Friday, October 11, 2019

5th Annual EST Upstate Fall Showcase: Morning Session Standouts

***There were many quality players at this event, and many that had good showings, made good plays, and left strong impressions. I have not highlighted all of them here. This article points at a few that either had particularly superlative showings or were particularly impressive in my eyes compared to my previous evaluation of them. There are many that are still to come in other formats that I thought played well or had shining moments. I've taken notes on all participants in this session & have cut highlights from game film, and I'll work to put a spotlight on all as time goes on!***


With the 5th Annual EST Upstate Fall Showcase now a thing of the past, it's time to take a quick look back to mention who made their mark & stood out at the event, starting with the morning session.

September 29 saw 117 athletes from NY & MA take the court at Schenectady HS. 58 of them were in the event's opening session. This included a wide-ranging variety of talent - from well-established recruits with an early working list of Division I offers and some of the region's finest young talent to under-the-radar, local program juniors & seniors looking to work their way onto Division III radars. A few standouts & notes from the morning session, listed in alphabetical order:


Jenalyse Alarcon (5'9"; Troy 2021, NY Havoc) - Jenalyse is still working back into full game speed, as I believe this was her first event like this since being cleared following a February knee injury. Something that struck me from the moment she walked in is how far along she's come. There's no mental effect on her that lingers for so many athletes coming back from injuries. She played unafraid, willing to attack & embrace contact, and if you didn't know already, you wouldn't have thought there was ever an injury to begin with. She's kept herself in great shape along the way and looks ready to go. Jenalyse showed some more comfort with the jumper and it looks smoother coming off her hand, as she hit a few midrange & perimeter Js at the event. Perhaps her best asset on the court is how well she plays without the ball - in a game where many don't know what to do when they don't have it in their hands, she plays very well & makes an impact without it, knowing when & where to cut and cutting to score vs. cutting to space. Alarcon is a player that could prove valuable to a winning team/program in years to come - hopefully no one forgot about her, because she's back.

Janay Brantley (Catskill 2023)
Janay Brantley (5'8"; Catskill 2023, NY Havoc) - I thought Janay, one of the 518's finest young talents that may fall under the radar for some at Catskill, had a pretty impressive showing. The main thing that sticks out about her is an extensive scoring package. She's known as a good shooter at this point, and she hit a handful of threes at the event, also showing she can knock them down against a good contest. What might have struck me the most is her growing finishing package going toward the rim. She hit floaters & short runners from various angles, had a high arcing right hand/right foot finish going parallel to the rim, and even dipped to the post at one point, holding off a strong defender with her hip to lead into a catch & reverse layup finish. Brantley looks more comfortable on the ball at this stage, but with her size & length at the guard spot along with skill set, she carries versatile qualities that could make her an impact player both on & off the ball going forward.

Anna Eng (5'5"; Croton-Harmon 2021, NY Extreme) - Anna has had a busy fall, seemingly in a different gym every weekend, and she's been showing out the whole way. This event was certainly no different, as her showing was impressive even to someone that has been aware of her for a couple years. Anna is known as a very skilled PG that brings the flash & style with her game, but don't be fooled - there's a ton of substance and a real competitive edge. She was a clear standout at this event at the guard spot, showing some of everything among a strong crop of guards, some already holding scholarship offers. The shot was really falling for Eng, as she got hot early and ended up hitting 8 or 9 threes over a pair of 5v5 games. It started with a catch & shoot off a screen, then a deep pull-up trey & another off a quick rhythm dribble, and she was eventually showing the ability to hit right off dribble moves. She did more than just that, as she showed the dribble move package to be able to break defenders down off the bounce, and she also made an impact on the defensive end as she used active hands to get some deflections & force a few turnovers to spring the break. In a 2021 class that is DEEP in this region & easy for even a strong guard to slip through the cracks, I'm anticipating that Anna will make her presence felt and end up having some scholarship level suitors.

Anna Eng (Croton-Harmon 2021)
Stasia Epler (5'7"; Cambridge 2022, NY Havoc) - I thought Stasia, a small-school standout alongside the highly heralded Phillips twins at Cambridge that's starting to come into her own, had a great showing at this event. Known as a knockdown shooter, she showed more in her offensive arsenal than just hitting the three. She got into the lane & connected on a floater, and at another point, she made a nice move going to her left, hitting a fallaway midrange jumper off a spin move in 5v5 play. Epler looked more comfortable with the ball in her hands, even sliding over to handle it & play some point at times, and her eyes were up looking to pitch ahead to finishers in transition. She still showed the range though in case anyone forgot what time it was, hitting several threes and extending out to the pro line while shooting at a high percentage.

