*As written by Brandon Clay in May of 2009 – Indianapolis, IN – The third stop of the Nike Regional Skills Academy circuit was held at Northwest High School and was designed to train some of the best players in the Midwest region. The JumpOffPlus.com will also be in the gym for the last two stops in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (May 16 & 17) and Dallas, Texas (30 & 31). The Midwest session marks the halfway point of a five-city tour directed by Nike sponsored trainer Ganon Baker. With most of the region’s top players on hand, the talent was evident from the opening drill. A list of some of the standout players are below:
Therany Dunnigan – Regina (Ohio) High – The 6-foot-2 sophomore showed why she is one of the midwest’s top post prospects. With her solid build, Dunnigan is a real problem in the paint and finishes well around the rim. The left-handed post player needs added work to become a face up forward.
Raven Ferguson – Africentric (Ohio) High – Arguably one of the most well seasoned players on hand, she showed the ability to hit the midrange jumper early in the workout. Ferguson – a 5-foot-10 sophomore – is a well built wing player. Her success at the next level depends on her willingness to attack the rim off the dribble.
Taylor Greenfield – Ballard (Iowa) High – Greenfield was the most impressive new face of the day as the 6-foot-2 sophomore wing displayed her versatility in the morning drills. She has a frame similar to Class of 2009 All-American Christina Maranacci (Foothills Ranch, Calif.) but with a lot more confidence in her ability to handle the basketball. Improving her long-range jumper should be a point of emphasis this summer.
DeShawn Harden – St. Thomas Aquinas (Kansas) School – Harden showed her skill as the afternoon drills came to a close hitting a tough turnaround jumper from 15 feet over Ganon Baker. Up to that point, the 5-foot-9 sophomore guard had done a good job of displaying her slick ball handling and skill at finishing in the lane.
Kayla Hirt – Bemidji (Minnesota) High – Hirt – a 6-foot-2 sophomore power forward – has already verbally committed to attend the University of Minnesota. She was impressive in the early afternoon drills knocking down the fifteen foot jumper consistently while also playing hard underneath. Add that to her good size for her position and it appears that the Golden Gophers stole one early.
Whitney Holloway – Montini Catholic (Chicago, Ill.) School – The diminutive sophomore point guard made her presence displaying quickness, great court vision as well as a jumpshot that defenses have to respect. At 5-foot-3, Holloway is fearless and was one of the more skilled players in attendance. She will have to spend time in the weight room to take the pounding of a Division One schedule a couple of years from now.
Malina Howard – Twinsburg (Ohio) High – Standing 6-foot-4, the left-handed freshman center takes up a lot of space in the lane on both ends. She has a nice skill set for a young post and used her body well. If she adds a fifteen foot jumper to her repertoire, she will be one of the country’s elite posts in the Class of 2012.
Ariel Massengale – Bolingbrook (Ill.) High – Massengale’s play showed right away why some of the nation’s top programs are recruiting the 5-foot-6 sophomore point guard. She is quick with and without the ball, has good overall skil, and was able to find the open player almost every time. With continued work on her three pointer, Ariel should have a chance to contribute right away at the next level.
Taya Reimer – Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) High – The baby of this weekend’s bunch proved quickly that she belonged in the camp. Reimer – who is a 6-foot-1 eighth grader – is a left-handed wing player reminiscent of another Class of 2009 All-American in Krista Gross (University of North Carolina signee). She has the ability to play inside or outside and do both well. Showing more range on her jumper would help her take her game to another level.
Morgan Tuck – Bolingbrook (Ill.) High – Tuck is a traditional power forward who finds ways to score underneath and facing the basket. Standing at 6-foot-1, the Class of 2012 graduate is not the biggest post on the floor but is the most skilled in the paint most nights. Rebounding and finishing around the rim are her keys to success.