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DFW Takes Marques Jackson Division

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- In the second tip sheet of our Memorial Day coverage we take a look a look at the Nike Midwest Showdown and some of the event's top performers.

Winners and runner up in the five different divisions were:

Under 13: Fairfax Stars Black defeated All Ohio
Under 14: Indiana Lady Gym Rats defeated MBA Elite
Under 15: DFW 2013 defeated TNBA Reds
Under 16/17: St. Louis Majestics defeated Team Detroit
Marques Jackson Elite: DFW T-Jack defeated South Carolina 76ers

2011 Checklist

Asia Boyd: Looking bigger and stronger, this 6-foot guard from Team Detroit continues to play a game already more suited for the college level. The difficult thing at this point is judging if that physical maturity might make it more challenging for her against the small and ultra-quick guards she may face down the road. Don't misunderstand, she's still quick in her attack and has tremendous ability in creating with the ball in her hands. Her vision allows her to see the floor effectively and her passing is as effective as her scoring. The added size can also ultimately be a weapon with her ability to muscle smaller guards and handle the physical play when she penetrates the paint. It also can be a benefit on the defensive end of the floor and make her a rebounding force from the perimeter. Time will tell.

Briyona Canty: Canty continues to play the game at a different pace than those around her. While logic may say it's best for the 5-9 Gaucho's guard to slow it down a bit she might then be sacrificing something that sets her apart from other perimeter threats. The development and refinement of her skills at full speed has led to some interesting and creative turnovers at times, but in the end the velocity of her attack might be worth maintaining. Her choices are generally good with the ball and she sees the floor as she pushes it. The defensive rotations that she causes on penetration or in transition are often more than a step slow and less than effective. The bigger problem isn't taking care of the ball; it's exploiting the looks she creates. More than one easy look has rolled off the rim on her in a couple of events this spring. Her perimeter touch seems to be evolving as she was able to connect on several pull-ups as well as a couple of spot up jumpers this weekend. She's already keeps defenders up at night, a higher shooting percentage would give them nightmares.

Briana Graham: Athletic and smooth, this 6-0 standout from the Michigan Crossover could find herself at home on the wing or at a forward spot. She demonstrated a lot of versatility at both ends of the court and had an impact in doing so. Graham is one of those players who just makes plays. Offensively she has the ability to put it on the floor and get to the rim as well as pull up on a dime and hit the short jumper. At the other end of the floor she has the quickness and mobility to match up with smaller perimeter players or mix it up with bigger wings and small forwards. Her aggressive play and ability to contribute in multiple ways should make her an appealing prospect for many schools.

Kiana Johnson: This 5-5 point guard from the Chicago Lady Fire has firmly established herself as one of those small, ultra quick point guards that nobody want s to line up against. Over the past year Johnson has proved time and again that she has the individual ball skills, perimeter touch and range and athleticism to more than compensate for her slight size. In transition or penetrating she can create her own looks or distribute the ball to the many talented options on both her high school and club teams. Her passing skills are evolving even more now that she's become a known and respected scoring threat drawing additional attention from opponents. At the defensive end she may have an equal or even greater impact. On and off the ball she's active and aggressive. Combine that with the speed and anticipation she brings to the table and there's going to be turnovers leading to transition.

Jazmon Gwathmey: James Madison may like their commitment from this 6-2 Fairfax Stars wing now, but they're going to love her even more later. Fitting the ever growing trend of bigger skilled perimeter players, Gwathmey has the capability to create and force defensive opponents to make decisions. Her ability to slash starts with an extended and quick first step and ends with her slithering through traffic and getting a good look or going to the line. The individual skills she has makes her a challenging matchup along with her height and length. She's constantly in motion and has an impressive fluidity to her movement. While she didn't take many from the perimeter, her stroke looked good at the line and she can elevate on her pull up. Her anticipation on defense led to several tips and she has the lateral speed to corral smaller, quicker opponents. She'll have to add some strength on the next level but the folks at JMU will gladly take care of that.

