On the cusp of the summer season, the veteran staff at the All Star Girls Report has published their Deep South Classic preseason rankings for the 17 National Bracket featuring 64 programs in the 2014 travel season. The ASGR analyst expect an extremely competitive summer, with a series of program well positioned to make a run at the No. 1 spot.
The ASGR preseason rankings are divided into two main categories, one for the teams that will be competing in the Deep South Classic and one for teams from the Nike EYBL. The Deep South section of the rankings is led by the Wallace Prather Celtics out of Georgia, while Texas Nike Elite stands atop the EYBL list.
“The All Star Girls Report works hard to see all the teams across the nation. We’re not worried about what club you play for or what tournaments you play, we are simply trying to rate the best young athletes,” noted veteran ASGR analyst Bret McCromick. “This year, you essentially have two different groups for the clubs. There is a Nike EYBL group, and then the teams that will be playing in the non-Nike tournaments like the Deep South Classic.
“The EYBL is it’s own league with 32 teams that will be playing each other, and they will all be trying to qualify for the Nike Nationals. In the EYBL, every possession is going to count because those teams will all be competing for a spot in the Nike Nationals, and nobody is going to want to come up one three-pointer short of a spot in the Nationals. In the events like the Deep South Classic, the teams will be competing at a high level, but they will also have other goals in mind.
“There are going to be a lot of great players in both groups. In the Deep South Classic, they have 328 teams, and I would guess that they will have over 2,000 Division I prospects when you consider all the different DI levels. The Deep South is an event where you can see a well-known, highly regarded club like the Wallace Prather Celtics going against a club you may not know about. That gives you a chance to learn about new players. Plus, the Deep South always has a lot of good young players mixed in. I couldn’t tell you how many young players have been discovered at the Deep South Classic.”
Four of the teams that will be in the spotlight in Raleigh will be the Celtics, the Mac Irvin Godfather 17 squad out of Chicago, the Louisiana Pumas, and I Excel out of New York.
“When you look at those three teams alone, they probably have 30 DI prospects,” McCormick said. “Those clubs always have rosters full of Division I prospects, and they have a lot of very, very talented young players.”
The ASGR staff gave the preseason nod to the Celtics after the program was the runner-up in the 17 National bracket in 2013.
“When you look at the group we have from the 2015 class, and then the 2016 class, they are both something special,” said Celtics coach Renardo “Nard” Hudson. “It’s just a great group. They are very smart players, they play well together, and they are great at crunch time. It’s really a sight to see.”
Leading the way for the Celtics will be a group of proven performers from the Class of 2015. That quartet includes Aliyah Mazyck (5-10, PG), who is rated as the No. 31 prospect in the class nationally by the All Star Girls Report; Tynice Martin (5-11, G, No. 34), Chinyere Bell (6-1,PF, No. 218), and Syracuse commitment Abby Grant (5-9, SG. No. 281).
“Yeah, we will be loaded this year,” said Irvin, with a chuckle. “We have a mix of proven, veteran players and a lot of very good young players. My job is to figure out how to bring all of that together.”
When Irvin talks about veteran leadership, he is thinking of 2015 prospects Tanita Allen (5-10, G), Madinah Muhammad (5-9, G, rated at No. 104 by the All Star Girls Report), Kauai Bradley (6-0, F, No. 124) and Ashonti Thomas (6-4, C, No. 101).
The Pumas will be another club that has a great shot at grabbing the top ranking.
“With the players we have coming back, I know that this is going to be a really special team,” Coach Reshad Baker said. “We are definitely looking forward to this year.”
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).
iExcel will bring three squads to Raleigh, and the roster for Welsh’s eldest group has a series of highly regarded athletes. Most notably, iExcel will feature 2015 standouts Kyiarah English (5-4, G), Batouly Camara (6-2, PF), Jodi Ramil (6-2, C) and Thabitha Dwunfour (6-2, P); plus 2016 star Jocelyn Willoughby (5-11, G).
