The Minnesota Metro Stars will be taking a pair of teams to the Deep South Classic in April, and Coach Jamie Broback Waldo is confident the Stars will shine.
“We have a lot of long athletes, and we like long athletes,” Waldo said. “I think both our teams will do very well. Our 17s team is a fun group to watch, and our 15s team has a couple of ninth graders who people are going to be talking about nationally.”
The Stars will be in front of a national audience at the 2014 Deep South Classic, which will be played in Raleigh, NC, on April 25-27. 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 Metro Stars’ top team will be paced by a talented trio that includes MacKenzie Denk (2015, 5-11, WF), Mackenzie Barta (2016, 5-9, G) and Molly Smith (2016, 6-0, F).
“MacKenzie Denk is a strong, tough player who has no problem battling a 6-3 girl for a rebound,” Waldo said. “She is very strong, and she moves well on the perimeter. Mackenzie Barta can play the point, and she is a great three-point shooter. She is a good athlete who runs the floor well, and she really knows the game. Her father is a trainer with the Lynx, so she has spent a lot of time around the game. Molly is a long, athletic kid who can shoot it out to the three-point arc, and she can attack the rim. Molly has really improved her game over the past year, and I think she will have a coming out party this spring.”
Bret McCormick, the analyst for the All Star Girls Report, is anxious to see more of the Stars in Raleigh.
“Denk is a blue collar type of player who can score inside or outside,” McCormick said. “Barta is an athletic three-point shooter, and she is a high IQ player. Smith has size and athleticism. She can be aggressive with the ball, and she has good shooting range.”
McCormick, and the college coaches at the Deep South Classic, will also be watching the younger Stars from the Class of 2017. Bailey Helgren is a 6-5 post player who is rated as the No. 80 prospect in the class by ASGR, and Annika Jank is a 6-2 forward.
“Bailey is a very talented 6-5 player who is getting a lot of attention already, and Annika is a long, athletic lefty who is also a great young player,” Waldo said.
“Helgren is a strong athlete who already has a good low post game, and she has the ability to step out to the three-point line. There will be a lot of coaches watching her,” added McCormick. “Jank is another prospect to watch because of her size and athleticism.”