Region Roundball Review


July, 1999
News & Updates
      

 


Welcome to the news area of the Region Roundball Review. This page will be updated as information becomes available. Please note that not all links shown here will stay active indefinitely. Many links are to daily on-line publications that change or remove links from their sites on a daily basis. For your convenience, you can use the calendar at the right to access news for a particular day.

If you have any news about girls basketball in the Region or around the State, please e-mail us with your information and we will include it here. Thanks. 

July, 1999
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News thru Sunday, July 25

Portage graduating senior Gretchen Circle (5'7 G) will be playing ball this winter at Kankakee Junior College. Circle, who was a major contributor on last year's Duneland Conference Champion Portage Indians, was known in the Region for her oustanding hustle and determination on the floor.


Two Indiana players recently attended the prestigious Nike All-America camp at IUPUI in Indianapolis, and both appear in a feature article in the Indianapolis Star. Incoming senior Shalicia Hurns (6'2 G/F) of Broad Ripple and incoming junior Shyra Ely (6'2 F) of Ben Davis were among the 77 best high school juniors and seniors in the country on display for college coaches from around the nation at the annual Nike event. Hurns (13 ppg, 8 rpg, 8 apg) and Ely (20 ppg, 11 rpg) are both undecided on college choices, although Ely says that she likes Duke, North Carolina and Ohio State. Both are being heavily recruited by a number of Indiana schools, including last year's national champ Purdue.
The Indianapolis Star is also featuring an article on the absence of WNBA scouts at the Nike All-America Camp in contrast to the boys event by Nike where NBA scouts filled the stands. Unlike the NBA, strict WNBA recruiting rules prohibit recruiting of high school players. Included in the story by the Star are comments from a number of high-profile women's college basketball coaches and a rep from the WNBA about the philosophy behind their stance on high school players in the WNBA.
Two graduating Indiana players were recently named to the AAU All-American teams for 17U and 18U nationals. April McDivitt (Connersville/Tennessee) was named to the 18U All-American Team after her Indiana's Finest team finished 4th in the nation for the age division. Heather Cusick (Kokomo/Miami of Ohio) was named to the 17U AAU All-American Team while playing for her team, Mohr Magic, finished 13th for that age division. You can view the All American Teams for 17U and 18U to get a complete listing of all players selected for this honor from around the country.
The Warsaw Times-Union reports, in connection with the Whitko coaching saga, that Mike Sands was recently named the new Whitko girls basketball coach. Sands, who is the second choice after another hire rescinded his acceptance of the head job, is an in-house selection that has coached the Whitko girls junior high, freshmen and JV teams over the course of the last ten years. Sands' daughter, Monica (6'1 junior) will play for her father on varsity this year. Sands hopes to put an emphasis on reducing turnovers in the Whitko program next season, which he says has been a big problem over the past two years.
The Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel reports that former Northrop standout Leslie Johnson (6'1) is making a name for herself overseas in hopes for a shot at playing for a WNBA team next summer. After being released by the Washington Mystics after the 1998 season, Johnson played pro ball in Greece, where she averaged 17.5 points per game as the only American player on the team. Johnson will sharpen her basketball skills in Greece during the upcoming European season and will come back next spring ready to tryout for one of 48 spots opening up in the WNBA in 2000.

News thru Saturday, July 17

The Shelbyville News is reporting that more than 70 of the nation's top high school girls basketball players will participate this week in the annual Nike All-America Camp in Indianapolis. The four-day camp at IUPUI begins today and lets participants showcase their talents to college coaches and professional scouts. The camp is mostly limited to incoming juniors and seniors invited by the sponsors, who also include leadership and college preparedness training sessions. Indiana participants invited are incoming junior Shyra Ely of Indianapolis Ben Davis and incoming senior Shalicia Hurns of Indianapolis Broad Ripple. California has the most representatives on the list of those invited with seven, followed by Michigan with six. An article covering the camp also appears in USA Today.


