Most of the discussion on the ESPNU HoopGurlz Terrific 25 for the Class of 2014 will be on the big versus little debate at the top of the board, much like the 2013 debate concerning post Mercedes Russell and shooting guard Kaela Davis. But the Kobe-Shaq, Lauren Jackson-Sue Bird, who's better argument is not the real story of 2014. The point guards are.
Check your calendars because it feels a bit like 2010. Replace No. 3 Odyssey Sims (Baylor), No. 4 Chelsea Gray (Duke), No. 8 Shoni Schimmel (Louisville), No. 14 Bria Hartley (Connecticut), and No. 16 Suriya McGuire (Miami) with No. 4 Jordin Canada (Los Angeles/Windward), No. 8 Recee' Caldwell (San Antonio, Texas/L.B. Johnson/Baylor), No. 12 Mikayla Venson (Arlington, Va./Yorktown), No. 16 Brooke McCarty (League City, Texas/Clear Springs) and No. 20 Bianca Cuevas (Brooklyn, N.Y.); the impact of the lead guard on the signing class is definitely comparable.
The big difference between the point guard crops of 2010 and 2014 is size. Sure, time and maturity will change some of that for the 2014s, but the 2010 group is just big in general. Four of the seven points in the top 25 were 5 feet 9 or taller with Gray at 5-11 and Charmaine Tay (Louisville) at 5-10 leading the way.
Speed and quickness is the name of the game for the top point guards in the class of 2014. Canada, Cuevas, McCarty and Venson all have second and third gears to go by nearly any defender thrown at them. What is great about this group of elite point guards is their tenacity on defense, which effectively marginalizes any disadvantage in size. Backing these guards down from the perimeter to the paint is a tall order, as quick feet and hands as stealthy as a magician are coming after the ball.
Throw into the class the combo guards such as No. 1 Kelsey Mitchell (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton), No. 5 Gabby Green (Oakland, Calif./St. Mary's College Prep) and No. 23 Mychal Johnson (Proctorville, Ohio/St. Joseph Central Catholic), and primary ballhandlers in the class are numerous and impressive.
The 2014 class also has a select group of impact interior players such as No. 2 Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel), No. 6 LaJahna Drummer (Los Angeles/St. Bernard), and No. 7 Lynee' Belton (Clinton, Md./The Bullis School).
There is still a long time before this group ascends to the collegiate level, but it is certainly set up with impact players from coast to coast. A good portion of the July evaluation period was dedicated to celebrating the impact that Mitchell and Turner already are imposing on the sport, making it a scary thought of what the top of this class could look like two years from now.
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ESPN HoopGurlz Rankings Panel
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brandon Clay is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the publisher of the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report and the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as a recruiting analyst, event operator and trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter @peachstatehoops.
Rebecca Gray is an intern for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously wrote a column for the website about her experiences as a freshman on basketball scholarship at the University of North Carolina. She transferred to and played at Kentucky and now plays basketball and golf at Union College. A 5-foot-10, sharp-shooting guard out of Georgetown, Ky., Gray was named Miss Basketball in the state of Kentucky after averaging 25.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 4.8 assists during her senior season at Scott County High School. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.