The roster for the 2014 edition of the Louisiana Pumas’ elite travel team hasn’t been finalized, but Coach Reshad Baker already knows that he will have a tremendous nucleus to build around.
“We are having open tryouts right now because we want to give everyone a chance, and we want to make sure that we don’t miss any talented players,” Baker said. “But, with the players we have coming back, I know that this is going to be a really special team. We are definitely looking forward to this year.”
The Pumas will have an early opportunity to showcase its talent in Raleigh, NC, on April 25-27 at the Deep South Classic. Now in its 17th year, the Deep South Classic annually hosts many of the nation’s elite travel teams in a field that will eclipse 200 squads, and hundreds of collegiate coaches will be on hand searching for talent. The 2014 event will mark the second year that the Deep South Classic has been held at the Raleigh Convention Center. The venue was a tremendous success in its debut last year, with all games played at one site on 18 courts, and it is in a convenient central location.
The Pumas will be paced by a quartet of supremely talented young ladies. That group includes Kalani Brown (6-5, C, 2015, Rated No. 6 in class by the All Star Girls Report), Micaela Wilson (6-2, WF, 2017, No. 17), Troyian Brooks (6-2, PF, 2015, No. 94) and Kechelle Figuora (5-7, PG, 2016, No. 9).
“If it is up to Kalani, we’re not going to lose a game,” Baker said. “She is a space eater in the paint who gets up and down the floor, and she finishes. I’ve watched her grow so much the last couple of years when she started playing the top competition.
“Kechelle is a point guard with a slick handle, a great basketball IQ, and she has added muscle this year. She has been with us a long time, so we don’t have to tell her much. We just let her run the team.
“Troyian is a long athlete who can really run. She is a two or three who does all the dirty work. When we need a spark, it comes from Troyian a lot of the time.
“Micaela is a real hybrid who could play anywhere from the one to the five. She has been polishing her perimeter skills. She has a great handle now, and she can hit the three. She is having a great high school season, and I think that will continue in the spring.”
Bret McCormick, a veteran analyst for the All Star Girls Report, is equally impressed with the Pumas’ core.
“Kalani is P.J. Brown’s daughter, so she has the genes,” McCormick said. “We have her listed as the top center in the 2015 class. She is a lefty who is a true low block player, she has polished skills, and she is a big time shot blocker. Micaela has the ability to score inside, and she has excellent perimeter skills. Troyian is a great athlete who can post up or step out to the arc. She is a lefty who is something of a sleeper prospect. Kechelle is a true point guard with a great handle and great quickness. She has a basketball IQ, and a special flair. She can pass and she can score, and I think she could play for just about anyone.”
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