Ames, IA: The second day of the 2019 Battle of the Best saw thrilling performances and a slew of college coaches on hand to take in the action as the “live” evaluation period is coming to an end. Here is a look at a few of the top performers from Ames, IA on Wednesday.
2023 Rashunda Jones 5’7” PG Lady Indy Gymrats 9th Turquoise
Jones was an elite scorer today from all levels against the older Martin Brothers 2022 9th grade squad. To start things off, she used her ridiculous high motor and energy level from the defensive end to create some easy buckets for herself. Jones has some sneaky length that frazzled ball handlers all day, she also was a terror darting out in passing lanes for some simple break away layups. Jones was also lightning quick with the ball in her hands in transition, flying up the floor like a blur. This point guard was so difficult to keep out of the paint with her super quick dribble penetration and very tight ball handling. Her body control was outstanding, manipulating the ball while still in the air to get the best possible angle to finish shots inside.
2023 Audi Crooks 6’4” C Cy Select 8th Alpha
When you look out on the court during warm-ups, and you see a player like Audi Crooks looking ever so menacing with her 6’4” stature, then you know you are in for a treat as a spectator. Crooks subsequently delivered everything I was hoping for. She dominated the game with her very presence. Every play was centered around her, where she was and even how many players were guarding her. The defense started just simply playing behind to see what she offered. It didn’t take long to figure out that she was going to be nearly impossible to stop. She muscled her way to the rim for countless baskets. When the fronts and double teams came, it was pretty much the same outcome-two points, because Crooks was able to catch everything she had thrown to her with her soft yet very large hands. Simply stated, she was completely unstoppable.
2022 Taylor McCabe 5’9” SG Team Factory 2022 9th-Nebraska
Taylor McCabe is one of those players that make the game look easy, effortless almost. Her demeanor is calm and quiet. Her body language never seems rattled, and her game is simple and smooth. McCabe made hard drives through contact seem easy. She never forced anything for any reason, always making the right pass or the right play. Without question, at times the right play was for her to attack her defender off the bounce for a quick two. She made very skilled and fundamentally sound moves to the rack throughout the entire game. McCabe is also a very skilled shooter, knocking down any open looks when they presented themselves. Probably one of the most underrated qualities about her is her steady-eddy defense. She plays phenomenal on-ball defense, staying in front, never really gambling. She is always in the right position for steals when wayward passes come her way as well.
2023 Molly Joyce 5’5” PG Cy Select 8th Alpha
When you have a teammate that draws such massive attention down low in the paint, no doubt it becomes a bit easier to find some open looks from the perimeter. When 2023 southpaw Molly Joyce touched the ball out there, it was certainly going up in a hurry. Any room you gave her was just enough for her to drain big three after big three. Her quick trigger release allowed her to use minimal space to launch them. After all but securing a big lead early, Cy Select ran into some trouble late and was struggling to find some offense, that’s where Joyce comes into the picture. Her opponents were unable to match her efficiency from three, hitting numerous deep triples. Molly Joyce’s Cy Select squad pulled out a nice win today in day two of The Battle of the Best.
2022 Amaya Battle 5’8” PG North Tartan 9th Elite
After watching 2023 Amaya Battle play numerous times, it’s crystal clear that scoring the ball, making fantastic plays and flat out taking over a game is within reach every time she steps on the floor. Battle has all the right tools to be a show stopper night in and night out. She managed to get to her ever so smooth pull up, time and time again after breaking down her primary defender. She hit a tough floater with her left going right, giving her squad a nice lead. Battle was a beast on the boards from both ends as well. Her relentless demeanor was impressive on the glass; it allowed her to throw in several easy baskets along the way. She led the break-in transition, throwing in a tough bucket for a great energy-boosting three-point play as well.
2021 Kailee Davis 5’4” PG Michigan Crossover 16U EYBL
2021 point guard, Kailee Davis, from Michigan Crossover 16U EYBL, is like a children’s lullaby personified. She lulls you to sleep with every single thing she does. She might be one of the most deceptive, sneaky, and evasive players I’ve ever seen. The way she changes speeds, from super slow to fast or full speed to stopping on a dime, is outrageous to watch at times. She managed to hit several threes with players down and ready to defend because they thought she was about to penetrate, or drive and dump when her defender thought she shot it. Davis got off several one-handed floaters over the waiting bigs at the rim because of her ability to throw off the shot blockers timing. Davis ended up with a monster game, tossing in 24 points and six rebounds while taking down the All Iowa Attack 16U EYBL in day 2 action in Ames, Iowa.
2022 Emani Theodule 5’8” CG, 2022 Sydney Shaw 5’8” CG and 2022 Jordana Codio 5’11” SF Miami Suns 17U EYBL
This trio of young ladies is absolutely an outstanding inside-outside combination for their group. Shaw and Theodule have everything you want in high-level guards; great ball-handling in the half-court and in transition, strong frames to finish tough shots inside, and lockdown defensive energy out on the perimeter. Theodule was very difficult to contain when she made her mind up to her to the basket from the top of the key, and Shaw had a smooth pull up with excellent elevation. We will no doubt see much more of these two for years to come. Jordana is an interesting prospect. She’s a young stud as well, with her ridiculous athleticism and high skill level. She put a ton of pressure on the transition defense because she ran the floor with such grace and speed. She moved well inside, posting and flashing, finding open areas to cut to. Codio did a great job leaping over the top of defenders and kissing the ball off the glass for two a few times.
2021 Anna Miller 6’4” SF North Tartan 17U Elite
Anna Miller made her impact know from all over the court. She made numerous buckets from the block, whether it was out of bounds underplays or rim running hard in transition. Miller used her size and outstanding length to finish almost everything that came her way. She operated from the top of the key like a pro, making pinpoint passes to her other big down low. She crashed the offensive boards on every single shot, making it extremely difficult to keep her off of the free-throw line. She racked up three-point opportunities several times throughout the game as well. Her activity level was off the charts for a frontcourt player, diving and cutting continuously during possessions. Miller contested and bothered a ton of looks in the paint from her opponents while blocking or even tying up several others.