“Kyiarah gained a lot of experience last year playing with (2014 Florida recruit) Isis Young, and we are ready to entrust her with the ball,” Welsh said. “Batouly is a great kid who has worked hard to improve her offensive game, and I think she is one of the best players in the country. Breannah is a player who does a lot of good things for us, and Jodi is a hard working post who is going to surprise some people this summer. Thabitha is a tough inside player who has a nice touch out to 15 feet. Jocelyn is just a sophomore, and she is one to watch. She is working hard, and I think she is going to be one of the top players in her class.”
Deep South Classic 17 National Division Pre-Season Rankings
1-WP Celtics Black 17 (GA)
2-Mac Irvin Godfather 17 (IL)
3-Lady Pumas Black 17 (LA)
4-NYC iExcel 17 (NY)
5-FGB 2015 17 (FL)
6-MN Fury Elite 2015 17 (MN)
7-MD Lady Terps 17 (MD)
8-Wiggins Waves 17 (CA)
9-Al Southern Starz Bush 2015 16 (AL)
10-Team Penny 2016 16 (TN)
11-United Elite Black 17 (TX)
12-Carolina All-Stars 2015 17 (NC)
13-Douglasville Lady Tigers 17 (GA)
14-Basketball Results 16 (NY)
15-Scarborough Blues 16 (ON)
16-TN Team Pride Black 17 (TN)
17-Maine Firecrackers 16 (ME)
18-Michigan Finest Neil 16 (MI)
19-Cardinal Crusaders 17 (MD)
20-RI Breakers OX 17 (RI)
21-Team Breakdown 17 (FL)
22-Philly Triple Threat 17 (PA)
23-Brampton Warriors 17 (ON)
24-Boilingbrook Panthers 17 (IL)
25-WV Thunder 17 (WV)
26-CBC Elite Dream Team 17 (NC)
27-Atlanta Cagers 2016 17 (GA)
28-MN Metro Stars Wiese 17 (MN)
29-Rivals White 16
30-Team Ohio 17
31-North Florida Elite Gold 17
32-KY Top Prospects 17 (KY)
33-Albany Capitals 16 (NY)
34-SC 76ers Black 16 (SC)
35-DC Future 17 (MD)
36-Boston Showstoppers Blue 16 (MA)
37-Dallas Stars 16 (TX)
38-Below The Rim 17 (FL)
39-MN Fury 2016 Blue 17 (MN)
40-Central PA Elite 17 (PA)
41-Peak Performance National 17 (GA)
42-Westchester Hoopsters 17 (NY)
43-Germantown Lady Panthers 16 (MD)
44-IL Xcitement 17 (IL)
45-MI Shock Williams 17 (MI)
46-PA Running Rebels 17 (PA)
47-Big South Dream Team 17 (GA)
48-Domino’s 16 (LA)
49-Riverside Hawks Blue 17 (NY)
50-Oakville Venom Juel 17 (ON)
51-WP Celtics Gold 17 (GA)
52-Hollywood Eagles 17 (FL)
53-Indiana Top Recruit 17 (IN)
54-South Georgia Metros 16 (GA)
55-KW Lightning 17 (ON)
56-Tampa Thunder Elite 17 (FL)
57-Twin Cities Metro Select 16 (MN)
58-Knoxville Lady Panthers 17 (TN)
59-MOV Xtreme Dawson 17 (OH)
60-CT Basketball Club 16 (CT)
61-GA Pistols Elite Waldrop 17 (GA)
62-Capital City Comets Fowler 17 (OH)
63-GBL Lady Rebels 17 (CA)
64- Lady Reign Fusion 17 (IL)
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Nike EYBL Pre-Season Rankings compiled By ASGR
8-MN North Tartan
13- Cal Stars
15-Cal Storm Taurasi
Honorable Mention: Tree of Hope, West Coast Premier, Cal Swish, Georgia Metros, CFE, NJ Sparks, Exodus, New England Crusaders, Philly Belles, NYC Gauchos, Team Takeover, Albany City Rocks, Fairfax Stars, All Iowa Attack, Spiece Gym Rats, All Ohio
Follow all the brackets and information at http://www.nikeeyb.com/page/show/1168820-events.