In the world of men’s college basketball, the portion of North Carolina’s Tobacco Road that makes up the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill region is often called “The Triangle’’. Although N.C. State, Duke and North Carolina also are women’s basketball powerhouses, you can make a strong argument that there is another Triangle further to the North.
That’s Washington, D.C. and its surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia. The region might be the most fertile recruiting territory high school girls prospects that end up at top programs throughout the nation.
For evidence, all you really have to do is look at one Nike EYBL program that has produced a slew of big-time players in the last decade. What started as boys program under President Keith Stevens has grown into an empire for boys and girls since a girls program was added in 2012.
“Keith wanted to branch out,’’ Team Takeover Girls Director Ron James said. “We linked up and decided to run the girls program the same way.’’
The partnership has been a tremendous success. You don’t have to look much further for proof than James’ spot on the Silver Wave Media’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Women’s College Basketball. His 2019 team won the Nike EYBL national championship with marquee players Angel Reese (now at Maryland), Madison Scott (currently at Ole Miss) and Mir McLean (who started off at UConn before transferring to Virginia).
“We take great pride in the fact that 99 percent of the girls that have come through our program have earned scholarships to play basketball in college,’’ James said. “They all take academics and basketball seriously. Our location certainly helps because there are so many great high school players. We’re in a very active region with a lot of great resources.
“I like to say we have a nice medley of girls. We have something for everyone at every level. It’s kind of the perfect storm.’’
As this year’s version of Team Takeover gets ready for the spring and summer Nike EYBL circuit, nothing has changed. Once again, the team is loaded with potential recruits on the Power Five to mid-major levels for the classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The 2023 class alone features two players that are ranked in the top 15 in the country by All-Star Girls Report.
Leading the way is Jadyn Donovan, a 6-foot wing player, who ASGR ranks No. 12 in her class. She is being recruited by virtually every Power Five program in the country.
“She’s such a nice kid that she hates to say no to anybody,’’ James said. “But I’ve told her she needs to get her list narrowed down by the end of April.’’
Donovan may have a soft heart off the court, but she’s ruthless on it.
“She has an unwavering thirst for competition,’’ James said. “She’s a Swiss-Army knife because she can do everything. Here mid-range game is to die for, it’s unstoppable. She can shoot the three, but I’m going to ask her to do even more of that once we get going.’’
Not far behind is Sahnya Jah, a 6-3 wing, who is ranked No. 15.
“Sahnya is a big-time Power Five recruit,’’ James said. “She’s a long, athletic kid that can finish with either hand and she excels in the mid-range. She also is a tenacious rebounder.’’
Qadance Samuels is ranked No. 54 on ASGR’s list, but James believes she can work her way into the top 50 with a strong spring and summer. She also is considered a Power Five prospect.
Mikeala Quimby (No. 80 on ASGR’s list) is a 5-9 point guard, is new to Team Takeover, but she already has made plans for college. She recently committed to West Virginia.
Simone Lewis, who has been with James and the Team Takeover program since sixth grade, also has made a college decision. She committed to Holy Cross.
James said that 6-5 post player Hawa Doumbouya (ranked No. 104 by ASGR) might have the most long-term potential of any player on the roster. Doumbouya is new to Team Takeover, but James said he believes she could someday be a star in the WNBA.
James also said that 5-8 combo guard Da’Brya Clark (No. 149) is being recruited by high- to mid-level programs.
Team Takeover’s prospects aren’t limited to the Class of 2023. The program also has two recruits rated in ASGR’s top 50 for the Class of 2024.
Madisen McDaniel, a 5-8 point guard, is rated at No. 16.
“Madisen is the complete point guard,’’ James said. “She’s all you could want. She tore her ACL eight months ago and she’s already back and performing at an elite level.’’
Kyndal Walker, a 5-9 guard, is ranked No. 50 in the same class.
“Kyndal contributes whatever her team needs,’’ James said. “She’s smooth and sneaky athletic. She’s like a quiet storm.’’
James said he plans to carry one member of the 2025 recruiting class on his top team. That’s 6-2 wing Zhen Craft, rated No. 11 by ASGR.
“She has a high I.Q. and she already is elite on the defensive side,’’ James said. “Offensively, she’s a slasher, but she also shoots in the mid-range and behind the three-point line. She also might end up growing another inch or two.’’