Top-flight teams from across the country annually come together to test themselves at the Deep South Classic. This year’s field includes Lone Wolf out of Vermont, as well as the talented Louisiana Pumas.
The Deep South Classic, which will include 200 teams, will be played at the Raleigh Convention Center from April 19-21. This the second in a series of reviews about the Classic, and we’ll highlight other outstanding programs in the coming weeks.
The Lone Wolf program is directed by Wayne Lafley, who also serves as the head coach for their U-17 national team. Lafley will bring a tall, talented squad to Raleigh.
“We will be bigger than we have been in the past. I think we’ll go 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 and 6-0,” he said. “Traditionally, we have been an up-and-down the court team that shoots a lot of three’s. We will still look to run, but we will look inside more with this team to utilize our size.”
Leading the way will be 6-4 center Shannon Ryan, who is a member of the Class of 2015. “Shannon is a New York kid who travels to play for us,” noted Lafley. “She can finish with either hand, she is a very good rebounder and shot blocker. She also makes her free throws and runs the floor well.”
Lone Wolf also has a strong backcourt from the Class of 2014. Hailee Barron is a 5-9 point guard, and Emily Kinneston is a 5-9 shooting guard.
“Hailee is very skilled, and she is a really, really smart player,” Lafley said. “She isn’t going to blow you away with athleticism, but she shoots the ball, she handles the pick-and-roll well, and she has a great feel for the game. Emily is a very good athlete who has a great mid-range game with a pull-up jumper. Emily is really tough to stop in transition.”
Lafley added that he had three other players who were worthy of college scholarships. The two from the Class of 2014 were Kara Sheftick (a 6-1 power forward with strong inside-out skills) and Maureen Taggart (a 6-0 wing who is a lights out shooter). Cassidy Derda is in the Class of 2013, but she is considering a year of prep school. Berea is a strong 6-2 post player with good skills.
While Lafley is bringing plenty of size down from the North, the Louisiana Pumas will be bringing one very tall, very talented young lady up from the Gulf Coast. Keilani Brown is a 6-5 post player who is rated as the 24th best in the Class of 2015 by ASGR. She is the daughter of former NBA standout P.J. Brown.
“Keilani is a tall, physical kid with nice post moves,” said Pumas coach Reshad Baker. “She is a great rebounder and shot blocker, and she can hit the jumper from the high post.”
While Brown anchors the post for the Pumas, Kechelle Figuerora is the key to their perimeter game. Figuerora, who is in the Class of 2016, is listed as the No. 15 recruit in her class nationally by ASGR.
“Kechelle is a big-time recruit,” Baker said. “She has elite quickness, and she can get to the basket on just about anyone. She is working on her three-point shot, and once she has that she will be very, very tough to defend.”
Here is a quick look at some of the other top-flight programs that will be competing in the National Division at the Deep South Classic: