Best of summer series rolls on

Kelsey Mitchell lines one up for MBA Wolves Elite. The 2014 guard is on the long list of shooters for HoopGurlz's Best of Summer 2011. Glenn Nelson/ESPN.com

Summer, when all is said and done, is a state of mind.

The definitions of said season otherwise are elusive.

If you live in Seattle, as some of us do, summer is one or two weeks in August when the mercury consistently cracks 70.

In North Augusta, S.C., it's air conditioning cranked up so high, you don't dare leave your hotel room without a sweater. In Chicago or the D.C. area, it's no air conditioning at all and dripping sweat at 10 p.m.

Summer, for us, is about the players.

The players play and advance the game. And this is our sixth annual roll call -- Best of Summer.

Don't try taking this all in with one breath. They'll take that breath away in an instant.

Summer, yes, is for dreams and dreamers. A state of mind to be cherished.


Karlie and Katie Samuelson, Cal Swish

Taylor Agler, All Ohio
Morgan Batey, A.O.T. Lady Rebels
Recee'Caldwell, San Antonio's Finest
Chandler Cooper, Tennessee Flight
Caroline Coyer, Potomac Valley Vogues
Rebekah Dahlman, North Tartan
Courtney Ekmark, Arizona Warriors
Devyn Galland, Spokane Stars
Rebecca Greenwell, Tennessee Flight
Kianna Holland, Georgia Hoopstars
Hannah Huffman, East Bay Xplosion
Jamaika Hughes, Texas Dream Team
Kelli Kingma, Tree of Hope
Kari Korver, Cal Sparks
Nicole Kornet, Cy-Fair Nike Elite
Maddy McCallie, Kingdom Hoops
Jewell Loyd, Midwest Elite
Michaela Mabrey, NJ Demons
Alexa Middleton, Tennessee Flight
Kelsey Mitchell, All Ohio
Kelsey Plum, Wiggins Waves
Meghan Roxas, All New Jersey Elite
Jamie Weisner, Northwest Blazers
Zoe Vernon, Carolina Friends
Lauren Works, CSS Bison

We've traditionally rolled out this list first every summer, mainly because it's been short and easy. But a funny thing happened on the way to the death of the jump shot in girls' basketball.

If the shot needed CPR, it may have first been administered at the Huntington Beach, Calif., home of Karen and John Samuelson, a pair of former professional basketball players in England. The couple's version of jumper aid has everyone seeing triple. First came daughter Bonnie, now enrolled at Stanford. Then Karlie, a 2013 prospect. And finally Katie Lou, Class of 2015.

Lucky for Edison High School. Lucky for the game.

We were so amused, all summer long, at how Karlie would first loosen up the twine (try seven threes in the first half in a bracket game at Nike Nationals against the Tennessee Flight), then seemingly hand off the long-distance battering to her younger sis, Katie. They seem so symbiotic, we kept them as one entry and named them Best of Category.

And it was a tough crowd that they topped.

In fact, the list was getting so long that we, ah, started getting picky.

So if a college coach tries to employ that tired, old refrain about not being able to find a shooter, send her or him to Huntington Beach. And that would just be a starting point.

For a Soundslides piece showing some of the country's top shooters in top form, click here.


Moriah Jefferson, DFW T-Jack

Brianna Butler, Exodus NYC
Jordin Canada, Cal Sparks
Jamie Cherry, Garner Flames
Chadarryl Clay, Georgia Elite
Bianca Cuevas, Exodus NYC
Kaela Davis, Georgia Ice
Lashann Higgs, DFW Elite Washington
Jayla Hobza, Omaha Sparks
Jordan Jones, DFW T-Jack
Nekia Jones, Louisiana Heat
Kyra Lambert, Texas Express
Brooke McCarty, Cy-Fair Premier
Kelsey Mitchell, All Ohio
Tyler Scaife, Cy-Fair 15s
Janee Thompson, Lady Fire
Jessica Washington, Okla. And 1
Lauren Williams, Da Fam

The girls may not yet play consistently in the stratosphere, but if there is one place they may have caught the boys, it here.

After all, about every club team in America has at least one player who can execute a decent crossover move.

And then there are the likes of Mo Jefferson, the Connecticut-bound, ankle-breaker extraordinaire. No one has produced as long a run of gasp- and ew-producing moves -- from her peers, no less. She can combo dribble moves on the dead sprint, contort her body like Gumby while rapid-firing crosses like Machine Gun Kelly. Toss in a head fake, shoulder fake -- heck, maybe it's all an illusion.

But it's not just a show. Or for show. Maybe the biggest step taken in the girls' game is the ability to create shots off the dribble. Shoot, you now have 6-foot-2 wings like Kaela Davis, the Tennessee-bound 2013, who can cross you so you're rubber-necking in Arkansas while she's taking the lane in Georgia.

Handles? Yeah, we've got enough to carry this game to a whole, other level, even if that level is not above the rim.

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Lisa Bodine is a national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A native of Queens, N.Y., she began her coaching career in 1993 with the NY Gazelles, has coached with D.C.-based Team Unique, and in 2009 she was named DAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill, Va., to its first-ever conference title. She can be reached at lisa@hoopgurlz.com.

Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at chris.hansen@espn.com.

Mark Lewis is the national recruiting coordinator for ESPN HoopGurlz. Twice ranked as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the game by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, he has more than 20 years of college coaching experience at Memphis State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Western Kentucky and, most recently, Washington State. He can be reached at mark@hoopgurlz.com.

Keil Moore is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report - a division of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Moore has been involved in the community since 2007 as a recruiting analyst and trainer. He can be reached at kmoore@peachstatehoops.com.

Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A graduate of Seattle University and Columbia University, he formerly coached girls' club basketball, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, has had his photography displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at glenn@hoopgurlz.com.