CHANDLER, Ariz. -- The ESPN HoopGurlz staff takes a look at some intriguing players from Tuesday, the second day of competition at the Nike Tournament of Champions.
Rhamat Alhassan, Academy of the Holy Cross (Kensington, Md.): A legitimate post prospect in the 2014 class, Alhassan is not only 6-feet-4 and long with an expansive wingspan, but she is also a fluid athlete who can run the floor like a guard. Alhassan can play above the rim with her ability to explode off the floor, and although she has a thin frame she can finish shots in heavy traffic. Against Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.) on Tuesday, she had 11 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in the first half alone. Her ability to defend Edison's shooters by alerting and contesting shots was a key part of Holy Cross' defensive effort that held Edison to one 3-point field goal in the second quarter. When Edison was able to fight its way back in the game, she wasn't as dominant, but that was more a result of how the team was playing. She did score a key layup late in the fourth quarter. In the semifinals, Alhassan will face St. Joseph's Academy with 6-3 Sydney Stipanovich, which could be one of the best post matchups of the tournament.
-- Lisa Bodine
Kelsey Brockway, Palos Verdes (Calif.): If it's true that big-time players step up in crunch time, then consider Brockway a big-time player. The 6-1 forward showed the ability to play with her back to basket or face up and attack off the bounce. She also hit several turnaround mid-range jumpers and proved she can even step behind the arc. Brockway needed all of the above skills to help turn back a hard-charging Marlborough squad. Brockway scored consecutive baskets to halt a furious run. Despite her efforts, Marlborough pushed the game to overtime. Brockway played the extra period with renewed energy, scoring seven points and icing the game down the stretch from the free-throw line for a 60-54 OT victory. Brockway finished the game with 25 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks.
-- Prentice Beverly
Andee Velasco, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.): Just a freshman, Velasco is a mentally tough guard who plays as hard as she possibly can on every possession. Her decision-making and court awareness are outstanding, and she can capitalize on any advantage the defense gives her. She is a crafty ball-handler who can find ways to slash to the goal and get easy buckets. Velasco is very skilled at finishing with both hands inside the paint and maintains enough body control to pick up the three-point play if she is fouled. If you leave her open for a perimeter jumper, she can knock it down without hesitation. On defense, she will get on every loose ball, and her quick hands and footwork allow her to pick up steals for uncontested layups as well. Velasco is a very unselfish player who plays with a lot of heart and determination no matter how long she is on the floor. She has that certain X-factor, and she is able to bring a spark to her team whenever she comes into the game.
-- Rebecca Gray
Regina Camera, St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.): From a recruiting perspective, highly skilled prospects with a solid feel for the game and how to play it with other people are becoming a valuable commodity. Camera fits that mold perfectly. The 5-8 guard pairs a polished skill set and a fairly athletic frame with an excellent feel for how to be effective on the court. Camera is a solid perimeter shooter who can put the ball on the floor and make a play for herself or others when needed. On multiple possessions on Tuesday, she made the right reads and found open teammates on drives to the basket or finished layups around defenders when it was there. Camera, a senior, should make a college coaching staff happy next year.
-- Keil Moore
Taylor Manuel, Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.): The senior post seemed unfazed by the prospect of going against Buford (Ga.) and one of the bigger frontcourts in the tournament. The 6-3 Manuel was poised and confident and set the tone early, scoring 15 of her game-high 25 points in the first half. She used her body well against Buford's junior star Kristina Nelson, staying under control and making powerful moves on the pivots. She showed the agility that seemed to be missing this summer and contributed a lot of the little things that kept her team firing on all cylinders. It was a refreshing sign to see a post be the vocal leader on the floor, a trait we used to applaud in Kelsey Bone (Texas A&M) in her prep days. She encourages her entire team for any good play, whether she was involved or not. If she maintains this level of play and poise and continues to improve, expect her to make an impact as a freshman at Purdue.
-- Chris Hansen
Kelsey Plum, Country Day (La Jolla, Calif.): Plum has made a huge impression on our staff and college coaches alike with her performance at the Tournament of Champions each of the past two years, so Tuesday's 26-point outing comes as no surprise. At 5-7, Plum doesn't stand out, but she managed to add another chapter to her TOC story by leading her team to a 53-41 win over Long Beach Poly in the quarterfinals of the Anderson Division. The left-handed point guard is ranked No. 31 in the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60 for the class of 2013, and on Tuesday she continued to show why. She got teammates involved, scored the ball throughout the game and even drew a foul from a Long Beach Poly defender on a 3-point shot attempt as the first quarter came to a close. All in all, it was just another day at the TOC for Plum.
-- Brandon Clay
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Prentice Beverly is editor of BamaPrepGirls.com, a scouting website that covers Alabama. He is the author of Navigating the Maze Grassroots Reference Guide to Women's Basketball College Recruiting. He coached on the club circuit as well as the high school level for over 15 years.
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. He is a member of the McDonald's All-American team selection committee. Hansen can be reached at email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @keilmoore.