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The roster for the So Cal Magic includes a number of relatively unknown athletes, but Coach Mahlon Williams is confident that his talented players won’t be secrets for long.
“We have some kids who haven’t been on the circuit before, and we have some kids who are still polishing their games, but they all have talent, and the coaches are going to see that,” Williams said. “We have five or six kids who already have multiple Division I offers, and I think we have nine players who are Division I prospects.”
Those young athletes will face their next big test when they compete in the Lake Las Vegas Classic from July 10-12. The event, which will feature elite travel teams from across the country, will be played at the Westin Lake Las Vegas complex.
“We made it to the Elite Eight in Las Vegas last year, and we have more Division I prospects this year. We’re going to try to win it all this time,” said Williams, who added that the Magic may play in the Summer Basketball Playoff in Charlotte, NC, from July 27-29. “We’re well known on the West Coast because of all the success we’ve had, but we’re sort of an unknown on the East Coast.”
The keys to the Magic’s success have been depth and balance. Among the standouts are DiJanai Williams (2015, 5-8, G), Brittany Thomas (2015, 6-2, F), Kiara Ginwright (2015, 6-4, F), Jaida Howard (2015, 6-0, WF), Kali Jones (2015, 6-3, F), Onjalise Hilliard (2015, 6-1, F) and Delacy Brown (2016, 5-7, PG).
“DiJanai is a very physical player who is a big time competitor,” Williams said. “Brittany is a great athlete who can run the floor and finish around the rim. She reminds me of a female Dennis Rodman because of the way she rebounds. Kiara is a long, thin player who is really emerging. She blocked 11 shots per game in our first tournament. She has great timing, and she might be the best shot blocker in the country.
“Jaida is a freakish athlete. She can get to the basket, and she has a tremendous mid-range game. I call Kali “Big Skills” because she reminds me of Tim Duncan. She just has great skills, with a jump hook with either hand. Onjalise is a space eater who runs very well for her size. She is very physical and very tough, and she is improving her game constantly.
“Delacy has to be one of the best sophomore guards in California. She is a female Allen Iverson. She has a great motor and a great handle, and she is almost unstoppable in transition.”
All Star Girls Report analyst Bret McCormick added his perspective on the Magic standouts:
DiJanai Williams: “Williams is a wonderful athlete who is a slashing combo guard who plays hard.”
Brittany Thomas: “Thomas is another good athlete. She runs the floor well, scores around the hoop, and she is a very aggressive rebounder.”
Kiara Ginwright: “She has a long wingspan that helps make her a great shot blocker. Her overall skills are still coming.”
Jaida Howard: “Howard is a great athlete who can really elevate on her jumper, and her range extends out to the arc.”
Kali Jones: “Jones has good footwork inside, and she can score with either hand in the lane.”
Onjalise Hilliard: “A strong, big athlete. She can score down low and give a team a presence in the paint, and she runs well.”
Delacy Brown: “Brown is a quick, attacking guard who is very good in the open floor. She can be acrobatic in the lane.”