WALNUT, Calif. -- The West Coast Premier Spring Invitational may go down as one of the best non-NCAA Certified events in the country and definitely on the West Coast in 2010. A collection of teams in California like this nearly is impossible to gather in July with shoe company contracts and politics interfering. The tournament culminated in a back-and-forth battle between the host, West Coast Premier-Black, and the next wave of talent to hit the circuit, DFW Elite 2012.
The young and fearless team from the Dallas-Fort Worth area came in wanting to prove that it is more than a good 15U team. Its bold 42-38 win in the championship game of the Super Elite Division provided the exclamation mark to a run that included wins over Boo Williams Summer League, GBL, NorCal Elite and Cal Storm Team Taurasi. The message was loud and clear.
In the finale, with ample talent on both sides of the court and teams with very different strengths, two players made unique impacts on their respective teams:
Moriah Jefferson -- DFW Elite 2012
The swagger that 5-foot-6 Moriah Jefferson brings into the gym could fill Cowboys Stadium. She has more than talent -- she has "it". She is surrounded by quickness, speed and aggressiveness, but she takes the lead. The Glenn Heights, Texas, native pointed her teammates to their spots, communicated with them and gave a quick tongue-lashing when the circumstances called for it. She is a blur with the ball and, although West Coast Premier is a very good halfcourt defensive team and with help defenders waiting, she found ways to use her burst to get by the second level of defense before they could get in position. If gaps and seams weren't
available for the taking she would let a 3-ball fly and on several occasions her deep shooting killed runs from her opposition. If this performance is a preview of what she will bring to Colorado Springs next month for the USA Basketball U17 Team trials, then the atmosphere will be electric and the competition at the point will be fierce.
Devin Hudson -- West Coast Premier-Black
West Coast Premier had a decided size advantage against DFW and numerous "known" names in the frontcourt. So as the team battled the ball pressure and speed of DFW to try and utilize the advantage, the flow of the game got the team's bigs out of the paint. It wasn't Sheila Boykin, Alexyz Vaioletama or even Kacy Swain that sparked the team's return to the paint, it was 6-foot-3 Devin Hudson that came to the rescue. The Colony High School junior brought energy and aggressiveness to the heart of the DFW defense and changed the game. She, like several of her teammates, had some trouble finishing but it was her intensity and determination to rebound and go straight to the rim that was infectious to her teammates. She even showed off a nice little right-handed baby hook in traffic. She has plenty of length and an athletic but lean build. She's just scratching the surface of her potential but if she can bring the energy to the floor she did in the second half for an entire game she will find a lot of success in her future.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.