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2018 John Lucas Top 160 Elite Invitational

By: Mark Lewis (Blue Star Media)

HOUSTON, Texas – One year ago the John Lucas Top 160 Elite Invitational had to be postponed at the last minute because of the tragic and ongoing weather that came in conjunction with Hurricane Harvey. The magnitude of the storm and it’s ensuing flooding plus the time of the year made rescheduling a less than realistic option. The 2018 return of the event this past weekend more than made up for the lost time and provided one last go round for some non-scholastic summer basketball action.

The talent in the gym speaks for itself. What sets the Top 160 apart from most events is the caliber and intensity of the training. Coaches are at the rims as the athletes walk in the gym and they’re working with a focus and intensity from the very start to the end of each session. With a driven and enthused staff that burns just as many calories as those they’re putting through their paces, it’s not a setting for the shy, the soft or any athlete playing with an over inflated ego. Add in a camp director who has worked with players of every level, age and gender and done so with equal expectations and you’ve got an opportunity to see players make effective advances their game in a very short period of time. A rarity in today’s environment.

Though just a day and a half in length, we got some good looks at some impressive play both in drills as well as the limited full court action. The roster featured athletes from 27 different states and Canada. While this year’s seniors through 8thgrade were represented, the depth of those on hand in the MI3 Center fell in the 2020, 21 and 22 graduating classes. Here’s a quick look at some who caught our eye in Houston.

Amirah Abdur-Rahim – 2020 – 6-2 – Forward – Milton,Georgia– Added length and strength…Looking to create more at the #4…Somewhat upright when dribbling…Goes up strong inside…Vertical and reach help produce on the boards…Finishing with contact…Well established

Janiah Barker – 2022 – 6-3 – Forward – Tampa, Florida– Young forward…Size with potential to grow……Strength…Has explosive moments…Has tools and skills but needs to find consistency in their application…Potential is there to be an impact inside presence…Ability to put it on the floor from the high post is there as well…Has folks watching

Laila Blair – 2020 – 5-8 – Guard – Waller, Texas– Combo…Knack for creating options…Can improve passes and shots…Demonstrated some range…Transition passing…Footspeed defensively will have to come along…Had runs

Jakia Brown-Turner – 2019 – 6-0 – Guard / Wing – Forestville, Maryland– Highly regarded…Plays a physical perimeter game…Embraces contact off the drive…Lefty…Length of stride creates separation…Lots of effort on ball defensively…Can get on the glass

AC Carter – 2020 – 5-10 – Wing / Forward – Atlanta, Georgia– Physically strong small forward…Can make some plays off the drive…First step is there…Plays with effort in both full and halfcourt games…No hesitation with physical play…Defining her position

Chloe Clardy – 2023 – 5-9 – Guard – Conway, Arkansas– Young…Lean and athletic build…Fluid and active…Some ballskills are there…Crossover is low and effective…Smooth on the drive…Narrow base on the jumper at this point…Lots of promise

Natalia Chavez – 2022 – 5-9 – Guard – Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico– Young with combination of size and perimeter possibilities…Impressive ballskills at this point…Lean build and agile in both the halfcourt and transition…Crossover is strong weapon…Needs to get a bit lower both with the ball and in her defensive stance…Has tools

Amiya Evans – 2022 – 6-1 – Forward – Tampa, Florida– Size and frame for age…Strong but agile…Active without the ball…Uses her strength well in traffic near the rim…Showed off a little passing…Made plays on both ends…Lots of tools and possibilities

Kylie Favours – 2021 – 5-9 – Guard – Old Bridge, New Jersey– Wiry build…Looking to create off the dribble…Plays with strong instincts…Had moments in the halfcourt and on the break

Rori Harmon – 2021 – 5-5 – Point Guard – Houston, Texas – Small but ultra-quick point…Attacks off the dribble…Uses multiple moves…Keeps the dribble low…Crossover is effective…Stroke is sound on jumper

Jillian Hollingshead – 2021 – 6-4 – Post / Forward – Atlanta, Georgia– Lots of length…Lean build with impressive athleticism…Potential for additional growth…Agility is impressive for size…Can run the floor in transition…Vertical, reach and size make her imposing…Knows what she’s looking for…Reads defenders in pick and roll scenarios…Got on the boards

Kyndall Hunter – 2021 – 5-8 – Guard – Houston, Texas– Explosive with the ball…Pushes on the break…Attacks in the halfcourt…Change of speed and change of direction serve her well…Picking her spots better and better…Quick hands and feet on the defensive end

Jayla James – 2019 – 6-1 – Wing / Guard – Upper Marlboro, Maryland– Size, strength and physical play in the backcourt…Utilizing her body more efficiently…Handling contact as rotations comes her way…Settling less…Got on the offensive glass…Still evolving

Diamond Johnson – 2020 – 5-5 – Guard – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Established…Quick attack on the catch…Hesitation and explode past…Reads defender on the drive…Mixes speed and direction…Limited size doesn’t limit productivity…Harasses ballhandlers on defense