Sydney Hart (5'8"; South Glens Falls 2023, NY Havoc) - The same can be said for Syd that's said about a couple others in this post - her performance at this event is just as much a testament to her work ethic & conditioning as it is anything else. Syd had a solid start, but seemingly picked it up as the event went on and was a true standout by her team's final 5v5 game, still going at 100% as everyone else was wearing down. Her shot was off early, but she found other ways to make an impact as the multi-sport standout was getting back into the swing of things going up & down. She really picked it up offensively in the final game, showing a three-level scoring ability with a couple long treys, midrange game, a couple takes to the rim off the dribble, and with her strength, she was able to take her defender into the post a couple times as well - showing right & left hand finishes and post footwork that most posts don't even have. The floor general also showed her ability to find & create for others, with a couple pocket passes to cutters for finishes.

Teagan Kamm (6'1"; Honeoye Falls-Lima 2022, WNY Lakers) - Teagan is a true forward that, in terms of impact at an event like this, has really improved over the last several months. Her post game offensively is developing, and she finishes high & plays under control with the ball in her hands. She made a couple very nice passes that show court vision & passing ability that I previously wasn't aware of - one on quick recognition, find & kick out of a double in 3v3 play for a weak-side jumper, and the other threading the needle to a cutter from the top of the key in 5v5 action. Perhaps a bigger asset at this point is what she brings defensively, a definite 'plus' post defender that can guard good forwards or be an anchor in the middle of a zone. She's a quality shot blocker, with good length along with the height & a well-trained ability to stay straight up on block attempts without fouling. She looked stronger, more confident & comfortable, and she made a bigger impact at this event because of it.

Maddisyn Mahoney (Shaker 2021)
Maddisyn Mahoney (6'2"; Shaker 2021, NY Havoc) - From the standpoint of sheer physical dominance, no one brought it like Maddi. She was a true standout at this event, not only because of her quality of play, but also because of the visible strides she's made over the course of 2019. Mahoney was a physical presence & dominant in the post, making other quality players afraid to touch the paint at times. She's becoming more mobile, more agile, and a better rim protector in the post defensively. She was also active on the glass from start to finish, grabbing boards at both ends both in & out of her area. She was running the floor well, making rim runs after getting rebounds, catching & finishing in transition, and she even sprung the break at one point with an advance chest pass covering most of the court to a teammate in stride. Perhaps most striking was how well-conditioned she is. She was still going at full speed in the final minutes of the event, and she wore down matchup after matchup. Mahoney's effectiveness in the post was a clear takeaway from the showcase.

Amya McLeod (5'6"; Rome Free Academy 2023, I-90 Elite) - I certainly was familiar with Amya going into the event, having watched the CNY youngster for about a year now and having her in a previous event as well, but I thought she made a statement in this session even to me. Perhaps Amya's biggest asset is the intensity she plays with, as she brought a different level of energy to her team whenever she was on the court. She's athletic & explosive off the bounce, and she was mentally in attack mode at this event but also showing discretion in the process. If her performance here was any indicator, her range is improving, as she hit a few threes during the day - a couple off the catch, a couple more off the dribble - while shooting at a solid percentage. Amya dominated for a stretch in 3v3 play, then had another flurry later in the session in the second 5v5 game.

Amya McLeod (Rome Free Academy 2023)
Abby Racine (5'10"; Northeastern Clinton 2021, Lone Wolf) - As far as helping herself in the eyes of attending coaches & evaluators goes, there may not be anyone that did herself a service as much as Abby did at this event. She was possibly the most asked about player at the event upon its completion, and with good reason. The high school junior has the body of a college sophomore already and her strength is a major asset, but it's far from her only ticket as she showed real improvement in both skill & confidence. She looks more comfortable facing up & handling the ball than in the past, even stepping out to the wing & putting it on the deck. The naturally trained post finishes well with either hand in the blocks and has pretty good footwork, covers a lot of ground on post moves & uses her body well to hold off defenders. However, that 'naturally trained post' looks to be becoming more of a 3 with her widening skill set. On top of the handle & attacking from the wing, she was consistently knocking down jumpers from different spots on the court, including a handful of threes. She has quickly jumped into the discussion as a potential D2 prospect in that class.

Abby Racine (Northeastern Clinton 2021)
Lexie Roe (5'7"; Fayetteville-Manlius 2021, I-90 Elite) - There may not be much more of a pure bucket here than Lexie. If I counted points at this event, I'd be surprised if the Syracuse area standout didn't lead the way. It started in 3v3 play, showing very deep range with a couple 25 footers when given some space. Her confidence grew more in 5v5 play, where she hit 3 threes in the first few minutes and then started to attack poor closeouts to go downhill & show the in-between game. She continued to fill it up as the event wore on, showing the ability to hit off the catch, off ball screens, and a couple coming off stepbacks. I liked her willingness to try & absorb contact a little more, as she got to the free throw line a few times as well. Coaches that are looking for a pure scorer at the 2 in the 2021 class might want to get familiar.

