As a continuation of the Cal-Hi Sports Girls of Summer basketball caravan, here are writeups of the top 15 girls we saw at the Ballin’ in the Ballroom event that ended last week in Las Vegas. Four of the 15 are from one school. Bradshaw Christian & Vista Murrieta also score well.
Note: These players are listed alphabetically. To see where they land in the final Girls of Summer player rankings, you’ll have to wait. That post plus writeups of the next 60 top players evaluated in Las Vegas will be for Gold Club members only. Our all-time all-state archives for girls hoops also is coming soon for the Gold Club. To sign up today, CLICK HERE..
Note: Our girls basketball analyst, Harold Abend, would not be able to travel at all this summer without the support of four sponsors: the Cal Stars club team, West Coast Jamboree, San Diego Classic and Mission Valley Sheraton. Cal-Hi Sports thanks all of them.
Erika Bean (Bradshaw Christian, Sacramento/Cal Sparks NorCal Black) 5-9, PG, 2015
One of the Sacramento area’s top players is showing she is a legitimate D1 prospect and is moving up on the recruiting lists with overall solid play at the point.
Jordyn Bell (Bradshaw Christian, Sacramento/Cal Sparks NorCal Black) 6-0, PF, 2015
All the schools that have offered this rugged power forward were at the Ballroom to watch her. She played well but did have some trouble against the big girls from Colorado in a 57-47 loss to eventual Elite A runner-up CBC Elite.
Jaelyn Brown (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta/Cal Stars Gold) 6-1, F/W, 2016
Brown won’t be the top-ranked girl in the Girls of Summer final rankings but she will be close and was the top player the caravan saw in person during June and July. The 6-foot-1 incoming junior who wasn’t named to the USA U17 team but has the eye of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma and every other major program in the country looked fantastic. The left-hander is currently the ESPN HoopGurlz No. 2 prospect in the nation for the Class of 2016, and the way Brown came on against the Michigan Shock in the final game shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who has followed her since she made her first appearance with the Sparks Gold as a 13-year-old. Against Michigan Shock, Brown played excellent defense, helped lead the fast break, nailed her mid-range jumper, and finished with 16 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Sierra Campisano (Torrey Pines, San Diego/San Diego Sol) 6-4, F/C, 2016
She can shoot with either hand, finishes inside, isn’t afraid to mix it up inside and even shoots the three-pointer. The college coaches like her motor as well. This young lady who came through adversity as a freshman has a huge upside. She had 24 points and 16 rebounds in one of her game observed.
Dijonai Carrington (Horizon, San Diego/Cal Sparks Gold) 5-11, G/W, 2016
Of all the players at the Ballroom this year, Carrington re-established herself as one of the top players in the state from any class. She only played five games last season after returning from a knee injury so it wasn’t a significant enough period to determine how far she had recovered, but in Vegas against the second-best team in the Elite Group field, she set the pace and was the most dominant player in the 58-46 win over Michigan Shock. Carrington had a double-double 16 points and 11 rebounds with seven steals and five assists in the victory. She isn’t twirling and spinning quite as much as she did when she was the State Freshman of the Year in 2013, and her three-point shot is not all the way back, but she’s bigger, stronger, more mature, and still has superior quickness to just about all girls her size – and provided she can stay healthy, Carrington has two more seasons to make even more improvements to her game. After the Westin Ballroom event in Vegas, she made some very positive impressions at the Nike Nationals in South Carolina.
Ayanna Clark (Long Beach Poly/Cal Sparks Gold) 6-1, C, 2017
The State Freshman of the Year runner-up was the most dominant post player in the Elite Group 1 field. She and the other starting five of the Cal Sparks Gold played sparingly in the first three games but in the final against Michigan Shock the early USC commit was impressive against the Shock’s big front line. Clark still needs to demand the ball down low more where she can muscle her way to the basket. Against Michigan, she had 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Look for marked improvement this season as Clark matures and asserts herself even more.
Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s, Stockton/Stockton Mavericks & Stockton Mustangs) 6-1, 2018
She can play any position on the floor and does that by playing the post for the Mavericks and a guard and wing for the Mustangs. After her 21/17 performance in the San Diego Classic title game, she duplicated it in the Ballroom opener and had the college coaches in amazement at her length, athleticism, jumping, ball-handling, shot-blocking abilities, shooting range and free-throw shooting – and just her overall play for an incoming freshman. After playing for the Mavericks in the Ballin’ in the Ballroom, she helped lead the Mustangs Royal to a second place finish in the Elite Group of the July 26-28 Ballroom Games at the Westin Lake Las Vegas in Nevada. There was no girl we saw this summer who can out-jump this major prospect.
Mai-Loni Henson (La Jolla Country Day/Wiggins Waves) 6-0, G/W, 2016
Henson may be one of the most improved players the Girls of Summer caravan has seen this summer. She was solid at San Diego and at the Ballroom and is getting big interest from college coaches. In the 69-54 Ballroom Games Elite Group title game victory over Stockton Mustangs, she guarded Aquira DeCosta effectively and had 22 points with two treys and nine rebounds in the win. She will be highly-ranked in the Girls of Summer final rankings.
Angel Johnson (St. Mary’s, Stockton/Stockton Mavericks) 5-8, P/F/G, 2016
In the program, she’s listed as a post, and frankly she’s the only 5-foot-8 girl the caravan has ever seen who can match up with girls up to nine inches taller. Against Seattle Lady Style, she out-jumped a girl 6-foot-5 to start the game. Angel is certainly an anomaly and this year she’s bigger, stronger, and quicker and can jump through the roof. She is also a key to the St. Mary’s vise-like press.
Destiny Littleton (Bishop’s, La Jolla/EBO Elite Black) 5-9, G, 2017
Some national analysts have been a little critical of her style but they’re starting to come around, and judging by the interest of the college coaches who watched the reigning State Freshman of the Year it appears many like her game at this stage of her career. Does she have holes in her game? Of course. Will she get better? Believe it. EBO has some quality players but Littleton has to do the heavy lifting. She had 27 points in a semifinal loss to Colorado’s CBC Elite, 22 points in a win over Salesian Force Elite of Los Angeles and 20 points in a win over the San Jose Cagers.
Naje’ Murray (St. Mary’s, Stockton/Stockton Mavericks/EBX Black) 5-6, G, 2017
Not having two key players at the Ballroom meant Murray got more touches and was a lot more involved on both ends, and she shined like she has for EBX over the summer. She had 20 points against Seattle Lady Style. Despite being a role player for St. Mary’s, college coaches like her game and see her as making significant improvements in the next three years.
Kayla Overbeck (Newbury Park/Cal Sparks Gold) 6-1, F, 2016
She’s another hidden gem that the caravan and college coaches liked a lot. She finishes strong, can hit the mid-range jumper, runs the court, plays great defense, isn’t afraid to mix it up in the paint, and has the size to be a factor at the next level. Plus, she has two years to get even better.
Brittney Reed (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta/Cal Sparks Blue) 5-11, G, 2016
She didn’t have her best game scoring-wise against CBC in the Elite A title game, but she shows significant improvement in every facet of her game, and she’s eliminated the wildness spurts, plus, she’s hard to handle for other guards with her size and quickness. She is clearly the top player on Blue and will certainly move up to Gold next season with high school teammate Jaelyn Brown.
Sierra Smith (St. Mary’s, Stockton/Stockton Mavericks) G, 5-5, 2017
Smith has been on the radar screen since last summer when she was impressive as an incoming freshman. This summer, she’s bigger, stronger and quicker, unafraid to attack on defense, keys the maniacal St. Mary’s press, and if she continues to develop her game could be a big time prospect.
Sophia Song (Mark Keppel, Alhambra/Salesian Force Elite) 6-0, F/W, 2016
A favorite of the Girls of Summer caravan the past two years, Sophia has a motor that is active the entire game. She finishes inside with her size, can nail her mid-range jumper, shoots the three well for a big girl, plays excellent defense and boxes out. Look for Song to be singing when the Girls of Summer Final Rankings position is released in August.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend