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The growing Tampa Thunder program enjoyed a strong spring, and the sights have been set higher in July. The Thunder roster has been solidified, and Coach Rob Walker believes his top team is gaining momentum.
“It has been a great year so far, and we’re really looking forward to the July events,” Walker said. “We had some injury issues early on, but we’re at full strength now and I think we’re headed for a strong finish.”
The Thunder will be getting a serious test at the Summer Basketball Playoff in Charlotte from July 27-29. The Summer Basketball Playoff will feature 72 of the nation’s elite club teams. The Playoff will be held at the same time as the Nike Nationals, which will be played two hours away in North Augusta, SC.
The Thunder will be led in Charlotte by four outstanding prospects — Hayley Duren (2016, 6-4, P), Peyton Walker (2015, 5-10, WF), Emily Lines (2015, 6-2. F) and Camille Giardina (2015, 5-6, PG). Duren is currently listed as the No. 135 recruit in her class according to the All Star Girls Report.
“Hayley had a concussion, but she’s back at full speed now,” Walker said. “The biggest thing with Hayley is that she is very versatile. She has great range, she can attack the basket, and she is an excellent passer. I think Peyton is headed for a big July. She is a great three-point shooter with a quick release and a high motor. She is also exceptionally strong for her size, and that shows up on the defensive end where she can cover a two, three or four. She has the speed to cover in space, but that strength allows her to battle taller players in the post.
“Emily can play the three or the four. She can do a lot of things on the inside or the outside. Her three point shot is very good, and she is improving her ability to attack the basket. She has solid post moves, and she is a cerebral player who isn’t going to make many mistakes. Camille is an exciting player who has been a huge part of our success, and we missed her when she was out with a thumb injury this spring. She is out best defensive player and she is very solid on the offensive end. She is a very good shooter with a great mid-range game. Camille is also probably the most competitive kid I’ve ever met.”
ASGR analyst Bret McCormick also added his perspective on the Thunder stars:
Hayley Duren: “Duren is a long, athletic lefty who can score inside or face up out to 16 feet.”
Peyton Walker: “Walker is a strong athlete who is an aggressive competitor. She is a blue collar type who just gets it done.”
Emily Lines: “Lines has good size and a high basketball IQ. Her main thing is that she can shoot it really well with range.”
Camille Giardina: “Giardina is an athletic point guard. She is a tough competitor who likes to defend. She has a good all-around game.”