The NC Spartan program out of Charlotte has been building a strong foundation since the club was established in the fall of 2010. The Spartans began with a relatively simple plan, and they have followed that path to success.
“We created this program to give young female athletes to reach their fullest potential, and to get a college education paid for through basketball,” explained club president (and former NFL standout) Muhsin Muhammad. “We want to play high level basketball, and we have three principles that help us accomplish that. Number one, we have great teachers. Number two, we created a very competitive environment that stresses hard work, academic excellence, and community involvement.”
With the plan in place, the next step was for the Spartans to bring in the right people.
“I think the main thing we have is that our kids are good players, and they are good people,” said Coach Barbara Nelson. “We have an environment where the parents are respectful and supportive, and they let the coaches coach. Plus, we just have good, quality character kids in the program. They are respectful, and they want to learn.
“We also have a lot of quality coaches involved. They are good people with a lot of experience. They have a lot to offer these kids, and you can see how the players are developing.When you put together a group of hard working people, I think they tend to attract more hard working people. That’s what we have here.”
A key test for the Spartans this spring will come at the 2015 Deep South Classic, which will be played in Raleigh, NC on April 24-26. The Deep South Classic, which annually features the nation’s top travel programs, will once again have the entire tournament in one facility — the tremendous Raleigh Convention Center.
The Spartans’ top team in Raleigh will be led by shooting guard Chase Muhammad (2016, 5-7), Muhsin’s daughter.
“Chase is very fast, with our without the ball,” Nelson said. “She shoots it well, and she is a very intelligent basketball player.”
“Muhammad is an athletic combo guard,” noted All Star Girls Report analyst Bret McCormick. “She has a very good mid-range game and she knows how to play basketball.”
The Spartans’ roster also includes a super talented cast of players from the Class of 2017. That group is highlighted by Kam Roach (5-6, PG, listed at No. 29 on the All Star Girls Report national rankings for 2017), McKenna Haire (5-10, SG, No. 140), Ariyana Williams (5-9, W, No. 161), Maya Caldwell (5-9, W, No. 61), Jasmine Saunders (6-1, F) and Chanin Scott (6-0, F).
“Kam sees the floor very well, she is a good passer, and she can finish around the basket,” Nelson said. “McKenna can flat out shoot the basketball, and she can handle it. Ariyana is a good, long guard. Maya is the whole package. She can shoot, score and defend.
“Jasmine and Chanin are both three-four type players. The are both nice long athletes who can run and jump to the rim. They can both shoot the ball and they play defense.”
McCormick also added his perspective on the Spartan standouts.
“Roach is very quick, very strong and very skilled,” he said. “She is a high IQ player who can shoot the three. Haire is another intelligent player. She has good quickness and she shoots it well from beyond the arc. Williams is an athletic wing who can really slash to the basket. Caldwell is a two-three player. She is long and strong, and she can score in an array of ways.
“Saunders and Scott are two great athletes who are explosive leapers. They are going to be interesting players to watch this summer.”
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