Carving out a niche’ in the world of travel basketball is a daunting task. However, coach Darren Evans and his crew were able to do exactly that this summer. Their ability to find the right group of players to gel and develop made them one of the hottest teams on the summer circuit. This team full of depth made a name for themselves while on the PeachStateBasketball.com stage.
The journey to become a competitive team in the summer of 2014 started over five years ago for coach Evans and his crew. In past years, the Florida Flight had moments where they could have emerged as a top travel team. However, the time was not right for the then underclassmen to shine on the big stage. A number of factors, which included injuries and players that had not reached their potential, prevented the Florida Flight from being everything they could be. That all changed this year.
PeachStateBasketball.com Tournaments Attended:
Real Deal in the “Ville Session I
Real Deal in the “Ville Session II
Elite 32 Summer Jam Session I
Elite 32 Summer Jam Session II
Jessica Font – 2015
Jaylyn Harrison – 2016
Chelsea Johnson -2015
Astaja Tyghter – 2015
Bailee Wolfe – 2015
Program Notes from Darren Evans:
This season was different for the Florida Flight as they would finally have everyone healthy heading into the travel months. Even with everyone on board, according to coach Evans things still started rocky. “We started slow. We did not play as well in April as we gene therapy research paper would have liked. So in that way our season had ups and downs. But in the end, we finished great and we were clicking on all cylinders.”
What would get the Flight moving in the right direction was the play of Astaja Tyghter of Orlando, Fla. The 5-foot-10 forward had always been a physical force in the lane, but lacked polish with her perimeter skills. As Evans said, “Astaja made the transition to the wing and began to finish more consistently. She had always had the ability to play out there, but she would not always finish plays. Her shooting range increased as well. She really stood out.”
Tyghter’s recruitment coincided with her increased production on the floor as she picked up offers from Belmont, Central Florida, Furman, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Houston, Iona, Jacksonville and Long Island as well as interest from a number of schools in the power conferences. She ultimately chose Georgia State soon after the July period. But it would be her play that would bolster her and her teammates to multiple victories and play toe to toe with the likes of Baylor Basketball and All Ohio who represented some of the best talent on the circuit.
Evans went on to talk about the lone class of 2016 prospect on the roster, 5-5 point guard Jaylyn Harrison of Orlando, Fla., as one of the important players this year. He says, “Harrison really came into her own this year. She played incredible defense on the ball and handled the rock effectively in our offense. What really separates her though is her leadership. She talks non-stop to her teammates and that is something that you cannot teach.”
help with dissertation Harrison’s recruitment already reflects that effort as she has multiple visits scheduled for this month which included Georgia State, Southern Alabama, Mercer, Georgia Southern among others. Evans says that nearly every coach has commented on Harrison’s natural leadership style.
Aside from Tyghter and Harrison, the real strength of this team lay in its depth. Bailee Wolfe of Lakeland, Fla., a 6-2 post provided size and skill in the lane and with her outside jumper. She recently committed to the University of Alabama Birmingham. She was joined along the front line by 6’ forward Ciara Cumbie of Ocoee, Fla., who showed flashes of greatness for coach Evans. Also role players such as Yolizma Cupidan of Ocoee, Fla., and Sadie Jenarine of Orlando, Fla., had important moments for this ball club.
Evans mentioned a trio of kids that perhaps did not get the credit that they deserved. Jessica Font of Orlando, Fla., is a sparkplug point guard who provided energy and ball handling at critical moments. Ashley Rodriguez of Orlando, Fla., is a great athlete on the wing who also shot the ball well at times this summer.
The third player that Evans mentioned was Chelsea Johnson of Orlando, Fla., who is a 5-7 guard. Her skill and athleticism allowed her to defend multiple positions while also handling point guard responsibilities at times. Evans said, “A few years ago Johnson was our leading scorer and maybe our most talented player. Then she tore her ACL two years in a row. She sat out of high school season this year just to make sure she was 100% for this summer.”
That sacrifice looks to have paid off for Johnson as she had a solid summer and help with expository essay could end up as a potential sleeper recruit in the class of 2015 for a college program who is looking for a versatile guard option.
For a group of ladies that have been together for five years, their high point came in the first evaluation period in July at the Real Deal in the “Ville Session II. As Evans stated, “We were clicking. We reeled off about seven wins in a short span of time. We all seemed to come together at that moment.”
Although Harrison is the only underclassmen on the roster slated to come back for next year, Evans does have plans in the works to put together another team for the summer of 2015. The future starts in September at the PSB End of the Road Championships where his older group will play one last time together in front of college coaches. He also has plans to bring together a younger group of players who will be the foundation of next year. If Evans finds the right combination of players as he did with this group, we could be talking about the Florida Flight for many more years to come.
ProspectsNationTV: Florida Flight versus Seattle Transition on July 23, 2014
Jonathan Hemingway is the Assistant Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com. The service is used by more than 150 colleges and universities nationwide. He also serves on the selection committee for the EBA All-American, Fab Five and Super 64 Camps. He has been involved in the community since 2002 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on twitter @JLHemingwayPSB