The Tampa Thunder are an organization dedicated to developing student-athletes on and off the basketball court. With an emphasis on educating the athlete and their family on the recruiting process, the Thunder routinely are able to direct players to college landing spots with the best chance of succeeding at the next level. Here is how their 2015 travel season finished this year.
PeachStateBasketball.com Tournaments Attended:
Class of 2014 graduate Sabrina Whiting of Terrace, Fla., finished her freshman year at Embry-Riddle being tabbed as the Sun Conference Freshman of the Year. The Seffner Christian graduate and Tampa Thunder Alumna started all 28 games for the Eagles and averaged a team leading 13.2 points per game.
Shayla Barrow – Lincoln Memorial
Haley Duren – Pepperdine
Tracey Kemp – Belmont Abbey
Shayna Lawrence – North Georgia
Carley Plentovich – Gardner Webb
Savannah Plentovich – Gardner Webb
Taylor Wagner – Bryant
Nyah White – Hampton
Notable Uncommitted Players
Season Highlights from Rob Walker:
The Thunder concluded another successful year on the travel circuit, but according to program director Rob Walker this one was particularly important. He says, “Candice Dupree came on board and endorsed our team. That was big for our program and our kids. We are a internally fully funded program that is associated with a WNBA star that grew up in the Tampa area.”
With the number of prospects that are being recruited for the Thunder program, expect their range of influence to continue to grow in the Florida region.
The Thunder saw several of their prospects take jumps in their development and recruitment in the past nine months. Class of 2017 post Madison Pack of Sarasota, Fla., is a great example of this success. She burst into the ProspectsNation.com Elite 100 as the No. 92 ranked player nationally. As Walker says, “We always knew what Maddy could become in the past, however this year she accelerated that process. She is playing with so much more confidence and got better quickly.”
Another prospect who made a leap in her play was class of 2017 point guard Avree Carpenter of Lakeland, Fla. The 3-star prospect made a big impression at the #EBAAllAmerican Camp in September. Walker adds, “We are really proud of how Avree became a tough minded ball-handler this year. She had a very nice year.”
Finally, the Thunder have a budding star in the class of 2019 with guard Brylee Bartram of Seffner, Fla. The 5-foot-8 guard earned the nickname Buckets Bartram after setting the nets on fire at the #EBASuper64 Camp in June. Coach Walker says, “We believe that Brylee has big things in front of her. She is a tough kid that can make plays. She is a great shooter, but DO NOT classify her as just a spot-up kid. She can score it in many ways.”
The class of 2017 is primed to be as big of a class for the Tampa Thunder organization as they have seen up until this point. Walker points to wing Stephanie Brower of Wesley Chapel, Fla., as being one of the prospects ready to gain attention. He says, “Brower began to come out of her shell at the #EBASuper64 Camp in June. She has developed her skill and proved that she can play with more athletic players.”
Walker pointed out two other wings in the program that sometimes get over looked. However, do not expect college coaches to turn a blind eye much longer. As he explained, “Payton Paro (Tampa) is athletic wing who is tough and rebounds well for her position. She is as strong as you can find at the position.”
He also mentioned Hope Hunter of Lakeland Fla., as another wing who has college coaches tracking her this year. Walker says, “Hope had a very good year. She is a 5-11 wing who has a lot of potential.”
Walker also talked about Kiana Chew of Crystal Beach, Fla., who very well could be the most recruited prospect in the program. He says, “She has over 40 schools calling her and texting her every week right now. Her ceiling is so high and everybody knows it. She is dunking tennis balls in practice. As she gains experience, expect her production to grow exponentially.”
Two players who have recently burst on the recruiting scene are Grace Marko and Rachel Levy of Boca Raton, Fla. The performances at the Red’s Super 64 Showcase earlier this month helped earn them a spot on the BrandonClayScouting.com Report that was sent directly to college coaches from coast to coast.
Also Walker mentioned Destiny Waters of Boca Raton, Fla., as another sleeper prospect from the Sunshine State. The 5-8 combo guard’s performance at the #EBASuper64 Camp in June earned her a 3-star rating. Walker adds, “Destiny is a baller! She finds ways to score the ball. She may not have a true position, but it does not matter. She gets the job done.”
Even with a loaded 2017 group the Tampa Thunder have talented lined up for years to come. Look no further than class of 2018 point guard Audra Leipold of Wesley Chapel, Fla. She was a standout performer recently at the Red’s Super 64 Showcase earlier in October. Add in class of 2018 wing Mary Martha Turner of Atlanta, Ga., and the Thunder have a solid core of talent on the way.
Also keep an eye out of class of 2018 point guard Nykeria Reed of Brandon, Fla., who has been a steady performer at #TeamEBA camps in past years. Finally, coach Walker believes that class of 2018 wing Hannah Pratt of Boca Raton, Fla., could be the biggest sleeper in the group.
ProspectsNationTV presented by the SUVtv: Tampa Thunder Dupree vs. SME Black
Jonathan Hemingway is the Assistant Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com International Scouting Report, is on the Naismith Trophy Board of Selectors and owns CoachHemi.com, the go-to source for coaches for X’s and O’s. He is the floor director of #TeamEBA camps, a site director for #TeamPSB tournaments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.