2021 Sydney Affolter 5'9" PG Illinois Elite National
Chicago, IL: The Windy City. Home of the Nike Tournament of Champions. If you are a player, club, or fan, this is the week you’ve been waiting for. A chance to prove that your team, your program, your city, or your state has the best brand of basketball in the country. Here are a few teams and players that kicked off the week right!
Nike TOC Day I Top Teams
Chicago Power was a surprising and fun team to watch the first day of Nike TOC. They are a versatile group that plays exceptionally well together. Each player brought something to today's game against Team Sask U15 Girls. They could depend on each other for every possession of that game. They ran hard in transition, moved the basketball, and looked for each other. It was fun to watch a group of young kids that played hard and looked like they were enjoying themselves. Their inside presence was noticeable as Elise Heneghan (2022) muscled her way into the paint on crab moves, drop steps, and tough finishes. When she was subbed out, Audrey Hinrichs (2022) stepped right in with her quickness. Her ability to rip and drive from the free throw line caused problems. Team Sask began closing in on these post players who were smart enough to start kicking out to their shooters. Lauren Hall, a lanky 5'10" PG, was able to knock down a couple from the perimeter.
What impressed me most about Lauren was her MOTOR. That kid was ALL over the place. This 2021 would be useful in any program because she does the little things. She chases down boards, gets defensive tips, sprints the floor in transition, etc. Lastly, I can't end this story about Chicago Power without mentioning Lenee Beaumont, a 2023 PG who has great body and ball control. She has a nice way of creating space for herself when being pressured. She uses a right hesitation and stutter to attack her defenders and find teammates.
I look forward to seeing her in the future. Chicago Power went 2-0 their first day with another win over Give N Go Elite.
Utah Premier 14u National
This has to be one of the most balanced and talented bunch of rising freshman I’ve seen yet. To start, they have an incredibly gifted prospect in 6’4 Margaret Mendelson. Even though she was riddled with foul trouble in the first half, she still managed to have a tremendous impact inside. Mendelson gobbled up every rebound in sight while shooting a ridiculously high percentage from the field as well. Her frontcourt counterpart in 6’0” Jordyn Harvey, was huge in securing their win today. She used her great jumping ability along with her strength to muscle in some tough baskets for her squad. To balance out the inside presence, Kailey Woolston brought some big-time energy on the defensive end and a much needed outside threat. She knocked down long threes and broke down her defenders to either finish or kick it out to sharpshooter Makeili Ika. This small, but feisty point guard, was such a hard matchup all day. Makeili has tremendous speed with very good ball handling abilities that made it so tough to stay in front of her. She made big play after big play all day long.
Team Iowa 14U
I have had the pleasure of watching these girls play several times in the past, and they always play very well, today was no different. Fine guard play is what they major on for sure. Kaliyah Sain is always a standout; she has sneaky quickness and a ton of skill that allows her to find herself at the rim or the free throw line frequently. Sain’s money-maker is absolutely her long ball. Her consistency and how effortless it looks is remarkable. Shooting guard, Caroline Pierce, and point guard, Jenna Twedt are no sleepers. These two have high-level I.Q. and shooting abilities. Twedt’s speed when the ball is in her hands is very difficult to stay in front of. Pierce is deadly on a catch and shoots three ball when her feet are set as well. 6’0” power forward, Lexi Hackman rounds out the great guard play with good size inside. She caught the ball nicely and managed to finish several as well for a super tough and talented team.
2022 Mya Moore 6’0” C WI Shooters 2021
Mya was able to control the game around the basket early. She showed her power and strength in the paint was too much for her opponents, grabbing almost all the boards that came her way. Moore finished through tough contact and converted several buckets for her team. She also managed to dominate from the high post area with superb passing to other teammates.
2021 Emree Zars 5’10” SF KS Elite Zars
Emree showed the ability to run the point, make the right pass, and finish at the rim in the first few possessions of the game. She is a smooth and fluid offensive player with a lot of tools in her arsenal. Zars showed great shooting and slashing ability through the game; finishing in a variety of ways with either hand at the rim and knocking down the three-pointer.
2021 Taryn Soumas 5’3” PG and 2021 Janaye Wilkie 5’9” SG Spokane Titans
These two backcourt players were definitely the engine that kept this train moving. Both of these young ladies have high communication skills; pointing and talking on every possession. The one-two punch of Soumas’ long ball and the dribble drive aggression from Wilkie was just enough to keep their squad in the game against a talented Wisconsin Lakers team.
2023 Margaret Mendelson 6’4” C Utah Premier 14U National
Mendelson is an absolute elite basketball player. This young talent is so tall, so long and so skilled. She runs the floor exceptionally well and catches on the move with ease. Her ability to catch high and keep high, combined with her extraordinary soft touch, made her unstoppable. She was able, even with horrible foul trouble, to protect the rim with several blocks and altered shots.
2023 Jordyn Harvey 6’0” SF Utah Premier 14U National
Jordyn was super explosive off the ground going after rebounds. She pursued the ball with bad intentions at times; going through anyone in her way. Her elite athleticism allowed her to finish at the rim with relative ease. Driving to the basket almost always ensured her a quick two points due to her amazing size and strength. Harvey was pivotal in their win over a young, but very talented NJ Sparks team today.
