For a number of years, the North Texas Shockers were a consistent participant in the Deep South Classic tournament. After winning a title at the 2011 Deep South, the Shockers have missed the past three events. In 2015, they will be back, ready to compete.
“We have always enjoyed the Deep South Classic, but we went through a cycle where we didn’t have players who were ready for that type of event. Now we have a really good group in the Class of 2016, and we’re looking forward to going back to North Carolina,” said Coach John Shields. “We have always enjoyed the high level of competition, and we like the high level of organization and the venue.”
The 2015 Deep South Classic will be played in Raleigh, NC on April 24-26. The Deep South Classic annually features the nation’s top travel programs, and the event will once again have the entire tournament in one facility — the tremendous Raleigh Convention Center.
The new version of the Shockers is a fast paced group that is built around aggressive defense.
“We have a number of talented guards, and we’re very intense on the defensive end,” Shields explained. “Our defense is usually our best offense. We do our best to create chaos on the defensive end, and then we push the tempo.”
Leading the Shockers attack is Taylor Gaffney (2016, 5-5, PG).
“Taylor is undersized, and I think she is underrated because of her size,” Shields said. “She is a tremendous playmaker and ball handler, but the biggest thing she brings is leadership. She is a great, great teammate. She is also the head of the snake for our defense. She sets the tempo for everything we do.”
Gaffney will be getting plenty of support from Carissa Spiker (2016, 5-9, G), Peyton Padgett (2016, 5-11, G) and Courtney Blakenship (2016, 5-10, F).
“Carrisa might be the strongest player we’ve ever had in our program. She is physical, physical, physical,” Shields said. “She wants to get up the court whenever she can, she attacks the basket every time there is an opening, and she can hit the outside shot. She is joust full of heart and desire.
“Peyton is a long athlete who is very strong in transition, and she has a nice mid-range game. On the defensive end, she seems to get a hand on everything with her great wingspan. She is also a great leader, and I think Peyton is going to make a big splash this summer.
“Courtney is a young lady who does everything well. She can shoot the three, she has great post moves, and she can take it to the basket. She has an incredible basketball IQ, and that takes her a long way.”
Bret McCormick, the analyst for the All Star Girls Report, also added his prospective on the rising Shocker stars.
“Gaffney is a true point guard with good quickness. She is a vocal leader and she is the engine that makes her team go,” McCormick said. “Spiker is a strong athlete with a blue collar attitude. She can slash hard to the basket, and she just has a knack of getting it done. Padgett is a good athlete who is good in the open court, and she has a strong mid-range game. She is a player to watch. Blankenship is an intelligent, skilled, inside-outside player who can shoot the three.”
Amy Hartleroad (2016, 6-0, F) is the most heavily recruited player in the Shockers’ program. Unfortunately, Hartleroad is out with an injury and will not compete in Raleigh.