The Kokomo Tribune is reporting that Jenny Childs of Eastern High School is headed to Division II Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee on a basketball scholarship. The 5'11 Childs, who averaged 15.7 points for the Comets last year, will take on forward duties for the Railsplitters next season. To view the complete listing of the 89 Indiana graduated seniors receiving basketball scholarship aid next season, go to our College Signings & Commitments page.
Indiana high school players are keeping more than busy this summer improving their skills and upping their stock in the competitive race for college basketball scholarships. Incoming 5'11 junior Jessica Hicks of Manchester High School attended a camp at the University of Tennesse July 4-8. The camp, conducted by Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt, was attended by some 800 girls from around the nation. Jessica was selected as one of 15 girls on the camp All-American Team and played in an All-Star game against the Lady Vols on July 7. According to Hicks' dad, Jessica's proudest moment came when she scored for her team over Tamika Catchings on the second bucket of the game. Hicks guarded Catchings, as well as Kristen "Ace" Clement during the game.
The Region Roundball Review "staff" just returned from the 15U AAU Nationals Tournament in Oklahoma City, where several teams from Indiana were competing against the some of the best incoming junior and sophomore talent in the nation. Two of the Indiana teams featured Region-area talent, including Lee Traynham of Valparaiso with Ft. Wayne Orthopaedics 15U (FWO), and Alex Webster (at right) and Amanda Bernard of Crown Point with the Wabash Valley Hoosier Hotshots 15U. These Region players were seen by a very, very large contingent of college coaches, estimated by Oklahoma City press to be somewhere in the range of 150-200 in all. Personally, we spotted the following schools in the stands with clipboards and highlighter pens in tow: Purdue, Tennessee, Illinois, Seton Hall, Iowa, Ball State, Butler, Louisville, Duke, Northwestern, Michigan State, Toledo, Indiana State, Wake Forest, Maryland, Navy, Vanderbilt, Clemson, San Diego, Western Michigan, Eastern Tennessee, Tennessee-Chattanooga, IUPUI, Miami, Lehigh... just to name a few... whew! Unfortunately, NCAA rules prohibit player parents from communicating with college coaches at such events, so we were unable to get comments from any of them to bring to you here.

FWO went the furthest in the tournament with a 3-3 record, qualifying for the championship bracket after 2-1 pool play and finishing in the final 24. After an early impressive 2-point win over the No. 1 seeded team, Maryland Sparks, FWO fell by 20 points to the eventual 15U National Champ Oklahoma Sooners. A trip down to the loser's bracket (nationals play is a double-elimination bracket affair) then pitted FWO against the athletic Ohio state champion, All-Ohio Black. FWO fell behind early in the first half by as many as 17 points due to a cold half of shooting, but eventually crawled out of a big hole by chipping away at All-Ohio's lead. At one point FWO was up by at least 10, but unbelievably lost the game after giving up a 7-point lead in the last 21 seconds of the game. (Ouch!) Traynham starts (along with highly-regarded incoming sohomore Shanna Zolman of Wawasee) for FWO, which was seeded No. 3 in the tournament. In the games we watched, Traynham was outstanding on the boards and putbacks against much bigger and taller post players. She definitely will be showing the experience she picked up over the summer at Valparaiso next season.

The Hoosier Hotshots, sporting a very young ten-girl 15U roster with only two incoming juniors and 8 incoming sophomores, did not fare as well, but came away with a 3-3 record. They finished in the Final 8 of the Shootout bracket after coming in third in pool play despite being second in pool points. (Teams must qualify as first or second in their pool to qualify for championship bracket play.) Crown Point wing Bernard was playing out of position for the Hotshots most of the season at the power forward position, but the 5'8 incoming junior was tough against much bigger post players, some being the 6'3 to 6'4 variety. (See photo of Bernard in white at left.) This girl knows her fundamentals and often gained advantage on intelligent floor position alone. Crown Point's Webster starts for the Hotshots at the point guard position and averaged 10.6 points, 6 assists and 3 steals per game at nationals. Both girls will be giving Crown Point valuable and experienced minutes on the floor next season. Watch for both of these players to make starting lineup bids for the Bulldogs in 1999-2000.
The Rochester Sentinel reports that a new girls basketball coach was hired at New Caston. Jeff Marlow, an eight-year junior varsity coach at LaCrosse, looks to improve the girls program at Caston, which went 2-19 last season.
This is kind of a rehash of old coaching news, but with new on-line coverage. Whitko recently hired a new girls coach, and then had to go looking again after new hire Lenny Krebs resigned two days after being named to remain at NorthWood in a boys coaching position. A new coach will be hired by Whitko soon, with the expected new coach to be from the original pool of 10-20 applicants. You can read about the Whitko coaching resignation and hiring in the Warsaw Times-Union.
A number of on-line news items about the Purdue women's basketball program are as follows:

