Florida State commit Atyanna Gaulden was terrific on the opening day of the PSB Summer Kickoff. *Photo by Ty Freeman.
MARIETTA, Ga., -- Basketball is in full affect in the month of July as tournaments from around the country got underway this past weekend. The Summer Kickoff hosted by Peach State Basketball brought many of the top teams in the region to Suwanee Sports Academy Cobb at All Tournament Players Park. Day one provided us a few surprises and several new names to learn.
Atyanna Gaulden (Americus, Ga.), - Georgia Sparks 2016
The 5-foot-7 point guard is an electric playmaker who established herself as an ELITE 60 watch list prospect at the Summer Kickoff. She uses an array dribble moves and no-look passes to create offense for her team. Recently Gaulden gave her verbal commitment to coach Sue Semrau and Florida State University. The Lady Noles will love having this slashing guard on their roster during ACC competition. She possesses the talent and athleticism to impact the game from the lead guard position. Gaulden is currently an elite passer and has a solid pull-up game in the lane. If she continues to add consistency on her 3-point jumper, she will put herself in the conversation with many of the nations top point guards.
Pistols Mario Junior
The surprise of the day occurred late Sunday evening when the Pistols, coached by Mario Williams, knocked off All Ohio Black. However, those who know the roster of the Atlanta-based team would not be surprised. The high energy team features Western Kentucky commit Kayla Smith of Fayetteville, Ga., who is a jump shooting specialist and a solid wing defender. Arianna Williams of Lawrenceville, Ga., steadily improved her ballhandling to become an attacking point guard, which paid dividends in her teams two victories on Sunday. The Pistols found an interior presence with Breasia Mcelrath of Stockbridge, Ga., who provided rebounding and a surprising scoring punch in the lane. Solid performances from Kerry Watson of Lithonia, Ga., Jada Coggins of Fayetteville, Ga., and Michaelle Smith of Rex, Ga., supplied the balance needed to advance to the championship game of the VinceSmithPSB bracket.
AROUND THE RIM
♦ By far the biggest buzz in the gym was made by center Ijeoma Odimgbe of Fort Wentworth, Ga., with the Savannah Lady Tigers. At 6-5 she makes it nearly impossible for any offensive player to score in the lane. She rejected a multitude of shots that landed in the front row of the bleachers. Coaches from many of the power conferences were front row to take in the action.
♦ Class of 2015 wing Madison Rice of Knoxville, Tenn., is a new name for our staff. The versatile wing provided shooting and good range from the perimeter. She is blue collar player who is willing to give effort at both ends of the floor.
♦ Class of 2015 forward Kobi Thornton of Shellman, Ga., is a prospect that generated interest on the first day of the tournament. At 6-3, she has the length to affect the game in the paint, but she also has the footwork to defend opponents on the perimeter.
♦ Shantrice Soloman of Winter Haven, Fla., was impressive with her ability to make plays with the ball in her hands. The 5-7 guard in the class of 2015 showed she could shake defenders in an isolation set.
♦ Class of 2015 point guard Mallory Myers of Greenbrier, Ga., is one of the better passing point guards that played at the Summer Kickoff. The left-handed slasher is playing with a lot of confidence after making several college visits last month. Follow @JLHemingwayPSB