Next Saturday brings with it an opportunity for several high school basketball players.
The Dewey Barber Chevrolet Ladies Tip Off Challenge—fertile recruiting ground for Women’s college basketball coaches across the state—at Mortimer Jordan High School will feature many of the top girls basketball prospects around.
“The whole point of this was to try to get college coaches in here and be able to see 14 teams in one day,” said Mortimer Jordan headd coach Kelly Robinson. “If you’re a college coach and you’ve been looking at a player, you’ve been following her, this gives you a chance to evaluate her against a quality opponent.”
Robinson attracted a field of teams which includes the last two defending Class 7A state champions (Hoover and Spain Park), last year’s 7A state runner-up (Hewitt-Trussville) and several top-tier contenders along with a pair of Southeastern Conference commits (Destinee McGhee of Madison Academy has pledged with Arkansas and Sarah Ashlee Barker of Spain Park has pledged with Georgia).
The schedule on Nov. 16 goes as follows: at 10 a.m., Clay-Chalkville vs. West Point; 11:30 a.m. Vestavia Hills vs. Hartselle; 1 p.m. Brewer vs. Mountain Brook; 2:30 p.m. Spark man vs. Spain Park; 4 p.m. Mortimer Jordan vs. Muscle Shoals; 5:30 p.m. Austin vs. Hewitt-Trussville; 7 p.m. Madison Academy vs. Hoover.
Of the 14 teams involved, seven of them have at least one player currently committed to play college basketball. In total, 10 commits will take the floor throughout the day in Kimberly:
▪ West Point senior Miriam Lodacre (Montevallo)
▪ Brewer senior Jacie Andrews (Faulkner)
▪ Brewer senior Leisha Steger (Montevallo)
▪ Brewer senior Evaiah Burrows (Faulkner)
▪ Spain Park senior Sarah Ashlee Barker (Georgia)
▪ Mortimer Jordan senior Mackynzie Watson (Birmingham Southern)
▪ Hewitt-Trussville senior Leah Harrison (West Alabama)
▪ Madison Academy senior Destinee McGhee (Arkansas)
▪ Madison Academy senior Jaden Langford (Samford)
▪ Hoover senior Madison Adamson (Air Force)
It is, however, the many undeclared prospects that could benefit more than any. Players like Mortimer Jordan sophomore Bellah Machen; Hoover underclassmen Aniya Hubbard and Reniya Kelly; Madison Academy juniors Halia Morris and Nequoia Adams and sophomore Libby Privett; Muscle Shoals junior Sarah Puckett, who holds offers from Tennessee and Texas; Brewer freshman Hope West; Hartselle sophomore Masyn Marchbanks; Vestavia Hills trio Anna Wood, Josie Edwards and Emma Smith; and Clay-Chalkville freshman Cheyenne Pearson, have been attracting interest from college programs.
“We’re trying to give these college coaches a chance to see these girls,” said Robinson. “Some girls don’t play travel ball due to playing another sport or maybe they can’t afford it… so there are other girls out there that don’t play travel ball that can help these college programs, and we’re trying to get them some extra exposure.”