1999-2000 schedule announced
Ohio senior-to-be verbally commits to Purdue
McCarty improves performance coming off the WNBA Charlotte Sting Bench


News thru Wednesday, July 7

A number of Indiana high school players will be attending three WBCA exposure camps at the Suwanee Sports Academy in Suwanee, Georgia, in July. The three camps are the Reebok/WBCA Senior Premier Camp (Class of 2000), the Reebok/WBCA Junior Premier Camp (Classes of 2001-2003), and the WBCA Super Select Camp (Classes of 2000-2003). The Reebok/WBCA Premier Junior and Senior Basketball Camps are limited to an enrollment of 85 players per camp and will showcase the very best players from across the country. The Super Select Camp will be comprised of the remaining 150 top players in the country. Attendees from Indiana include:

Senior Camp (July 14-16) - Sara Nord (Jeffersonville)

Junior Camp (July 23-25) - Shyra Ely (Ben Davis), Missy Taylor (Connersville), Shanna Zolman (Wawasee), Katie Gearlds (Beech Grove)

Select Camp (July 18-20) - Susan Hay (Munster), Kathy Herring (Hammond Morton), Kirsti Holloway (New Washington), Jessica Reiter (Penn), Alex Webster (Crown Point).


Along with following AAU Nationals scores from the national AAU website at http://www.aaugirlsbasketball.org, you can also get sports stories on some of the games for 17U and 18U in the ArlingtonNow on-line newspaper. They are carrying write-ups on some of the games on a daily basis, and are doing some feature articles. An article about Suzie Hammel (Lebanon) and her dad, AAU coach Jim Hammel, appeared in Tuesday's edition. Although the stories at ArlingtonNow are one-day links, we saved this one for you to read. This is the most extensive coverage that we've ever seen covering AAU girls basketball at this level -- a really nice change.
Beth DelaVina, author of the informative Fast Break website covering women's basketball, is giving updates on high school level national AAU tournaments currently taking place nationwide. In her first report, which was dated Sunday, she gives some game recaps and player reports on teams from around the country who are at the 17U and 18U nationals in Dallas. Although she has not yet covered any teams or players from Indiana, it is just a matter of time, since one of the Indiana 18U teams and two of the 17U teams (including the Indy Rebels featuring Becky Schuster of North Newton) have advanced to Sweet Sixteen championship bracket play and are bound to be national champion contenders. This is informative reading for those of you who are interested in what college scouts and rating services notice from the stands.
The Lafayette Journal  & Courier is carrying a special tribute to the Purdue Lady Boilermakers in celebration of their 1999 NCAA National Championship run on its Boiler Station website. This is a great place to get an inside look at the team, from personal accounts to statistics to a photo gallery. There is much to view on this site and you can even order a hard copy of the published version for $2.75 to keep as a souvenir.
A small blemish on the Purdue women's program has emerged in recent news regarding the Purdue men's basketball program sanctioned by the NCAA for program violations. Claims against the men's program were originally reported by a former women's basketball coach there, and as a result of the men's investigation, claims were made against the women's program as well. In its report, the NCAA found that the Lady Boilermaker's had made two secondary violations with regard to NCAA recruiting and extra-benefit legislation as follows:

"During the 1994-95 and 1995-96 academic years, two student-athletes exchanged some of their university-issued basketball shoes for other merchandise at a local sporting goods store. [Bylaw 16.12.2.1]

"On January 31, 1997, six student-athletes spoke with a prospective student-athlete following her attendance at an off-campus athletics contest involving the institution. The conversation was an impermissible off-campus contact with the prospect. [Bylaw 13.02.5.1]"

Although the men's program has had severe sanctions imposed for major violations, the women's program did not receive any sanctions for the secondary violations. The entire NCAA investigation report regarding both the men's and women's programs at Purdue can be found at the NCAA website. Also, the South Bend Tribune is carrying an editorial piece regarding the equality of treament to be expected against men's head coach Gene Keady in comparison to the firing of former women's coach Lin Dunn. Dunn was fired in 1996 after the NCAA found 11 secondary violations made by the women's program. Interesting comments appear in that article which raise some controversial issues for Purdue officials.


