The Deep South Classic field will once again be loaded with superb talent, but the spotlight will be firmly placed on the nation’s No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2014. The Deep South Classic, which will include 200 teams, will be played at the convention center in Raleigh, N.C., from April 19-21. This the first in a series of reviews about the Classic, and we’ll highlight other outstanding programs in the coming weeks.
A’Ja Wilson of the Palmetto 76ers from South Carolina tops the All Star Girls Report national rankings, and the 6-5 forward isn’t the only marquee performer on the 76ers roster. Kaydra Duckett is a 6-0 wing who is listed at No. 35 by ASGR, and Victoria Dickerson is another highly-regarded 5-9 wing.
“We will be loaded,” said Stars head coach Jerome Dickerson. “They are all top players to me, but A’Ja is special. She is so talented. If there was ever going to be a player who could jump from high school to the pros, it would be A’Ja.”
“A’Ja is simply the best player in the country,” added ASGR analyst Bret McCormick. “She is 6-5 and she can really play all five positions. She is a smooth athlete and a great kid. I don’t know what else you need to say.”
Wilson is complemented by Duckett (who is listed as the No. 35 prospect in the country), Victoria Dickerson (the coach’s daughter), Makayla Johnson (6-3, C), Gadson Lefft (6-1, F), Phoebe Johnson (6-4, F), Maya Jackson (6-2, F), Vondria Ritter (6-3, F) and Destinee Walker (2015, 6-2, G).
“They definitely have a strong roster that is filled with prospects,” McCormick said. “Duckett is a combo guard with a strong body and a scorer’s mentality. Dickerson is a shooter/scorer. She is good off the dribble attacking the basket, and she can shoot with range. Plus, she just knows how to play the game.”
Here is a quick look at some of the other top-flight programs that will be competing in the 17 National Division at the Deep South Classic:
Mac Irvin Lady Fire
Key Prospects: 2014, No. 163, 6-5, C, Talia Hillsman; 2014, No. 149, 5-9, G, Medina Muhammad; 2016, No. 12, 5-8, G, Kiara Lewis
McCormick On Why To Watch The Lady Fire: ”Hillsman is a center with a good body. She scores around the bucket and blocks a lot of shots. She has a really good upside. Medina Muhammad is an athletic combo guard that can attack the basket and hurt you on the arc. Kiara Lewis is coming back from a knee injury, but she is special. She is a very skilled player who shoots the deep three and handles the ball very well.”
Key Prospects: 2014, No. 87, 5-11, G-F, Kiana Harris; 2014, No. 113, 5-6, G, Aisha Edwards; 2015, No. 26, 6-4, C, Beatrice Mompremier; 2015, No. 98, 5-10, SG, Crystal Primm.
McCormick On Why To Watch The Suns: ”Harris is a long, athletic wing who knows how to attack the basket, and she also has a good pull up jumper. Edwards is a very talented backcourt player, and they have two of the top players from the Class of 2015.”
Tree Of Hope
Key Prospects: 2014, No. 31, 5-9, PG, Kelly Kingma; 2015, No. 53, 5-8, PG, Jayde Christopher; 2015, No. 54, 6-4, C, Deja Strother.
McCormick On Why To Watch The Tree Of Hope: ”Kingma is a Washington commitment who is very skilled, and very intelligent. Strother is a strong presence in the lane who can bang down low. Christopher is very quick, and she can explode to the basket. Christopher and Strother are definitely players to watch for 2015.”
South Mississippi Elite
Key Prospects: 2014, No. 16, 6-1, F, Victoria Vivians; 2014, No. 37, 5-11, G, Christa Reed.
McCormick On Why To Watch The Elite: ”They have two of the best players in the country for 2014. Vivians is an unbelievable athlete. She can do it all. She scores inside and she can shoot the three. She has the ability to put up big numbers in high school, and I’m interested in seeing her playing this competition. Reed is a very quick, strong player who handles well. She has a good mid-range game and she will hit the three.”
New Hampshire Rivals
Key Prospects: This growing program will likely send more than a dozen players on to the Division I ranks, led by 2015, No. 60, 6-3, C, Jaylen Williams.
McCormick On Why To Watch The Rivals: ”Williams is already committed to Penn State. She is a good athlete from a very athletic family (her brothers played D-I football). She can score in traffic and has a nice 15 foot jumper. This program has a lot of good players that northeast schools will be watching.”