Tennessee Team Pride’s top team this year will be a solid, competitive unit, and Coach Chris Brown is confident that the majority of the 10 players on the Pride roster will be playing Division I basketball in the future.
“We have a team that is very intelligent, tough and coachable, and I really think they all have Division I talent,” Brown said. “We have players getting calls from coaches at all different levels, but they all have talent. Plus, this team has a great mix. We have players who can shoot, we have ball handlers, and we have post players. We are definitely not a one dimensional team.”
The Team Pride players do have one characteristic in common.
“We have a lot of kids who are academically oriented,” Brown said. “Our players use basketball as a tool to move ahead toward their future. Our kids usually take a long look at which schools have the best academic package for them.”
Team Pride expects to take five teams to the 2014 Deep South Classic, which will be played in Raleigh, NC, on April 25-27. Now in its 17th year, the Deep South Classic annually hosts many of the nation’s elite travel teams in a field that will eclipse 200 squads, and hundreds of collegiate coaches will be on hand searching for talent. The 2014 event will mark the second year that the Deep South Classic has been held at the Raleigh Convention Center. The venue was a tremendous success in its debut last year, with all games played at one site on 18 courts, and it is in a convenient central location.
The Nashville club’s marque team will be paced this spring by Brianne Porter, a 6-3 post player who is listed as the No. 180 recruit in the Class of 2015 by the All Star Girls Report.
“Bri is left-handed, and she really runs the floor well. She has changed a few games for us with her ability to get up and down the court,” Brown said.
Porter is complemented on the baseline by India Hall (2015, 6-2, PF), and Callie Hackett (2015, 5-5, PG) runs the show for Team Pride.
“Callie may not be big, but she is in constant motion,” Brown said. “She is a lockdown defender, she scores, and she keeps everyone involved in the offense. India is a strong inside player, and she combines with Bri to give us a nice tandem on the baseline.”
ASGR analyst Bret McCormick was also high on the Team Pride leaders. “Porter is a strong post player who can score down low, and she does a great job running the court. She has the skills to take the ball coast-to-coast,” McCormick said. “Hall gives her team a strong presence in the paint, and she can score on the block. Hackett has good quickness and skills, and she is an excellent shooter.”
That trio will be supported by a three strong perimeter players from the class of 2015 — Tiffany Rechis, Claudia Smith and Jenny Roy (an outstanding athlete who moved to the Nashville area this year from Oklahoma).
Brown also believes Team Pride will get a big boost from Jasmine Bond (2016, 6-4, F, No. 96 in ASGR’s rankings). Bond is currently playing for Blackmon High School, which is the No. 1 prep team in the nation according to MaxPreps.
“Jazz is just a very fluid, very skilled player,” Brown said. “She has great hands, and she can catch the ball on the move and finish. She is starting to really develop her shooting range, which is going to make her very difficult to stop.”
“Bond reminds me of a Euro type player,” added McCormick. “She is a long athlete who really understands the game, and she has very good fundamentals.”