Coach Burnell Wesco has helped put the state of Mississippi on the map with the creation of South Mississippi Elite. This travel program specializes in developing talent in an area of the country where players historically have had to play with a team out of the region in order to get exposure. Wesco and South Mississippi Elite now allow players to stay at home and develop a reputation for their home state.
In a relatively short amount of time that South Mississippi Elite has been together, Wesco has helped dozens young ladies get to the next level. Some of the notable names in his alumni include freshman guard at Vanderbilt, Christa Reed of Bay St. Louis, Miss. She was ranked No. 59 in the Elite 150. Another talented prospect that Wesco helped develop was Tiaria Griffin of Monticello, Miss., who is a junior at the University of Georgia this season. Randi Brown of Morgan City, Louis., also played for Wesco and South Mississippi Elite. She will suit up at the University of New Orleans this season. However, the player that Wesco perhaps has the most amount of pride in talking about is Bretta Hart of Poplarville, Miss., because of the obstacles she overcame to get to play in the SEC. The 6-foot-3 post enters her second year at Ole Miss while playing for coach Matt Insell.
PeachStateBasketball.com Tournaments Attended:
Real Deal in the ‘Ville Session I
Elite 32 Summer Jam Session II
End of the Road Championships
Program Notes from Burnell Wesco:
When asked what his South Mississippi Elite program is about, he replies “We built all of this off of hard work. The kids know that they will get better once they get in here and play with us.”
That blue collar attitude fits the area and the personality of the kids from Mississippi. That persona often is reflected in how the SME ladies play the game. They are known for defense, hustle and a never give-up attitude that usually gives them a chance to win whatever game they are playing in.
Aside from the development aspect of his program, Wesco goes on to talk about what it means to play for the state of Mississippi. “We have made it our goal to bring recognition to the state of Mississippi. Before we were around, most kids had to leave the state to get exposure.”
That pattern has definitely changed with the number of kids that have signed scholarships to play basketball in recent years. Wesco adds, “Our goal is to help kids get a Division One scholarship. Ultimately we want kids to be able to get there education paid for while playing basketball regardless of level.”
However, there is one slogan that follows the SME program around in huddles and occasionally on social media. The term “WIIINNNEEE” is heard repeated by all within the organization. When asked to explain how this fits into his program, Wesco chuckled “There is no way to explain it. It is a SME thing. All the girls know what it is about.”
essay structure While this year’s group of players from Southern Mississippi may not have an ELITE 150 prospect on the roster, it does boast of several players who should have opportunities to go on a play basketball at high levels in the future. Wesco first mentioned a player who made the most improvement over the summer in Jazmin Boyd of Hattiesburg, Miss. The 5-9 guard excelled in creating plays and scoring the ball off of the dribble. Wesco said, “She really took her game to another level.”
A player who exemplifies the talent on this squad is 5-9 guard Ashailee’ Brailey of Abbeville, Louis. She played for a state championship team last year and used that experience to help lead Wesco’s top team this summer. Wesco adds, “Brailey is a talented player who can score the basketball. She is athletic and is a tough match-up.”
Although Wesco will be unable to coach them in September, coach Ronnie Clark will man the sidelines and pick up where they left this summer. Two players that will be critical for SME success at the End of the Road Championships on September 27-28 are 5-6 point guard Shantavis Hughes of Hattiesburg, Miss., and 6-1 post LeDaria Moody of Ellisville, Miss. This inside-out combo is a cornerstone of the team. Wesco says, “Hughes does a great job of distributing the ball and Moody gains position inside. These two help us play a well-rounded game.”
However, the player who still has the most upside to attain is 6’ forward Ereyanna Magee of Hattiesburg, Miss. The combo forward is developing her skills both inside and outside. Wesco added, “Ereyanna is a great athlete and has always excelled at defending. essay sports help develop good character She is adding range to her jumper, which should make her a great college prospect.”
With the plethora of basketball talent that resides in south end of the state of Mississippi, expect coach Wesco to be on the map of grassroots girls basketball for years to come. He already believes he has the next star from the region in class of 2017 wing Alyric Scott of Richton, Miss. Wesco says, “Scott is the top 2017 prospect in the state after averaging 24 points per game as a freshman. Those are the type of numbers that only the best of the best put up that early in their career.”
Also expect 6-3 post Lauran Sheriff of Jackson, Miss., to make an impact next year after she returns off of an Achilles injury that sidelined her all summer. Add in quality players such as class of 2016 wings Bre’Ashlee Jones of Kentwood, Louis., and Tamia Stinson of Hattiesburg, Miss., and SME will have quality depth next year. Class of 2017 guard Jamaya Galloway of Bay St. Louis, Miss., is a player that has already begun to gain attention from college coaches in the region. She will help make SME one of the top travel teams in the region again next summer.
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