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The new So Cal Select program will be crossing the country in April for the prestigious Deep South Classic, and Coach Matt Thalley is confident that his young athletes will be ready.
“It will be an important trip for us, and I think we will be up for the challenge,” Thalley said. “Most people say that the teams on the East Coast are more physical, and I think that’s true. It will be a little rough, but it’s going to be a great experience. The other challenge is the time change. That can be tricky.”
The reward, however, is that the So Cal Select players will get critical exposure.
“Most of the time when we play out here, you just have the West Coast college coaches watching. From past experience with All Star Girls Report events, we will be seen by a lot of coaches who don’t come out West,” Thalley said. “Getting that exposure is our main objective, so this is a big event.”
The 2015 Deep South Classic will be played in Raleigh, NC on April 24-26. The Deep South Classic, which annually features the nation’s top travel programs, will once again have the entire tournament in one facility — the tremendous Raleigh Convention Center.
The college coaches in Raleigh will undoubtedly be watching So Cal Select’s highly-regarded 15U team. The squad will be loaded with talented eighth graders, including Charisma Osborne (5-8, CG), Cailyn Crocker (5-8, G), Sydnei Caldwell (5-8, G) and Leilani McIntosh (5-6, PG).
“Charisma is probably the best all-around player we have in the club,” Thalley said. “She can play the point, but she can also shoot it from anywhere. She’s a great kid, she will play defense on your best player, and she will rebound with the bigs. Cailyn is a long athlete with brings leadership and a great knowledge of the game.
“Sydnei and Leilani are both from Arizona. Sydnei shoots it very well with a nice high release, and she is unbelievable at getting to the basket. Leilani can also get to the basket and she plays great defense, but it’s her competitiveness that sets her apart. She is a point guard who can pass or score.”
Bret McCormick, the analyst for the All Star Girls Report, is also high on the young So Cal Select stars. ASGR has Osborne listed as the No. 18 recruit in the Class of 2019, McIntosh is at No. 19, and Crocker is listed at No. 26.
“Osborne is an athletic, skilled point guard who really understands the game and knows how to involve her teammates. Plus, she can score the basketball,” McCormick said. “McIntosh has an explosive game. She is very quick and very skilled, so she is a player to watch. Crocker is also very quick, skilled and aggressive. She can score in a lot of different ways. Caldwell is an athlete with a nice shooting stroke and the ability to finish in traffic.”