The USA University Women's Basketball Team is currently competing in Spain in the World University Games, and we recently came across some "Unplugged" player interviews on the USA Basketball website for Purdue players Katie Douglas (Perry Meridian) and Notre Dame player Ruth Riley (North Miami), who are both representing the USA on the team. From most embarassing moments to personal heroes, these interviews give you an interesting look at these two former Indiana high school players. For you Purdue fans, the interview of Camille Cooper, also on the USA Team, can be found there, too.
The Muncie Press is featuring an article addressed to high school girls coaches asking them to submit more information for girls sports coverage in the Muncie area, especially basketball. It seems that even though the opportunity is there for the taking, many coaches are not making the effort to submit statistics and game scores to the Muncie media to highlight teams and players. We definitely have noticed the lack of coverage of girls basketball in the Muncie Press, and also encourage both coaches and the media in that area to make an effort to not deny the public recognition of those players who are hard at work every day improving their games. Coaches all around the state should take notice of this article and make one of their goals for the 1999-2000 season to establish good communications with local sports reporters.

News thru Wednesday, June 30

The final game of the All Stars series in Kentucky was a 91-62 blowout for Indiana, evening out the historical series at 24-24 with this year's sweep by Indiana. A recap of the game appears in the Indianapolis Star. Also, player-specific game coverage appears in the Lafayette Journal & Courier for Kourtney Mennen, and the Connersville News-Examiner for April McDivitt and Kennitra Johnson. Feature articles about several All Stars have appeared in the Indianapolis Star, including articles about Valparaiso's Jeanette Gray and how she has served as a buffer between members of the All Star team and All Star Coach Greg Kirby (Valparaiso), and about Heather Cusick, who displays an outstanding work ethic. The Kokomo Tribune carried an opinion piece about the girls All Star team and the unbalanced playing time allotted to players during the series -- some interesting reading. Also, Heather Cusick of Kokomo reflects on her "All-Sub" experience in another Kokomo Tribune article.


Our coverage of the sectional realignments in last week's news update failed to mention that there was also a major change in the 2A lineups in NWI. With the movement of Hebron from 1A to 2A Sectional 33, North Newton was sent packing to Sectional 34, the sectional of long-time Spartan rival North Judson. That, of course, is great news for last season's semi-state qualifier, Hanover Central, who will be looking to repeat as Sectional 33 champs. With revenge-minded North Newton out of the sectional picture, that should make the path less troublesome for the Wildcats. However, North Newton will definitely face a test against North Judson just to get a second chance at Hanover Central at the regional level. Other major changes occurred around the state with the realignment, including the movement of perenially strong Martinsville and Center Grove to new sectionals. Those changes and others around the state are covered in the Indianapolis Star, Goshen News, Kokomo Tribune, Lafayette Journal & Courier, and Muncie Star Press.
High school coaching changes are being announced in NWI and around the state.

After the controversial resignation of Andy Juscik as head coach of the Bishop Noll girls program, a new face will guide the Lady Warriors next season. Tom Haluska, former girls head coach at Hammond Clark, will look to build the Noll program into a new force to be dealt with in 3A competition in NWI. Haluska will be starting with a young team, but wants to continue with the work Juscik had done to make Noll traditionally competitive. Besides his most recent assignment at Clark, Haluska previously spent time at the JV and assistant varsity level at Noll, Hammond Morton and East Chicago.

Another coaching change in 3A takes highly-regarded Hammond Gavit coach, Diana Wingis, to the head coaching job at Griffith. Wingis will replace Tim Powers, who announced his resignation this past spring. Wingis and the Griffith program have a competitive past, where Gavit and Griffith have gone down to the wire several times in sectional competition. Now Wingis will be working with the Panthers instead of against them. Although Wingis hesitated leaving behind talented junior-to-be Joanne Smith and a strong group of incoming sophomores at Gavit, she is looking forward to coaching a strong group at Griffith. You can read about the Griffith/Gavit coaching change in The Times.