Tomia Johnson – 2021 – 5-6 – Guard – Aurora, Colorado– Small but quick and solid…Plays the game at speed…Hesitation move gets her past defenders…No reservations about taking it inside…Can get to the rim but floater is there…Active defender…Sees the floor off the ball

Kaydan Lawson – 2020 – 5-11 – Guard – Beachwood, Ohio– Continues growth…Good combination of size and skills…Mixes up her attack…Change of speed off hesitation gets defenders up…Can get to the rim or call on a floater…Greater consistency will be an asset…Tools are there to be an impact defender

Paige Lyons – 2021 – 5-6 – Point Guard – Hampton, Georgia– Dynamic and quick…Smaller but productive point…Speed with the ball is exceptional…Gets to the rim…Body control on floater…Assertive on ball with same speed and quickness

Kendall McGruder – 2021 – 5-9 – Guard – Grand Prairie, Texas– Fluid, athletic guard…Individual skills in place…Creates her own looks…Improves opportunities for teammates…Tough to contain one on one…A factor in transition

Mir McLean – 2020 – 5-11 – Forward – Baltimore, Maryland– Well known dynamic athlete…Makes herself efficient among the bigs…Undersized but productive on the interior…Perimeter depth is evolving…Active on both ends…Critical year for defining herself

Mia Moore – 2021 – 5-6 – Guard – Alpharetta, Georgia– Athletic guard…Accelerates on the catch leaving defenders scrambling…First step is sharp…Aggressive defensively…Lots of speed on the weakside…Anticipates

Mwenentanda Ndjakalenga – 2022 – 5-11 – Guard – Sioux Falls, South Dakota– Long, lean and athletic…All legs…Strong individual skills and ability to create…Smooth and fluid…Good instincts on the catch for her age…Gets out in transition both with the ball and while filling the lanes…Lots of possibilities

Jayla Oden – 2021 – 5-8 – Guard – Windsor Mill, Maryland– Acceleration and quickness…Turns the corner off on-ball screens…Pushes it from make, miss and turnover…Change of direction improves her options

Skye Owen – 2022 – 5-7 – Guard – Staten Island, New York– Young athletic point…Forces defenders to react…Speed and quickness with the ball…Strong one on one attack…Gets deep on the drive…Change of direction is a strong tool…Good passing decisions as rotations come…Overcommits on occasion

Ashley Owusu – 2019 – 5-11 – Guard – Woodbridge, Virginia –Elite Maryland commit…Plays at an advanced level…Gets to the rim at will…Physical approach is college ready…Consistency still evolving in shooting percentages…Effective from deep or off the drive…Commands a tight close out…Explosive first step and attack…Can be a force on the glass from the perimeter at times

Myka Perry – 2022 – 5-10 – Guard – Norman, Oklahoma– Very promising young guard…Lots of depth to her skill set…Tools are there to be a threat from the perimeter or off penetration…Reads on the catch…Has patience for age…Smooth and fluid in her attack…Active without the ball in her hands

Angel Reese – 2020 – 6-3 – Forward – Baltimore, Maryland– Slow start, signature finish…Showed off her usual halfcourt attack but got out in transition for some easy looks…Making herself a lethal threat on the high post or trail drive…Body control allows her to finish with physical contact…Has continued to stay active without the ball challenging defenders…Capped a strong summer

Mila Reynolds – 2022 – 6-2 – Wing / Guard – South Bend, Indiana– Already established…Young with both size and skills…Has strength which she’s using more…Good choices with the ball…Form is there on the perimeter as well in the mid-range…Beginning to embrace physical play defensively…Continues to add to her game

Audrey Roden – 2021 – 5-9 – Guard – West Linn, Oregon– Wiry combo guard…Deceiving speed…Always in attack mode…Sees the floor off penetration…Good choices…Anticipates defensively

Savannah Samuel – 2020 – 6-1 – Wing / Guard – Woodstock, Georgia– Makes plays…Plays with effort on both ends…Slight build doesn’t limit her willingness to work in traffic…Slashes to score…Elevates at rim or on floater…Weak hand needs some sharpening…A factor in transition

Madison Scott – 2020 – 6-2 – Forward – Forestville, Maryland – Continued recent impressive play…Combination of size, skills and athleticism…Utilizes advantages of length on both ends…Can work well in traffic…Lean build but still gets in the mix…Only going to advance

Sophia Singer – 2020 – 6-0 – Guard – Woodstock, Georgia– Has both length and athleticism…Showed some assertiveness with the ball in her hands…Fluid…Settled at times…Strong lateral speed on ball defensively…Had moments

Sammie Wagner – 2023 – 6-1 – Wing / Guard – San Antonio, Texas– Continues to refine her game…Creating more and more options for teammates…Seeing the floor off the drive…Skills serve her well in traffic…Challenged on the defensive end with smaller match ups…Assertive on the boards…Always a factor

Jada Walker – 2021 – 5-5 – Point Guard – Richmond, Virginia– High profile…Attacking point…Always looking to create her own looks or improve passing options…Stepback provides plenty of room for jumper or fake and drive…Will play physical for size…Playmaker