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The Michigan Shock began the summer with a youthful roster that included just one player from the Class of 2015, but that didn’t stop them from having a successful campaign. The Shock competed in eight high profile tournaments and they reached the finals five times.
“I think we had a great summer. It certainly was better than expected with a team that is as young as ours,” said Coach Derek Thomas. “Our young players got a lot of great experience, and they just got better and better as the summer went along.”
The Shock will be looking to continue their winning ways at the upcoming Chicagoland Tournament of Champions. The event, which will feature many of the top clubs in the Midwest, will be played at Bolingbrook High School from Sept. 27-28.
The Shock roster is led by the coach’s daughter, Sam Thomas (2017, 6-0, G), who is rated as the No. 31 recruit in her class by the All Star Girls Report.
“Sam is a long athlete who can play any of the perimeter positions,” Coach Thomas said. “She is a great scorer and a great defender. She can do it all — put backs, attack the basket, post up, shoot the three — and she took a lot of big shots for us this summer.”
“Thomas is a versatile lefty who is a smooth, skilled player,” said ASGR analyst Bret McCormick. “She can play any position on the perimeter, and she really understands the game.”
The Shock also got a big boost this summer from Tylar Bennett (2017, 6-4, P), who is at No. 111 on the ASGR list.
“Tylar is a shot blocker who can patrol the lane, but she is also a mobile athlete,” Thomas said. “She has a variety of post nice post moves and a good short jumper.”
“Bennett is a long athlete with good footwork on the block,” added McCormick. “She runs the floor well and she just keeps improving. Her stock has really risen this summer.”
The Shock’s top tandem is complemented by an athletic trio that includes Ellie Taylor (2017, 5-7, G), Bailey Thomas (2016, 5-9, W) and Haley Leidel (2016, 5-11, W). Bailey is Sam’s older sister.
“Those three can all shoot it very well, and they have done a great job this summer,” Thomas said. “We like to spread the floor, and that creates opportunities for everyone.”