Utah Gems Shine Bright.....

The wind blew us to the well organized Utah Ladies Hardwood Gems Showcase hosted by former NBA player Alex Austin in the picturesque city of Salt Lake City, Utah. This quality event was second to none. The facility was top-notch, the lead trainer Jason Wright is world renown. He lead the drills, he was demanding, yet patient in his approach. He explained the "Why" of any move or drill, taught it, and demonstrated it. The overall event staff was outstanding!

The camp had drills ranging from hand speed drills, footwork drills, shooting off the catch and the bounce, a NCAA Informational for the parents & players, and a nutritional component as well. 

The quality of the players who attended had alot of talent, well mannered, and gave a tremendous  collective during the 2-Day event.

Here are some of the players who caught my eye:

2022 - Timea Gardiner (Ogden, Utah)  - 6'2" Wing - By far the best player at the event, and the player with the most upside as well. She is athletic, has a huge wing span, is fluid, skilled and a highly intelligent player. When I last saw her play in July of last year in Las Vegas,  was good then, but is so much better now. She has improved her perimeter skill set tremendously. She displayed the jab and pull from deep, the catch & shoot ball from distance, she can attack from out to 20 feet with her solid ball handling and long stride, finished well with her strong hand, as well as her off-hand.  She is a defensive presence inside. She anticipates really well, which allows her to defend and block shots with out fouling. She asked alot of questions, received instruction well, then went out and applied what she learned immediately. Health considered, she has BCS-Level potential.

2021 - Emma Calvert (Farr West, Utah) 6'3" Post - Emma is more of a traditional post at this stage. She established position deep & early, has soft hands, transitions up the court extremely well, has range out to 15 feet, solid paint moves, including but not limited to sweet left & right hand baby hooks.

2021 - Mae Afoa (Sandy, Utah) 6'1" Post - Mae has a strong frame and loves contact. Occasionally rushes her shot, but does have a nice touch from the short corner area. She is extremely vocal, plays with passion, and gets rebounds in & out of her area. She has alot of upside!

2019 - Danyale Thomas (Clinton, Utah) 5'3' Guard - I love this kids motor. Her number one asset is she can flat out shoot the rock. She can get it off quickly and has some serious range! The best shooter at the event. Her handles are solid, she has a good IQ, and defends her position well.

2021 Halle Duft (South Weber, Utah) 5'6" Point Guard - You look up point guard and Halle's picture is probably next to the defintion. She is a quiet leader. She has a nice handle, keeps defenders off balance by changing speeds, but is decisive when she attacks. She controls the pace, shot the ball well, and uses her outstanding vision to make plays for others. A consumate point guard.

2021 Teya Fulkerson (West Valley City, Utah) 5'6" Point Guard - This kid has lots of potential. Presently her athleticism, speed and overall IQ are her greatest strengths. She pushes the tempo offensively, then pressures the ball defensively. Occasionally her shot is flat, but still reliable. She will need to work on her shot preparation and release to get it off over bigger defenders in the future. She is a really good player with lots of potential! One of the most likeable players I've ever come across. Plays fast, hard, under control, and does it all with a huge smile.

2023 Daija Hutchins (West Valley City, Utah) - 5'1" Point Guard - She is pure joy to watch! She is tenacious, quick and fearless!  Routinely beating players to the ball! Consistently outrunning players on the break. She attacks bigger defenders, has a deceptively quick & high release, which allows her to finish inside.  Her effort, speed, motor and fearless style makes her one to keep a eye on.

2021 Averie Romander (Farr West, Utah) 5'8" Guard - Averie is a attacker! She is physical, splits defenders well, then explodes off two feet regularly to control her body with quality finishes upon contact!  She is rugged, rebounds out of her area, and when that ball is in the air, she goes for it with strong hands. If she improves her range, she will be that much tougher to deal with.