The item here previously announced that NorthWood freshman girls coach Lenny Krebs was to take over the varsity coaching position at Whitko. According to the Goshen News, Krebs has had a change of heart and will stay at NorthWood, but as the boys assistant coach. Thanks to a RRR regular who brought this to our attention.


Brooke Minnear of Ft. Wayne Snider was named 1998-99 PrepSports Girls Athlete of the Year by the Ft. Wayne Sentinel. Minnear, a senior member of the state runner-up 4A Panthers, was Snider's leading scorer with 13.7 ppg during her senior season. A standout in volleyball, and a track participant as well, Minnear earned 10 varsity letters in high school. Minnear will be attending St. Louis University on a full-ride volleyball scholarship in the fall.
According to the Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Abby Luttrell (5'8 F) of Logansport will be playing for the University of Indianapolis in the fall. Luttrell averaged 13.7 points per game during her senior season and was considered a 3-point specialist and team leader.
Becky Schuster, North Newton senior, is headed to Arlington, Texas, with the Indy Rebels for the 17U Nationals beginning July 2.
The 16U teams representing Indiana in the AAU Nationals in Kingsport, Tennessee, did not fare well and two have been eliminated from play so far, while one team continues in consolation play. Indiana third place team Lady Mac Magic was the only team to advance to the championship bracket, but was double-eliminated with losses to Arkansas Cagers (87-86) and LE Just Do Its (72-61). State champ Mohr Magic placed third in opening pool play by 1 pool point and dropped down to the Shootout (consolation) bracket, as did 2nd place Indiana team Eastern Indiana Wolfpack. Mohr Magic is still alive in Shootout bracket play and takes on the Potomac Valley Vogues at noon today, while Eastern Indiana Wolfpack failed to advance to the Shootout bracket with an 89-77 loss to the Kentucky Kangaroos. The Indiana AAU website is following Indiana teams for all age groups at the Nationals tournaments. That info is at http://bounce.to/indiana.aau and can be found under the "1999 Indiana Teams at Nationals" link.
The official NCAA viewing period of recruits began on June 26 and will run through August 4 for women's college basketball coaches around the nation. The Indianapolis Star fills us in on how three new Indiana coaches are dealing with the transition to their new jobs, while at the same time trying to hit the recruiting trail for the best high school talent in Indiana and around the nation. Kristy Curry of Purdue, Brenda Oldfield of Ball State and Wendy Gatlin of Butler are all making adjustments as they get ready to take the lead with their new college coaching assignments.
Former Indiana high school players on the Women's USA University Team have been key to wins in Spain as the team heads into official University Games competition this weekend. Notre Dame's Ruth Riley (North Miami) and Purdue's Katie Douglas (Perry Meridian) are representing the Hoosier State well overseas. Riley has averaged 7.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, while Douglas was the leading scorer for USA averaging 12.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.7 assists in a three-game tournament in Spain that ended Sunday. You can read about Riley's accomplishments in the Peru Tribune, and Douglas's contributions on the Fans Only Purdue website.
The Gary Post-Tribune is reporting that former West Side standout, Danielle McCulley, has been selected by USA Basketball for the Women's Pan American Games team. McCulley was the No. 1 pick in the ABL draft last year. The Pan Am team is being coached by Nell Fortner, former Purdue coach, and will compete from July 30 to August 8 in Winnipeg, Canada.
The awards continue to be heaped upon Indiana's greatest female basketball player, Stephanie McCarty, with the announcement that she has been named Big Ten Athlete of the Year. You can read about this award in the Lafayette Journal & Courier. Also, McCarty and former Purdue teammate Ukari Figgs are featured in an WNBA update piece by Pat McKee of the Indianapolis Star. Both former Boilermakers are making their marks early on in professional play.
How's this for a deal? Stephanie McCarty's WNBA tea, the Charlotte Sting, has teamed up with the Charlotte Observer newspaper to offer Sting fans a Valupack Night package -- four $8 lower level tickets to the Sting game for $29, plus four hot dogs, four sodas and four popcorns for free. Can't wait until Indy has its WNBA team next year. Move over Pacers!

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