Warsaw, IN: Over 180teams made the trip to Warsaw, IN for April Showers. Local and National media were in attendance to see what young players were able to add to their games after high school seasons played in the midst of the pandemic. It felt good to host an event after a long layoff but it felt even better to see that young players have improved and are striving to help their teams win while making an impact in the eyes of scouts and college coaches. Here, I highlight a few teams and a few impact players from the 2021 LBI April Showers event.
When there is a lot of turnover amongst the team, the Wolverines have managed to keep their core group together. The program's ability to do so allows them to compete at a high level no matter what age group they enter. To say the Wolverinas have outstanding perimeter players would be an understatement. 2023 Katy Eidle is the engine that makes this machine run. She has excellent size, 5’11”, and length. She impacts the game in so many ways and can score at all three levels. 2023 Sophie Swanson is a slasher, and she is good at picking her spots to impact the game. She’s one of those kids that seem to make the right play when given the opportunity. 2022 Joy Bergstrom looked a little stronger, a little quicker, and a little more hungry this weekend. She has a big-time motor which allows her to be involved consistently on both ends of the court. Again, she’s another high IQ guard that can get it done at all levels. She rebounds well for her size too. I came away impressed with 2023 Emily Fisher as she pulled back the many layers of her game over the last two days. Fisher is strong and skilled with the ball. Most impressive to me was her ability to play at different speeds, given the attributes of her defender. At 6’0”, she saw multiple types of defenders, and she dealt with them accordingly. Fisher knew precisely what she needed to accomplish to put herself in the best position to make a play from the perimeter, post, or coast to coast.
Example Sports Wolfpack GUAA (Illinois)
I think Coach Barry Bradford has the talent to be one of the top teams in the midwest, but as we both shared in my talk with him, it will take a little time. Here is why: 2022 Faith Okorie has undergone and is undergoing a transformation over the past year. She is much stronger and more fit than she’s ever been…and it showed. Okorie ran the floor like nobody’s business and was effective in the paint on both ends of the court. Easily one of the strongest kids in the gym this past weekend. She also displayed soft touch around the basket. 2022 Aaliyah Smith has all kinds of game and the ability to create for herself and others. When she rounds into shape, she’s going to be a nightmare to handle. Smith has a playground feel to her game that will keep you on the edge of your seat. According to Coach Bradford, both Okorie and Smith have overcome their adversity to get to where they are. But I’ll say, both young ladies deserve a fresh look from college coaches. 2022 Brooklyn Gray is a big guard with freakishly good footwork and handles at her size. The 6’0” foot wing was a matchup nightmare this weekend as she was able to put bigger defenders on skates with her shiftiness. The baby of the group, 2023 Janae Kent, probably has the most potential. Kent has a length/athleticism combination to die for. Her ability to raise up on defenders at any level and finish over the top is elite. With a little more intentionally on the defensive end, she could be an elite and versatile defender as well. Example Sports has some serious talent.
West Michigan Drive Copeland 15U
They won’t wow you by the eye test but, West Michigan Drive Copeland will garner your respect by the game's end. Two of their four wins this weekend were by 2 points. You can pull those games out when you have excellent guard play, and they don’t come much tougher than 2024 Madelyn Geers and 2024 Lily Zeinstra. Geers was relentless to the basket all weekend as she was able to get to the basket and finish from multiple angles under duress. Vs. Sports City U, there were spurts where she could take over the game and string together consecutive buckets to keep the game out of reach for a very talented SCU squad. Geers has a big-time motor and is ultra-competitive. Lily Zeinstra is probably the most consistent player in Michigan’s 2024 class. She seemingly never disappoints as she is constantly competing at a high level. Zeinstra was a threat to score from anywhere on the court all weekend. Her range is Curry-esque, and she can shoot that off the dribble or catch and shoot. Her ability to stretch the floor and shoot the three constantly was back-breaking for opponents.
Sports City U 17U (Ohio)
This team is deep and talented. Even with two players out due to injury (2022 Gabby Anderson and 2023 Amiyah Reynolds), Sports City U was able to keep teams off-balance and on their heels with relentless pressure. I saw them play last week where the defense sputtered at times, but this week they were much better, and it showed in the Super Platinum Elite Championship game as they held their opponent to 2 points and jumped out to a 20+ point lead in the beginning minutes of the game. The ability and commitment of 2022 Imarianah Russell and 2022 Chance Gray (more on her in a minute) to put full-court pressure on the ball is vital, mainly because the rest of the team understands their rotations so well. In my opinion, this team is the most potent team they’ve had in the last few years on the offensive end. Ohio State commit Cotie McMahon is a bull in a china shop as she puts immense pressure on the defense by attacking the paint with reckless abandon. I haven’t seen anyone with the ability to cause so much havoc off the dribble in the paint. Ohio State commit 2022 Mya Perry and Gray are snipers from 3. I’ll even go on record to say that no one is shooting the ball better than Gray right now. I’m not even worried about jinxing her because Gray’s shot is that locked in right now. Expect SCU to contend with being one of the top teams in the country.
Always 100 Elite 2024 3SSB (Indiana)
Always 100 always has a stable of “little” guards that you can’t underestimate. 2023 Jordyn Smith is one of those guards. Poole is tough, skilled, and understands the game. She’s of no relation, but she makes the kind of impact that program sister and Eastern Michigan commit Olivia Smith has made. 2024 Isabelle Poehlein is long…very long! Despite her frame, she is a very physical, hard-nosed player. I saw her knock down a three and get a few buckets in the paint. She’s an intriguing prospect. 2023 Jordyn Poole is a contender for the top player in Indiana’s 2024 class. She has a knack for shooting off the dribble, which is challenging to refine at this age, but Poole has it. Poole is a kid who the initial defender can’t guard, so she puts a lot of pressure on the second level of the defense. She has some areas to improve, but she is no doubt elite. Poole has to be considered the best scoring PG in Indiana in her class with added strength and experience.
2022 Olivia Smith - Always 100 Elite 2022 3SSB
Dog; constant effort and production every time out. (Eastern Michigan)
2023 Lenee Beaumont - M14 Hoops 17U Blue Star
Works well off hesitation dribble; shoots the ball well.
2025 Kira Reynolds - Sports City U 15U
Elite impact on the game on both ends; the hardest I’ve ever seen her play.
2025 Meredith Tippner - IGB Morse 15U
Basketball skill and IQ off the charts at age; competitor.
2023 Skylar Jones - Mac Irvin Lady Fire Godfather
Super long; handling contact much better.
2022 Ruby Whitehorn - Michigan Crossover 17U
Best rebounding guard I’ve seen; great touch in midrange.
2025 Christine Ouimette - WI Flight Elite 8th
Confident shooter; can get shot off quickly with range.
2022 Emily La Chapell - WI Flight Elite 11th UAA
High IQ; very good at a lot of things.
2024 Kennedy Holmes - WI Flight Elite 9th UAA
She can get to any spot on the floor she wants; finishes everything around the rim.
2024 Kendall Brayden - Sports City U 15U
Ultra-skilled, old-school midrange pull-up.
2024 Nakiya Bonner - Michigan Crossover 15U EYBL
Keep defenders guessing with handle/footwork combo; has found a balance of creating for self and others.
2024 MacKenzie Swanson - Michigan Crossover 15U EYBL
Tough on the interior; doesn’t need the ball to make an impact.
2026 Jayla Jackson - 1 Nation Mitchell
Can’t keep her out of the paint; tough; must watch.