Over the next few days I will break down, by class, the top players I was able to see this Summer. Some of the players I was able to see with their High School teams and some with their AAU teams. I wish I could see everyone, but that is not possible! I was able to see some very good players and came away very impressed with the talent in Southern Illinois.
Sammi Matoush – Hillsboro. Sammi is a 5’11 guard that earned All State first team honors in both her Sophomore and Junior seasons. She is a legitimate 20 point scorer and Division 1 player. Sammi is a very good 3 point shooter but might be best in finding her way to the basket. She is relentless and finishes strong through contact. She is the kind of player that can just take a game over and lead her team to victory. She has spent hours in the gym this summer working on changing direction quickly and finding more separation to get her shot off. She will come into her senior year looking to help her team rebound from a Regional tourney upset at the hands of Piasa Southwestern and it should be a special season.
Jaylen Townsend – Edwardsville. Jaylen is a 5’9 guard that has been a favorite of mine all spring and summer. Jaylen has shown that she is more than the role player that everyone has seen the last two years. She has patiently waited her turn while showing herself as a shut down defender and excellent rebounder while playing behind some stars for the Tigers. During the AAU season she consistently led Blue Star Silvey in scoring with many games of 15 or more points. Jaylen has shown a good shooting touch from long distance and the mid range. I look for her to make a strong statement during her senior season at Edwardsville that should lead to a D1 or high D2 scholarship offer.
Nancy Fritzsche Greenville. Nancy is a 5’11 forward that became a consistent double/double player for the Comets last year. She averaged over 12 points and 9 rebounds per game on a very balanced team. Known for her high energy and non stop motor, Fritzsche is strong inside and can step out to hit the outside shot too. She is extremely strong inside gaining and keeping post position and finishes consistently once she gets the ball. She seems to get every rebound at times. During the Pana shootout I watched her get 7 defensive rebounds in a row. She is a good outlet passer and is also willing and able to take off on the dribble herself to start the fast break. She is another strong college prospect that NAIA and D2 schools should be watching.
Savannah Schoeben Springfield. Savannah is a 5’9 point guard who is an excellent leader and floor general. She seems to always be in control of the team and directing traffic to get the team into their offense. She is a very capable scorer, showing the ability to use her strength to get to the basket and also the ability to hit the 3 when it presents itself. Savannah plays on a very balanced team so her scoring output will probably not jump off the stats page her senior year, but once you see her play you will appreciate what she brings to the team. Every good team needs a leader on the floor that is an extension of the coach and Savannah is that player. She is certainly a college prospect at the small college level.
Sophia Bonaldi Columbia. Sophia is a 5’10 shooting guard that has been a leader on her high school team the last two years. She was named All State both years, garnering a 2nd team award her Sophomore year and 3rd team her Junior year. Sophia averaged 14.5 points per game her Junior year and showed in her AAU tourneys with Blue Star Silvey that she can light it up against top competition. She hit 30 shots from behind the arc for Columbia and was a 74% Free Throw shooter. Sophia contributed in many other ways also with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block per game. Her defense is an area that she could really expand her game in college. She is a capable defender now, but with her height, length and athletic ability she has the makings of an elite defender in the right hands. She should be on the radar for D2 and high level NAIA schools.
Next up, the class of 2020.