Karlyssa Shifflett (5'8"; Liverpool 2021, Syracuse Nets) - Karly, a diehard gym rat that showed her dedication in the summer by making every night of the summer league coming from Syracuse, was firing on all cylinders from start to finish. Known as a knockdown shooter, she showed the ability to hit both off the catch & off the dribble, and going to both her right & left in doing so. She really got hot in the final game, hitting 4 threes & adding a couple finishes going toward the rim, which is a testament to her conditioning in a three-hour session in a warm gym. Shifflett is showing progression in her willingness to add aspects to her game offensively as well, as she's showing more comfort putting it on the deck & working an in-between game in the mix. At one point, she had a good take going left, holding the defender off with her hip and turned the corner late before lofting a short floater. This active & assertive scoring wing will likely become a coveted 2021 prospect by next spring & summer.


FULL LIST OF MORNING SESSION PARTICIPANTS

Toni Adipietro (5'7"; Pine Bush 2020)
Anastasia Edwards (6'1"; Morris 2020)
Paige Keeler (5'7"; Jamesville-DeWitt 2020)
Piper Seamon (5'8"; Cooperstown 2020)
Jenalyse Alarcon (5'9"; Troy 2021)
Alana Batson (5'8"; Whitesboro 2021)
Brianna Beebe (5'10"; Newark Valley 2021)
Molly Brophy (5'11"; Greenwich 2021)
Allessia Carlo (5'4"; Kennedy Catholic 2021)
Solé Carrington (5'6"; Shaker 2021)
Laycee Drake (5'6"; Hancock 2021)
Anna Eng (5'5"; Croton-Harmon 2021)
Lauren Filien (6'0"; Columbia 2021)
Melanie Hoyt (6'2"; Stamford 2021)
Anna Jankovic (5'9"; Averill Park 2021)
Maddisyn Mahoney (6'2"; Shaker 2021)
Kylee Peck (5'6"; Greene 2021)
Sophie Phillips (5'11"; Cambridge 2021)
Abby Racine (5'10"; Northeastern Clinton 2021)
Kayla Robbins (6'0"; Shaker 2021)
Lexie Roe (5'7"; Fayetteville-Manlius 2021)
Mackenzie Searles (5'9"; Hoosic Valley 2021)
Karlyssa Shifflett (5'8"; Liverpool 2021)
Jackie Stanavich (5'9"; Amsterdam 2021)
Arianna Stockinger (5'9"; Putnam Valley 2021)
Amaya Williams (5'3"; Nottingham 2021)
Vasilia Anastos (5'4"; Maine-Endwell 2022)
Alexandra Bednarczyk (6'0"; Baldwinsville 2022)
Haley Burchhardt (5'5"; Schalmont 2022)
Maddie Cozzens (6'0"; Shenendehowa 2022)
Stasia Epler (5'7"; Cambridge 2022)
Samantha Hansen (5'10"; Shenendehowa 2022)
Teagan Kamm (6'1"; Honeoye Falls-Lima 2022)
Madison Kelly (5'7"; Maine-Endwell 2022)
Katie Marlow (5'11"; Shenendehowa 2022)
Cara Murphy (5'8"; Wilbraham & Monson (MA) 2022)
Kate Peek (5'9"; Millbrook School 2022)
Tanner Poissant (5'6"; Columbia 2022)
Emily Satterday (5'9"; Shaker 2022)
Kyla Smith (5'4"; Fonda-Fultonville 2022)
Chessie Vassilakos (5'6"; Colonie 2022)
Amelia Wood (6'0"; Averill Park 2022)
Hayley Beebe (5'3"; Newark Valley 2023)
Sophie Bissaillon (5'7"; Columbia 2023)
Janay Brantley (5'8"; Catskill 2023)
Briana Dorr (5'6"; Shenendehowa 2023)
Isabella Franchi (5'6"; Colonie 2023)
Sydney Hart (5'8"; South Glens Falls 2023)
Kaylee Krysztof (5'6"; Depew 2023)
Amya McLeod (5'6"; Rome Free Academy 2023)
Kaleigh Montanez (5'11"; Shenendehowa 2023)
Ava Pearson (5'4"; Colonie 2023)
Meagan Schuermann (5'8"; Cooperstown 2023)
Danielle Seamon (5'9"; Cooperstown 2023)
Hannah VanDerzee (5'9"; Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 2023)
Alaejah Wallace (5'3"; Elmira 2023)
Cameryn Wilders (5'5"; Shenendehowa 2023)
Mackenzie Owens (5'6"; Springville-Griffith 2024)

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