The April live evaluation period kicked off this weekend and The Classic in Louisville was the destination for several clubs from Michigan. Programs such as 1Nation, Michigan Mystics, Michigan Storm and Michigan’s Finest had a heavy presence in several age groups as…
The April live evaluation period kicked off this weekend and The Classic in Louisville was the destination for several clubs from Michigan. Programs such as 1Nation, Michigan Mystics, Michigan Storm and Michigan’s Finest had a heavy presence in several age groups as they took the floor against some of the best competition in the country. While the sun was out in Michigan, several prospects made it rain in the Bluegrass state with long range bombs.
Here’s a look at the top 5 shooters I viewed over three days at The Classic in Louisville:
Sydney Shafer (2019/5’9/Michigan Storm Elite Love)
The Jackson Northwest HS junior went off on Saturday night in a pool play game against Dayton Lady Hoopstars in the best individual performance I witnessed all weekend. Sydney opened up the game with 7 triples in the first half on her way to 25 points at the half. We’re not talking about run-of-the-mill catch and shoot threes exclusively either, Shafer hit multiple triples that were of extreme difficulty. On two occasions she knocked down threes off the bounce from 25 feet and beyond after stepbacks and behind the back dribbles. That’s not to say that she didn’t space the floor off the catch, as Sydney buried several shots from roughly 30 feet away off the catch in a jaw-dropping display of range that had roughly a dozen or so Division I coaches talking. Shafer also displayed some ability to create off the dribble and find rollers off of ball-screen action.
Maddie Novak (2019/5’11/1Nation Elite)
Novak was the most consistent shooter I viewed on the weekend. Against Blue Stars St. Louis the Detroit Country Day wing buried four triples and looked extremely confident on each of those attempts. She carried that confidence over the next day in a matchup versus Cincy Swish where Maddie connected on three more shots from beyond the arch. While her attempts from three are generally off the catch, Novak is able to shoot over closeouts based on her size (5’11) and will also attack those closeouts off the bounce where she looks for her midrange pull up. A willing rebounder, Maddie mixed it up on the glass well for a perimeter prospect and can absorb contact.
Maddie Birchmeier (2019/5’7/Michigan Mystics Showtime)
Saturday was my first time watching Maddie live and I liked what I saw as the Mystics took on Chicago Extreme in pool play. Birchmeier came in the game early in the first half locked and loaded, delivering blows from the perimeter. Her first long range bomb came as the defense sagged back and Maddie took one dribble before rising up and connecting from the left wing. She would follow that up with a midrange jumper from the baseline as the defense collapsed around to prevent a Maddie Voelker drive. The Corruna HS guard continued her assault from the three point line with another make from the left wing as the defense failed to find her in their zone defense. Maddie is a very efficient player that rarely takes bad shots, runs the offense without being a big risk for turnovers and generally plays within herself.
Destiny Strother (2019/5’9/Michigan Storm Elite Taylor)
I only had the opportunity to watch Strother on one occasion throughout the weekend and she didn’t disappoint. The Flint Carman-Ainsworth southpaw knocked down a three from the right corner in the opening minutes of a high-level game against the Philly Stars on Saturday evening. Destiny banged in two more bombs during the second half from the left corner with ease. What strikes me most about Strother’s shot are the nature of the makes………they simply do not touch the rim, all net and nothing else. Her stroke is about as pure as it can get at this level. Destiny has a quick release and one-motion in a very fluid shot. The sharpshooter also excels in transition as a finisher that fills the lane.
Kate McArthur (2019/5’7/1Nation Elite)
In some of the bigger news of the weekend, Kate re-opened her recruitment after previously being committed to Clemson. One the court it was business as usual, as McArthur displayed her shooting prowess against Cincy Swish on Saturday during pool play. Warren Cousino’s lead guard got loose in transition for threes in each corner and the defense quickly adjusted after that. Kate used the aggressive closeouts to her advantage using shot fakes before driving baseline and hitting floaters early in the second half. McArthur would bury another triple from the top of the key in the second half and was the best shooter on the court. It shouldn’t take long before additional offers come rolling in for one of the best available shooters in the 2019 class.