SWMO Basketball Camp and Showcase: 10 Best and MVP
The 1st Future 50 Camp and Showcase brought some of the best talent in the Ozarks to Lebanon, pitting the players head-to-head in a skills and drills portion and players then competed in 5-on-5 scrimmages, allowing players to show their full game. Here are some of the observations I made throughout the day, broken down by category.
Brooks, Evans earn MVP honors
The Ozarks is never lacking on talent, especially on the girls basketball front and 2021 guards Makaiya Brooks (Springfield Central) and Naudia Evans (Waynesville) will be part of the next wave of potential Division One recruits. Both players are well known by both high school and college coaches and each displayed the traits that make them unique players.
Brooks is one of the most gifted guards you’ll see from a skill development standpoint. Her jumper is textbook and she has excellent footwork. Her basketball IQ is off the charts. She plays angles well defensively and has active hands defensively. But, for a kid that averaged 20 PPG as a freshman and has an absolute burner, she has great court vision and is a willing passer. She can play either guard spot and she’ll make a run at 2,000 career points.
Evans physically has tools that most young basketball players do not. At one point she came down the floor in transition and used a Chris Paul drop cross to score. On the ensuing possession she used her speed to get end-to-end, using a euro step to score. She seemed frustrated with her jumper, but mechanically it’s fine. Evans, who was an All-Ozark Conference selection, gets it done on both ends of the floor. She came up with several steals, both on and off the ball, and also blocked several shots. She plays with an intensity and fear that most just don’t have.
The day was loaded with great talent, but Brooks and Evans were the two most dynamic players at the inaugural SWMO Basketball Camp and Showcase.
Offensive MVP: Makaiya Brooks, Central
She scored seemingly at will. She struggled with her shot a little early on, so she started getting to the rim. Then the mid-range game came, which included a few pull-up jumpers and floaters. Then the 3-ball came and it was over. She has unlimited range and is also a willing passer. Brooks is obviously dynamic with the ball in her hands, but also understands how to move without it and her catch-and-shoot game is second to none. She could be a 30 Point per game scorer next season.
Defensive MVP: Naudia Evans, Waynesville
Evans has big-time scoring potential, but her athleticism, IQ and tenacity make her an elite defender right now. She’s great on or off the ball, but it was especially impressive to watch her hound a ball handler, only to end the possession with a block. This wasn’t a rare occurrence, Evans had several blocks. She also wasn’t afraid to give a “don’t try that again” head nod to teammate Victoria Perry. Again, Evans has a ceiling that is sky high.
Most Versatile: Katie Scott, Carl Junction
She made a strong run at MVP honors and her size and skill set makes her a matchup nightmare. She rebounded the ball and had several coast-to-coast takes. She has point-forward ability which is scary at 6-foot-2 and she commanded double teams on every catch. That still didn’t stop Scott from getting a bucket whenever she wanted to get one. Her ability to score inside-out is rare. She has D-1 potential as a stretch-4.
Best Point Guard: Karlee Holland, Licking
Seeing her on the floor with great players around her really put her entire game on display. Holland has a knack for finding teams in a position to score. She’s also not a guard that feels the need to over dribble, often pitching the ball ahead to let her teammates attack advantageous situation. An underrated part about her game are lightning-quick hands and the ability to jump passing lanes. The Ozarks is blessed with many great PGs, Holland is among the best, regardless of class.
Best Catch-and-Shooter: Kaesha George, Monett
The 2020 guard is coming off of a season that saw her break the program’s single-season 3-point record. She shot it extremely well during the drills portion of the camp, getting into her jumper quickly with excellent form. She doesn’t need much space to get it off and she has great range. She has one of those shots that makes you feel like it’s going in every time she shoots it. She also knocked down shots during the 5-on-5 games. George has a young J.J. Redick feel to her game.
Best Rebounder: Rachel Senn, Kickapoo
At times it was impressive to just watch her grab the ball off the rim. Senn has a frame with great length, which allows her to rebound almost effortlessly. She’s also active on the offensive glass, which means you don’t have to run sets for her to get involved on that end of the floor. Her length and athleticism are incredible, she’s also just one of those kids that always seems like they’re in the right possession to snag a board.
Most Intriguing Prospect: Shelby Crousey, Thayer
She looked excellent drills and during scrimmages you could just see it all coming together. The 2021 wing is 6-foot-1 with a great handle. She’s super skilled and fluid in her movements as well. She has every tool necessary to be a high-level basketball player, now it’s just a matter of putting it all together. If I’m a D-1 or D-2, I make the call now and just to get in early. The scary part is how versatile her skill set is. She can play some stretch-4 potentially, play a straight three or give a point-forward look. As her game and frame mature, she should see a range of interest.
Lived Up To The Hype: Julie Stone, Thayer
Because of where she plays, Stone is almost like a unicorn to much of the Ozarks. But, the two-time SCA Player of the Year more than backed up the hype. She’s highly skilled and has enough athleticism to get to the spots on the floor she wants to. When she gets there, she finishes. At 5-foot-8, she has great size for a combo guard and a mentality that doesn’t allow her to turn down the intensity. There’s a reason she averaged 17-5-5-5 this season.
Ultimate Glue Guy: Hailey Meeks, West Plains
Knowing that Hailey Meeks took two charges during three showcase games will tell you everything you need to know about Meeks. She’s willing and able to do anything on the court. She can handle it, shoot it and rebound it, but also defended 1-5. Literally. In the same game she went from guarding Katie Scott to matching up with Naudia Evans. She’s ultra-competitive and plays with a chip on her shoulder. Her competitiveness and energy is also contagious; this is a kid you want on your team.
Name You Need To Know: Autumn Garrett, Skyline
Kevin Cheek seems like he should have a rebuilding year after the talent he lost, but Garrett may be on the verge of a monster season. She’s a physical guard that also has some shift to her game. She can attack off the bounce and has an improved jumper. Her combination of strength and burst make her difficult to guard when she attacks the rim. She also plays with that Skyline grit. She has the potential to be a big-time scorer next year.