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The MASS Rivals program is built on the characteristics you would expect from a strong New England organization.
“We are all about the blue collar approach — we value hard work and skill development,” said Coach Scott Hazelton. “We have done a good job identifying kids that fit our mold, kids that play hard and want to be in the gym. We work out three or four times a week, and we go year round. When you sign up with us, you are going to get help all year long.”
The Rivals formula will be tested this spring at the 2015 Deep South Classic, which will be played in Raleigh, NC on April 24-26. The Deep South Classic, which annually features the nation’s top travel programs, will once again have the entire tournament in one facility — the tremendous Raleigh Convention Center.
When the group from Massachusetts arrives in Raleigh, all eyes will be on young Janai Crooms (2018, 5-11, G, rated at No. 35 in her class nationally by the All Star Girls Report).
“Janai is a tough athlete who has to be one of the top 50 players in her class,” Hazelton said. “She doesn’t exactly fit the mold for the type of kid we usually get. I’ve never said this before, but I really believe that Janai has a chance to be an All-American. I think she is that good. She is so strong and so athletic, she can handle it and shoot it, and her understanding of the game is well beyond her years.”
Bret McCormick, the analyst for the All Star Girls Report, is also high on Crooms.
“Crooms is a strong, athletic combo guard with a great handle,” McCormick said. “She can really attack the basket, and she can post people up.”
Hazelton also expects strong performances from Erin Antosh (2017, 6-3, F, No. 139), Ciera Dillon (2016, 5-8, CG) and Lexi Schecter (2016, 6-3, F).
“Erin is a long athlete who has high major potential,” the coach said. “She just seems to get better every day. She can shoot the three and put the ball on the floor, and she is equally good on the defensive end. She plays with a lot of energy.
“Ciera is a high flying guard who has a ton of energy and athleticism. She is a great defender, a tenacious, lunchpail kind of kid. Lexi is a stretch four with a college ready body. She is very skilled with a nice hook shot with either hand. I think she might have a big spring.”
“Antosh is strong with good footwork inside,” added McCormick. “She is a very active player who can face up to 15 feet. Dillon is a very quick guard who plays hard. She has a good mid-range game and she can hit the three. Schecter is a strong, aggressive low post player. She is a beast inside, and she runs the floor well.”