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The Idaho Hoop Dreams program has a history of success, but this should be a special year even by their lofty standards.
“We feel really good about this group. Last year was a good year, and this year, from a talent standpoint, should be the best team we’ve had so far,” said Coach Shambric Williams. “We have a group of young players who are eager to show what they can do, and then we have a group of veterans who have been through it. It’s a nice blend, and this is going to be a fun team to coach.”
Williams will have some interesting puzzle pieces to work with this summer.
“This isn’t one of those big city teams with a 6-5 or 6-6 girl so we can just pound it inside,” he said. “We have guards who can push it up the court and spread out the defense with their shooting, and then we have 6-1 or 6-2 kids who are hybrid inside-outside players. We have versatile kids who can play multiple positions, and the girls understand that we have to look for the advantage where we have it.
“This group has been enthusiastic about practice. The really want to get better, and they want to compete. That has made this a fun team to coach.”
Some of that fun will take place at the Lake Las Vegas Classic, which will be played at the Westin Lake Las Vegas complex on July 10. The field in Nevada will be loaded with outstanding programs from around the country.
Among the key performers for Hoop Dreams this year will be Destiny Slocum (2016, 5-7, CG, rated as the No. 10 recruit in her class by the All Star Girls Report), Tori Williams (2017, CG, 5-8, No. 111), Dominique Williams (2016, 6-0, W, No. 110) and Mandy Simpson (2017, 6-1, F).
“Destiny is tough to label because she could play any position. She really can do everything well,” Williams said. “She can shoot the three, penetrate, post up a smaller guard, and play defense. She is also a great leader, both with her voice and her effort. Tori is a very intelligent player who sees plays on the floor before they happen. She is a knock down three shooter, but she can also be physical. She will take a charge or dive on the floor for her team.
“Dominique can play on the perimeter or she can post up. She is a hybrid four type player. Sometimes we even have her bring the ball up the court as a point forward so we can free up Destiny and Tori. Mandy is a great stretch four who is still growing into her body. She can put the ball on the floor, she is great with her left hand, and she can post up. Her greatest assets are probably her basketball IQ and her shooting ability.”
ASGR analyst Bret McCormick also weighed in with his opinions on the Hoop Dreams standouts.
“Slocum is a quick, strong scoring guard who is one of the very best players in her class,” McCormick said. “She can score in an array of different ways, and she is a great passer. Tori Williams is an intelligent player with an impressive skill set. She can score the basketball, and she can set up her teammates. Dominique Williams is an athletic wing with a nice shooting stroke. She can score off the bounce, she can attack the basket, and she has three-point range. Simpson is an athletic four with an inside-outside game. She can execute on the block, and she has the ability to stretch the defense out to the arc with her shooting.”