DeArica Hamby: The Georgia Pistols may have one of the deepest rosters this summer and their run to the semifinals is good evidence of its effectiveness. Over the course of the weekend one of their most consistent performers was this 6-3 forward. Her agility and speed make her a weapon at both ends and a challenge for opposing interior players. Her active play created opportunities in the halfcourt and she was a consistent option in transition if she wasn't making the outlet pass. She has an impressive reach which served her well in pulling in wild passes or grabbing rebounds. She reads defenders well and finishes consistently around the rim. Defensively she sees the floor well from the weakside and limits second shots by getting on the glass.

Betnijah Laney: If versatility is the characteristic, Laney is the poster child. The 6-0 Gauchos power player continues her evolution from forward to wing demonstrating an ability to incorporate aspects of both positions into her game. Her already well documented physical transformation is just a part of the expansion of her play. Each time out she's showing more and more perimeter skills and confidence while not totally abandoning the aggressive inside attack that's been her bread and butter. Her first step and ability to put it on the floor is creating more looks and her pull up is generating some nice opportunities in the paint. The longer jumper and anything more than a one or two dribble drive is still a work in progress but showing promise. Laney has already established that she'll be an impact player at the highest level. What position and to what degree remains to be seen.

2012 Checklist

Jordan Jones: If it were possible to go fishing for skilled, quick and athletic guards the DFW program might be the most popular fishing hole in recruiting. The depth of backcourt talent on all of their teams is exceptional and Jordan Jones is just another who's going to have more than her share of scholarship offers when the time comes. The 5-6 point guard has the quickness and explosiveness that keeps any defender scratching her head and guessing at what's coming next. Her acceleration from stationary to full speed is almost instantaneous and her crossover and hesitation moves get defenders stumbling in their stances. When they give her space to create a cushion she makes them pay both on the pull up and from deeper range on the perimeter. On ball she's a scrappy and aggressive defender who has the ability to turn opposing point guards multiple times. She did tire over the course of the weekend, which took an edge off her attack but playing at her pace tends to do that to you.

Xylina McDaniel: The South Carolina 76ers made it to the finals of the Marques Jackson Elite Division behind the play of 2012 standouts Khadijah Sessions, Asia Dozier and Xylina McDaniel. The 6-2 McDaniel brings to the table all the characteristics you could ever look for in a power forward. Physically she has the size, build and explosiveness to mix it up with virtually anybody she takes the floor against. Going one step further, she has the willingness to use all those tools enthusiastically. What stands out most is the quickness of her attack. Whether from the high post or down on the block, she reads and goes without hesitation. Her first step on the drive covers a large amount of space and her spin off defenders down low leaves them sealed on her back. She'll need some consistency from her elbow jumper down the road to keep defenders honest. She's there in transition and crashes the boards with a vengeance. Defensively she can put a body on bigger players down low or she can move her feet with quicker, leaner slashers.

Khadijah Sessions: If one player really made a statement to establish herself among the class' elite over the weekend it would be this 5-6 dynamic point guard from the same South Carolina 76ers team. Physically strong with impressive speed and quickness, she controls the pace of the game on the offensive end and dictates to opposing ballhandlers defensively. Her ball skills allow her to push the ball on the break and weave through traffic with little difficulty. In the halfcourt she penetrates on her own or comes off screens leaving both defenders in her wake. The pull up is there and she showed some range on several occasions. Her hands are just as quick as her feet and opposing ballhandlers find themselves chalking up turnovers if they put it out in front of them. She's got an important and telling summer in front of her.

2013 Checklist

Kaela Davis: Davis seems more assertive and confident with the ball in her hands than she has in the past. Demonstrating the ability to play any spot on the perimeter, she's reading defenses better and making decisions based on what's in front of her rather than just what she wants to do. The 6-2 Georgia Ice guard's one-on-one skills and ability to create her own looks are evolving into the kind of weapons that will force opponents to look at going zone to get some stops. While her form is solid and fundamental the consistency has still got to come along to force closeouts in man or zone and allow her to go to work with the ball in her hands. Defensively Davis offers just as much firepower as she does at the offensive end of the floor. With her size, mobility and reach she can disrupt opposing backcourts baseline to baseline. Kobe has been first team NBA All Defensive squad seven of the past 10 years and Jordan made it nine times in his career and there's no reason Davis can't have that same kind of presence either.

