athletic lefty who could play the three or four spots with her inside-outside game.”
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