2022 Hannah Ronsiek 5’10” SG SD Attack 2022
Hannah started the game off very aggressive, attacking the rim over and over, putting major pressure on the defense. She scrambled after loose balls and even pulled down some offensive boards as well. This shooting guard from South Dakota did not disappoint when it came to her long ball either. Ronsiek definitely led her team in hustle and high-level play today.
2023 Kamorea Arnold 5’8” PG WI Impact 2022
This girl got better and better as the game went on. She is the very definition of a two-way player. She repeatedly broke down her defender and found waiting shooters or diving bigs. When lanes opened up for her, she took them-and in a hurry too. Because she was pretty much unguardable going to the basket, defenders tried to sag off—just to get a three splashed in their face. Arnold’s on-ball defense is top notch too. She pressured the ball without fouling, got around screens, and contested every shot.
2022 Madison Wardell 6’1” SF Michigan Crossover 14U
Wardell has made a name for herself with being an elite athlete. She absolutely showed off her athleticism today. An undersized Nebraska Hoops team struggled to find a way to try and contain her today. Wardell flew by defenders when snatching a rebound going coast to coast for easy buckets at the rim. Boxing her out is easier said than done. She is so strong and has such great jumping ability that she usually found herself grabbing them anyways. Madison is getting better and better operating out of the high post area as well. She was so tough to keep out of the lane when she was allowed to catch—driving extremely hard to the rack. There was simply no answer for her today.
2021 Isabella Reynolds 5’10” PG Miami Suns Nike 16U White
Reynolds did a great job, not only pushing the tempo for her team but controlling it as well. She made easy passes in the full court when her opponents tried to bring the pressure. She did a great job of not turning the ball over and keeping much-needed possessions. Reynolds also showed very nice form and range with her three ball. She did a great job of hitting the open three when the defense showed zone.
2024 Alivia McGill 5'7" PG Minnesota Elite
Keyser is an assertive and forceful guard. Standing at only 5’7”, she plays much bigger. McGill was an able floor general for her team as she consistently led them in the right direction. She delivered the ball with accuracy and scored the ball when needed. She knocked down open triples and attacked the basket aggressively leading her team to a tough a loss vs. a very talented Maryland Belles team.
2024 Madison McDaniel 5'5" PG Team Takeover 8th Jr EYBL
McDaniel is a very aggressive guard with impressive quickness. She penetrated the gaps and found her open teammates in transition. Her foot speed proved too much for many, as she quickly got to the rim for a smooth finish. Madison was all over the floor defensively causing numerous dead balls and forcing turnovers.
2021 Sydney Affolter 5'9" PG Illinois Elite National
Affolter is a bigger guard that uses her strengths to her ability very well. In her matchup on Wednesday night against the Hoopstars, Sydney was a key component in leading her a team to a tough 45-40 victory. She knows how to get her teammates the ball in the correct spots for easy scoring opportunities and also is quick and strong enough to finish through contact as she did several times. Affolter is a natural leader, and after watching her play on Wednesday night, I can see why she's one of the top PG in the state of Illinois class of 2021.
Nike TOC Noteworthy Day I Standouts
Jordan Wood 6'4" 2023 (Midwest Elite - 15U Dunner)
This kid is a STRAIGHT BALLER. She has the size, length, and athleticism to be a major impact player at the BCS level. She sprints the floor, can finish through contact, and scores over players. She impacts the game on the defensive end just as much. Excited to see her continue to develop and add even more to her game.
Maeve St. John 5'7 2022 (PR1DE)
Full of confidence, Maeve is a smooth player who can score from the outside and hit the floater in the paint. She pushes the tempo and forces people to defend her. Her swag makes it even more fun to watch.
Erianna Gooden 5'10 2025 (Proskills 2025)
Erianna wants the ball in her hands when the game is on the line. With 25 seconds left, down three, Erianna goes coast to coast, scores at the rim and hits the free throw to tie the game. She is physical and plays at a higher level than her age group. Look for her in the years to come.
Nyla Brooks 5'10 2025 (Team Takeover 7th Murray)
Nyla is a shifty guard that looks to slash and score in the paint. She needs to continue working on her outside shot, but her athleticism, size, and feel for the game makes up for anything she is lacking.
Lilly Meincke 5'10 2022 (So-Minn Fury 2022)
Lilly is a smooth and in control guard who can read her defender. She showed off with a nice euro step, step back 3, and a sweet pop behind the screen when her defender went under.
Grace Elliott 6'1 2021 (VK Basketball - Red)
Grace is a nice size post player who knows how to seal her defender up the lane and use basic footwork around the basket to score. She finishes well through contact and looks to rebound.
Cali Denson 5'7 2022 (Flames White)
Cali is a tough PG who has a nice handle in open court. She finished coast to coast multiple times, mainly going right. She has an excellent shot from three which she isn't afraid to pop in transition. Her silent swag was noticeable by all.