Before we get into much detail about the Lady Prospects girls basketball team out of Lawrence, Kansas, there’s one thing you need to know about the coach.
Phillipe McCree is not the type of guy that would over-inflate his roster. The Prospects, who were started by McCree in 2005, have produced an occasional Division I player. But, for the most part, their players end up at Division II or III schools, NAIA programs or at junior colleges.
“We don’t claim to be on of those mega programs that puts out a lot of big names,’’ McCree said. “But we pride ourselves on bringing in girls that want to play beyond high school and develop them for a school that fits them and vice versa.’’
McCree is cut out perfectly to be a matchmaker between players and colleges because he knows exactly what colleges are looking for. McCree previously served as an assistant at Division II Washburn and was the top assistant at the highly-successful program at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan. He also has a deep history on the high school level and currently is the coach at Mclouth High School.
McCree’s winning background should help the Lady Prospects when they compete at the Deep South Classic in Raleigh, N.C. April 22-24 and the ASGR Summer League in Bloomington, IN, July 9-12. The team, which is composed mostly of players in the 2023 recruiting class, may not have any superstars, but it has strength in numbers.
McCree said the player colleges have been calling about most is 5-10 guard Addison Schletzbaum, a 5-10 guard.
“She’s a do-it-all guard,’’ McCree said. “She can play the point and either wing and she also can play the four spot. She’s a farm kid, so she’s big and strong. She’s always had really good vision and knowledge. She can handle the ball, shoot, or blow by you and go to the basket.’’
The wild card for the Lady Prospects is 5-11 forward Paige Chauncey. She tore her ACL last summer and still is on the mend. Her doctors have said Chauncey should be ready to play near the end of her high school season in February. But, after consulting with her parents, high school coach and McCree, Chauncey has decided to schedule her return for April.
“Paige is really just scratching the surface,’’ McCree said. “She’ll be a young member of the 2023 class because she just tuned 16 a few weeks ago. She’s an undersized post player, but she also can step out. She has great hands and great footwork.’’
Mariah Farmer, 5-7, will be the point guard for the Lady Prospects and McCree said she’s a natural leader.
“She’s feisty,’’ McCree said. “She’s on of the best competitors on our team. She’s a terror. When a player from the other team gets hot offensively, Maria will come up to me and say, “Coach, I want to guard her’’. It doesn’t matter if that player is 5-3 or 5-7.’’
Although 5-11 wing Addison Denney plays the wing, she’s similar to Farmer in many ways.
“I call her “Mrs. Floorburns”,” McCree said. “She has no fear. If there’s a loose ball, she’s diving for it.’’
Kanyon Olberding is a 5-11 wing that still is growing into her body.
“She went from being 5-3 and 75 pounds when she first came into our program and now she’s 5-11, but still only about 102 pounds,’’ McCree said. “She can step up and grab the rim and she can knock down the three. But she’s most effective on defense because she’s so long.’’
Korie Kirkwood highlights the list of players the Lady Prospects have for the Class of 2024.
“Korie is a ‘tweener, between a shooting guard and a true wing,’’ McCree said. “She can shoot it pretty well, but her real strength is in attacking the basket.’’