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The fledgling Team Slink program, which includes players from Tennessee and Kentucky, took an impressive step forward in 2014.
“Last year was our first year, and we had one team that was loaded with 2014 kids,” explained Coach John McGraw. “This year, we knew that we had to focus on building a foundation for the program with younger kids. We were a lot younger this year, and we played a much tougher summer schedule.
“Overall, it was a great summer. We have 12 players who are getting interest from Division I schools. In our 2016 group, we have seven or eight kids who already have Division I offers.”
Team Slink will look to continue its progress at the Marietta Tournament of Champions. The event will be held at the Suwanee Sports Academy complex in Marietta, just outside of Atlanta over the weekend of September 27-28.
Two of the most heralded players on the Team Slink roster are Kaylee Cotton (2016, 5-10, WF) and Madison Heckert (2016, 6-5, C).
“Kaylee is a physically strong left-handed player with unlimited shooting range. I really think she is one of the best shooters in the country in her class,” McGraw said. “She has a very quick release and great range.
“Madison is a long, left-handed player who likes to be on the low block. She has great hands and a soft touch around the basket, and she has great shooting form. She made 90 percent of her free throws this summer. She has only been playing basketball for three years, so she has a huge upside.”
Bret McCormick, the analyst for the All Star Girls Report, is also impressed with the Team Slink standouts.
“Cotton is an intelligent player, and she is the type of player who can post you up or step out to the three-point arc,” McCormick said. “Heckert has good hands, and I like the way she moves around the basket. She has a very effective left-handed hook.”
Team Slink has also been getting major contributions from Maddie Long (2016, 5-9, CG).
“Maddie is a really athletic slasher. She is a shooter and a scorer,” McGraw said. “I think she is under-rated at this point. She may not be too flashy, be she is a very good all-around player. She can score and rebound, and she is a very unselfish player.”
“Long is a good athlete who knows the game,” McCormick added. “She has good all-around skills and three-point shooting range.”
When Team Slink reaches Marietta, McGraw will be excited to see Christen King (2017, 5-9, CG) make her debut.
“Christen will be playing travel ball for the first time. She can flat out play,” the coach said. “She has been practicing with us, but this will be her first time playing in an event. She may be the most talented player in our organization. She is still working on the transition from wing to point guard, but she can play.”