At first glance, the Rhode Island Breakers may not seem too impressive. Of course, first glances rarely tell the whole story.
“When opponents see us coming, they generally think we can’t be very good, but we’ve won a lot of games against those teams,” said Breakers coach Bill Coughlin. “We take a lot of pride in our ability to win games that people don’t expect us to win.”
This spring, the Breakers will have a group of 2015 players who fit that old Breaker mold. And, this year the Breakers will also have a trio of 2016 prospects who don’t fit that description.
“I always seem to argue with college coaches — Do you want the most athletic players, or do you want players who are going to help you win games?,” Coughlin said. “We have four 2015 players who are very much like that. I think they fit with a high D-II program, or maybe a low D-I team because they all have tremendous basketball IQs. With our 2016 group, we are uncharacteristically loaded with athletic talent.”
The Breakers will get an early challenge 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 2015 Breakers include 5-8 point guard Madison Jolin, 5-10 wing Maty Diabate, 5-3 guard Sara Middleton and 5-2 guard Kylie Caouette.
“Madison is a point guard who makes everyone else better, and she has a Larry Bird-type basketball IQ,” Coughlin said. “Maty is sort of a ‘tweener’ that the college coaches can’t figure out, but she does a lot of things to help the team. Sara and Kylie are out little peanuts. They are very tough, smart basketball players, and I love having those types of kids.”
While those 2015 players will be leading the Breakers, most of the team highlights will likely come from a trio of 2016 prospects. Jenna Clark is a 5-11 forward who has verballed to Providence. Julia Thissell is a 6-5 post player who is rated as the No. 166 recruit in the class by the All Star Girls Report. Vanessa Edgehill is a 5-9 guard who is bouncing back from an ACL injury.
“I think all three of them are Division I caliber player,” Coughlin said. “Jenna is a wonderful player who has already committed to Providence. Julia has a chance to play anywhere because she is very skillful, she has tremendous hands, and she runs well for her size. Vanessa has an amazing basketball IQ, and as long as she comes back from her injury well, she will be a big time player.”
ASGR analyst Bret McCormick has been impressed with the 2015’s and the 2016’s in the Breaker program.
“The Breakers always have good kids who know how to play and compete, and they are always successful on and off the court in college,” McCormick said. “With the Class of 2015, Jolin is a smart, tough player with good quickness and skills. Diabate is a good athlete with fundamentals, and she does all the little things. Middleton is a small package, but she is quick and she knows how to compete on the court. Caouette also plays hard and she also has a high basketball IQ.
“When you look at the younger kids, Clark is a two-three type with a good shot, and she can score off the dribble. Thissell is a true low post player who knows how to use her body, and she can score with either hand. Edgehill is a lefty who anticipates well, and she is a smart player with all-around skills.”