Colorful performers at the Fall Exclusive week #2
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Watching the Fall Exclusive is like seeing the contents of a Crayola box come to life. There’s an orange team and a pink team, a blue team and a black one, plus groups in pink and violet and even a berry-colored…
Watching the Fall Exclusive is like seeing the contents of a Crayola box come to life. There’s an orange team and a pink team, a blue team and a black one, plus groups in pink and violet and even a berry-colored squad. Thankfully for those of us in the older generation, there’s also a team in gray. We saw some great basketball Friday night at Jefferson High School in Bloomington as a number of prospects turned in colorful performances at the Fall Exclusive presented by Jr All-Star. Here is the best of Week #2.
ORANGE HAS THE JUICE
There is a lot of talent on the orange team, but on this occasion the spotlight belonged on two players in particular:
Kimora Givens – 2029 guard, Minnehaha Academy
Aside from her smaller size, there isn’t much that would lead you to believe that Givens is only in 7th grade when you watch her play. She’s a mature, high IQ guard with a lot of skill. Taking the role of floor general seems to come naturally to her, even when playing with girls she hardly knows. Kimora sees the floor well, and can take it to the basket or shoot from the outside. Her quick hands and feet make her a threat on both ends of the floor; she ties up and steals the ball from opponents often. She also willingly picks up the slack of her teammates – if someone forgets to pick up the ball on defense, Kimora is there to help. This is a player that just does not quit.
Brooke Estochen – 2028 guard/forward, East Ridge
Estochen is a large guard with long limbs and a good size frame. Her size and strength allow her to rebound over smaller opponents and block shots easily. She plays physical defense and is not afraid of contact when attacking the basket. Brooke also uses well-timed cuts to get herself open and create her own shot. We were able to see her knock down several threes in both of the games we watched. Despite her team being down in the first game, Brooke’s hard working attitude never wavered and she was more than willing to do the little things to help her team succeed.
BEST OF BERRY
Katherine Whited – 2028 guard, St. Louis Park
Katherine Whited is one of those players who is just a ton of fun to watch. She’s a fast, confident point guard who plays much larger than her size. She has a strong box out and can rebound the ball. Her foot speed makes her a tremendous on-ball defender and her quick hands allow her to strip the ball from her opponents and score in transition. Whited is not afraid of larger defenders and uses her explosive first step to get around them and attack the basket where she is a great finisher around the rim.
PRETTY IN PINK
Leah Brustad – 2029 guard/forward, New Ulm
Brustad is the type of player who really knows how to use her size to her advantage. She has long limbs and a muscular build, both of which allow her to be a strong, physical rebounder and a tremendous shot blocker. We were fortunate enough to see her get a block in transition on two plays in a row. Leah also has a ton of skill on the offensive end. She’s a good shooter with a pretty release, and is great at finishing around the rim, not to mention she can bring the ball up the floor and run the point. Overall, Brustad is a great example of a versatile two-way player.
BLACK VS GRAY
– 2028 guard, Rochester Mayo (grey) vs – 2028 guard, Champlin Park (black)
In one of the last matchups of the night, the gray team and black teams faced off and we got to see a battle of two very similar 2028 guards in Soash and Mills, who were kind enough to pose for the post-game photo at the top. Both of these kids are crafty on the drive. They have quick hands and create transition opportunities. Both are gritty and tenacious and extremely fast. They have quick feet, making each of them great on- and off-ball defenders. Soash is a tough floor general with great court vision, not to mention a tremendous passer. She is excellent at finishing around the rim, and is not afraid to take some contact while she’s at it. Mills, who was recently selected to the Elite 35 Underclassmen list by Breakdown Sports, is downright explosive. She gets past her defenders easily and she can score at every level. We look forward to seeing this 8th grader run the show this winter on the Mayo varsity.
LOOKING GREAT IN GREEN
– 2027 guard, Prior Lake
Brynteson is a big guard with a muscular build. She’s a physical defender with quick feet, and her build plus work ethic allow her to corral rebounds easily. She is a smart player who makes good decisions and demonstrates a certain maturity in how she plays. On the offensive end Ava has a strong midrange game and the ability to shoot from outside. She also exhibits a lot of control, with the ability to go full speed and stop on a dime for a jump shot. Ava just missed out on making the Freshman 50 last month, the first ranking by Prep Girls Hoops of the Class of 2027. You can’t bet she’ll make the cut real soon.
VERY GOOD IN VIOLET
Macy Castle – 2028 guard, Brainerd
Some of the most exciting basketball we watched on Friday night was played by the violet team. There are some stars on this squad, no doubt, and we’ve chosen to highlight 2028 guard Macy Castle of Brainerd. Macy’s teammates for the evening consisted of(Duluth Marshall 2028), (Brainerd 2028), Hayley Quinn (River Falls, WI 2026), and (New Ulm 2026), and despite having only five players, none of them were the least bit fazed by the situation. Castle is a scrappy guard who doesn’t quit. She runs the floor well and her quick hands on defense create many transition opportunities for herself and her teammates. She reads passing lanes well and has a good sense of timing. Macy is also a strong ball handler who is crafty on the drive. She can shoot it from the outside too. Obviously she has the endurance to play two games back to back with no subs. It’s always a treat watching Johnson play. She’s one of the best 8th graders in America, after all. But on this night it was the excellent team basketball and solid performances from all five players that made watching the violet team a real treat.
PGH scout Ally McGinnis contributed to this article.