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always looking for the NEXT SPORTS PHENOM
always looking for the NEXT SPORS PHENOM






nZone, Chantily, VA
August 6, 2016

     The Rites of Passage ran by Lisa Bodine, originally a skills session for DMV players transitioning from the 8th grade to high school.  It showcased the best of the best players in some skill and drill settings and added an educational component for players and parents on what to expect in high school.  Today the event has expanded far beyond just DMV players and has attracted many local high school and club coaches as well as some national evaluators, also the event is now not exclusive to only 8th graders but all grades that are capable of competing, in the words of one evaluator "if a pre-schooler can play she can get in".  Once again went flawlessly with several noteworthy trainers leading the drill sessions such as Yolanda Lavender, Lisa Willis and Roger Marshall, there were also quite a few ROP alumni from high school and college that helped the youngsters along giving them tips and advice notably Lindsay Allen (Notre Dame), Tasia Butler (James Madison), Taylor Jenkins (UAB), Megan Walker (Monacan) and Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe).  There was some 1 on 1 competition with games consisting of 3 on 3, 4 on 4 and 5 on 5 matches to allow players to be seen in different settings.  As far as scouting is concerned Blue Star Basketball was there in full force with national evaluators Kevin Lynch, Mark Lewis,  Prentice Beverly and several other staff members, Bret McCormick from All Star Girls Report and Finest Magazinewas in the building as well, local media included 695 Hoops Al Schell and Rob DuBose and yours truly Tink Butler from Next Sports Phenom.  Club teams also represented with  BWSL, Philly Belles, Fairfax Stars, Team Takeover, Cap City Ballers and others in the house.  Notables representing were Boo Williams, Shawn Wright, Jonathan Wilson, Aggie McCormick, Bob Dix, Tank Collins, Star Willis, James Nichols and many more.  The event was well run with luch provided to the kids and a Q & A with a panel of special guests.  


Jada Walker - 5'7" - 2021
The lefty point guard moved into the DMV from Michigan with a reputation that preceded her, thankfully she has the skills to back it up.  She has one of the most fluent pull up jumpers off the dribble that I have seen in a while from a player her age.  She has a great handle and showed to be a very good defender.

Mir McClean - 5'9" - 2020
Mir's rim level ability is beyond her years and she uses her leaping ability well to rebound and finish or helpless defenders who simply can't get up high enough to stop her.  As her skill continues to improve so will her rise on college draft boards.

Zoe Vidaurre - 5'6" - 2021
Zoe was a late edition write-in to the roster, replacing an injured player, but she made herself known quickly.  Solid body for a varsity level guard and a tight handle made you take notice in drills.  Her gameplay was solid as well, she will be a player to watch as she expands her perimeter shooting.

Azzi Fudd - 5'11" - 2021
Azzi simply did whatever she wanted whenever she wanted and no one in the gym seemed to be able to do anything about it.  She has a very accurate jump shot with elevation but she showed off a range of skills including her ability to navigate to the rim against defenders of various sizes and lengths.

Yonta Vaughn - 4'11" - 2022
As one of the younger players in the event, Yonta held her own on both ends.  She is long for her age despite being listed under 5 feet tall, her quickness and ability to separate from defenders allowed her to get off her shot in a setting where nearly everyone was older and taller than her. 

Kaniyah Harris - 5'9" - 2020
Harris has consistently stepped her game up in the last few months and is back to being considered one of the top incoming freshmen in her class.  She has a consistent outside shot that has to be respected, opening her up for drives after the shot fake.  Defenders have to decide whether to play the shot or the pass, both decisions have been working in Kaniyah's favor. 

Kaylah Ivey - 5'9" - 2020
Kaylah has been one of the top deep threat shooters in the class for several years, she controlled the game flow at the point getting teammates involved.  She was very effective off the dribble, protecting the ball under pressure and showing that she can get off her own shot even when being harrassed.

Synia Johnson - 5'8" - 2020
Synia has been a standout in individual events for a while now and this was no exception.  She makes plays with her hustle and willingness to mix things up in the paint.  She has a good touch on her floater in the lane and from various angles and a nice form and release on her jumper.

Kayla Cooper - 6'0" - 2020
Kayla is making a smooth transition from post to perimeter, she used this time to show off a good mid range shot and ability to attack the basket very physically from the wing. 

Aurea Gingras - 5'8" - 2020
Aurea has a very high IQ in games, she has found a way to be a scorer but also be very unselfish.  Accurate passes and her ability to make the right play in transition allowed her to easily stand out amongst the crowded field of talent.

Eniya Russell - 5'9" - 2020
Eniya seemed like she came out to have fun, while playing within the flow of the game and laughing with teammates.  She chose her spots during games to make sure everyone knew that she was indeed one of the most talented players in the gym.

Angel Reese - 6'1" - 2020
Angel is long and gifted with the ball, she has the ability now to play the 1 through 5 position and performs exceptionally well at each.  She attacks and finishes well and has a knack of drawing fouls, the sky is the limit for her as she expands her range heading into high school.

Sherise Pittman - 6'1" -2021
Sherise is another long athlete that showed that she can be effective at multiple positions.  As a rising 8th grader she has the skill and strength to play at the high school varsity level now.  Defensively she is very disruptive as she gets her long arms into passing lanes.

Ja'Niya Quinerly - 5'4" - 2021
Ja'Niya had a breakout USJN and continued to rise during the Rites of Passage.  Most impressive is the ground that she covers defensively and she is able to break to the ball with a steal or deflection to seemingly wide open players.  She makes good plays on the move specializing in the mid range pull up in transition.

Kiyomi McMiller - 4'11" - 2024
Kiyomi continues to amaze onlookers with her skill level to age ratio. She seems to have added a couple of inches over the summer and seems to fit in better size wise with the older players.  Her ability and passion for the game still has a wow factor, even for some of the coaches and evaluators that have been watching her for the last couple of years.


Although NSP had it's focus on DMV players, I'd be remissed not to mention a few of the out of towners that stood out during the day.

Camille Jackson 2022 Chicago, IL
Julianna Laguna, 2022, Staten Island, NY
Olivia Mullins, 2020, Somerset, NJ
Caranda Perea, 2020, Altoona, PA
Skye Williams, 2021, Orient, OH
Jaqueline Vargas, 2020, Maple Glen, PA
Caroline Ducharme, 2021, Milton, MA
Maniya Custis, 2020, Camden, NJ
Kylee Watson, 2020, Linwood, NJ *

* Viewed by many as the top overall player at the event.

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