Diamond DeShields: DeShields may have switched her uniform to that of the Georgia Pistols but the talent and potential are still the same for the guard/forward combo. Physically and athletically she may well exceed any player in the 2013 class and her individual skills continue to close in on that elite level as well. At the same time it was obvious that she was feeling her way in a new setting and struggled a bit to find her comfort zone. There were times that some frustration showed on her face both on the floor and on the bench. Her ability off the dribble is explosive and she can elevate over virtually anyone that might line up opposite her. While some of her most eye catching performances have been around the rim the opportunity to really take advantage of her game is going to be on the perimeter. When given space though the jumper seemed to need some elevation of its own after seeing the front of the rim on several occasions. With the capacity to play almost any position on the floor she may be the most diversely talented player on the horizon and the spotlight is going to be on every night.

Taya Reimer: This talented forward continues to advance her game and ultimately her potential every time we see her play. A legitimate 6-2, she has a lot of skills that most perimeter players would enjoy having and puts them to good use inside and out. She's effective down low and has the ability to navigate the traffic that the bigs offer when she comes inside. At the same time on the perimeter or in transition she can put it on the floor herself and create her own looks or good opportunities for her teammates. While the lefty finishes consistently in tight she'll need to refine the 15-footer and become that true inside-out threat that everybody wants to play with and not against.

Stephanie Mavunga: This 6-2 Indiana Lady Gym Rats forward has a deep combination of basketball and athletic skills. Her size and agility allows her to run the floor on the break and gives an advantage in the halfcourt with less mobile defenders. She's effective on the catch down low and finishes well anywhere around the rim with some impressive, refined moves. Add to that the fact that she can put it on the floor as well and you've got your basic match up problem for opposing coaches. She's got a solid, physical build and doesn't appear hesitant to mix it up at the defensive end or on the glass. Mavunga may be one of those rare and hard to find "true" forwards who can work the block or step out to fill any role needed. This line will get long.

Kristina Nelson: While the Georgia Ice has had more than their share of attention over the past year this is one of their players that's due for quite a bit more. The 6-3 post is already establishing herself as the kind of go to option that any player would love to have wearing the same uniform that they wear. Her size and solid build allow her to post up effectively as well as hold the position despite the pushing and shoving of opposing defenses. She gets a target up, wants the ball and, better yet, she knows what to do with it on the catch. Her ability to read defenders is advanced for her age and the quickness of her attack gets her some high percentage looks low in the paint. Nelson has the ability to draw the foul and get herself to the line multiple times almost every game. She runs the floor well for her size but got beat in transition a time or two by not seeing the floor as she got back defensively.

Jada Terry: While DFW may be the place to find the backcourt speed and quickness, they're not without some inside prospects and this 6-2 forward is a special one. A lot of players shy away from the contact and physical play but Terry embraces it and plays the game with a controlled abandon. She's active, assertive, aggressive and plays that way baseline to baseline. Her posting is low, wide and with a target leaving no doubt that she wants the ball. She makes strong cuts block to block or diving from the high post while running the floor as if there's winning lottery ticket at the other end. Her effort on the glass is blue collar at both ends and if you're going to box her out you'd better prepare for a battle. There are some small, rough edges to her skills to be worked on and refined but if attitude and approach count for something, folks better be watching.

2014 Checklist

Brianna Turner: Despite not having put on a varsity high school uniform yet, this 6-3 DFW 2013 team standout is already well known, nationally. Her combination of size, athleticism and skills makes her a prospect on the highest level at both the forward and wing spots; however the perimeter may ultimately be her best fit. The left-hander has the ballhandling skills and fluid mobility that allows her to attack defensive matchups of any size. She can run the floor with the quickest of guards and leaves the bigs behind. Her height and reach make her an imposing defender with the versatility to defend several positions and still be a constant contributor on the boards. The toughest challenge for prospects that emerge this young is making sure that their own expectations and efforts exceed what others are looking for from them.

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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.