The Illinois X-Citement program showed tremendous promise this summer. Although the club’s top prospect was lost to a shoulder injury, and the team rosters were filled with younger athletes, X-Citement still managed to produce results.
“It was a good summer, and we had a very strong finish to July,” said Coach Xavier Walton. “We were playing a lot of younger kids — freshmen and sophomores — and we still competed well in a lot of the top events. We had a lot of babies who are all grown up now. Overall, I was very happy with how we played this summer.”
X-Citement will wrap up the 2015 travel season at the Chicagoland Tournament of Champions. The All Star Girls Report event, which will be played on Sept. 26 at Bolingbrook High School, will feature an outstanding field.
Unfortunately, Illinois X-Citement will still be without standout Cymone Goodrich (2017, 5-11, G), who is listed as the No. 105 recruit in her class nationally by ASGR.
“Cymone is the headliner for our program, but she had to have shoulder surgery this summer,” Walton explained. “She has been with us since the fifth grade, and it’s just been fun watching her develop over the years. She is such a smooth athlete, but her biggest asset is her understanding of the game. She just makes everything look easy.”
Even without Goodrich, X-Citement should be ready to compete at the Chicagoland event, with players such as Nadege Jean (2018, 6-2, F, No. 74), Kennedy Perry (2017, 5-8, SG, No. 360) and Ashya Person (2017, 5-8, WF) leading the way.
“Nadege and Kennedy have both been with us since the sixth grade,” Walton said. “Nadege is a very vocal player who has no problem leading older kids. She is constantly communicating, so it’s like having an assistant coach on the floor. She has played power forward, but she worked hard in the spring on her perimeter skills, and she had a huge summer. She already has five offers, and there’s no doubt that she is a high level kid.
“Kennedy is a scoring guard who really stepped up when Cymone got hurt. Kennedy carried us this summer, and she averaged about 25 points per game. She is very good at attacking the basket, and she has a good three-point shot.
“Ashya is the glue for our program. She is always playing hard and making big plays. If we need a defensive stop, she gets one against the other team’s top scorer. If we need a big basket, she seems to be the one who gets it for us.”
X-Citement should also get a strong boost from the backcourt tandem of Leah Sims (2017, 5-6, PG) and Chelsea Cross (2018, 5-8, PG).