THE CLASSIC STANDOUTS 2023 (Part One)
The Classic has become one of the premier GBB events during this live session and there was no shortage of talent at the Kentucky Expo Center this past weekend. With 48 different courts and 500+ teams, it’s impossible to see everyone play, but we did our best to catch a variety of different games throughout the tournament. Now it’s time to discuss some of the players that stood out to us in the games we got a chance to watch this past weekend. Let’s start with the 2024 divisions.
2024 Mac Irvin Fire Godfather S40
- Tahj Bloom (2024)
- Bloom is a match-up nightmare for opponents. Excellent size and strength. Runs the floor consistently. Can elevate to grab rebounds or block shots. Strong finisher on both sides of the rim. Determined to come up with the ball, so stays with plays until she does just that. Great drives. Really just as solid as it gets overall.
- Olivia Austin (2024)
- Austin does all of the little things that may or may not show up on the stat sheet. She defends, she makes hustle plays, she crashes the boards hard, she moves without the ball, she makes great passes, etc. Has strong handles and is strong in general. Can score at the rim or by knocking down shots. Solid fakes to get the defense off of their feet.
- Alayna West (2024)
- There was a particular play that West made that has stayed in my head ever since. It looked like the opposing team was about to get an easy layup at the other end of the floor and West came out of nowhere to get the block instead, and that’s the kind of standout player she is. Hustles, has shifty handles, and makes great passes. Can score in creative ways off the dribble.
- Alyvia McCorkle (2026)
- McCorkle may be a 2026, but she plays with the poise of an upperclassman. Strong ball handler, good shot, and tough. Quick handle allows her to get past defenders. Goes after rebounds and runs the floor. High energy.
2024 Legends U S40
- MacKenzie Givens (2024)
- Givens was tough on both ends of the court. Was defending at a high level and consistently ran the floor. Good length. Was really elevating to grab rebounds. Also showed the ability to finish in different ways and using different moves.
- Saniyah Hall (2026)
- Hall was a very impressive young wing. Has strong handles and made great passes. Strong passes with both hands. She has a good shot and can pull up quickly off of the dribble. Was elevating over defense to get good looks.
2024 Example Sports UAA
- Destiny Jackson (2024)
- Quick, shifty PG can do it all. Her hesitations are so effective and make it so hard for the defense to stay in front. Jackson is a 3-level scoring threat who can stop and pop off the dribble or get to the rim. She creates for both herself and her teammates & is a great passer. She’s a tenacious defender as well.
- Ariana Williams (2024)
- Williams has a long, lanky build. The lefty has a good shot that she can knock down inside or outside of the perimeter and she is strong & crafty on her drives. Consistently ran the floor and showed her ball handling skills. Versatility allows her to play and guard multiple positions. Disruptive defender and crashes the boards strong.
2024 Wisconsin Lakers White
- Natalie Kussow (2026)
- Was shocked when I saw Kussow was a 2026 player because she certainly didn’t play like it. She has some deep range on her shot and can finish some really tough shots on both sides of the rim. Strong handles and constantly moved without the ball. She was very active in the passing lanes, coming up with steals or deflections. Also an excellent rebounder because she crashes hard.
- Teagan Mallegni (2024)
- Mallegni has good ball handling skills and was handling heavy pressure really well. Excellent size and strength. Was making really smart decisions with and without the ball. Made really strong passes and had good court vision. Great outside shot. Future Iowa WBB player.
IGB 17U GUAA
- Quinn Eubank, Savannah Gardner, Sophia Gibson, and Alyssa Murphy
- I was hoping I would catch this group more, but I was really watching for the four Kentucky players, and they did not disappoint. Eubank plays so much bigger than what she is (though she has good size and length). Effective inside or out. Been racking up D1 offers this Spring. Gardner is one of the highest motor players around. Just all over the floor and does all of the little things. Great shooter and aggressive drives often lead to her scoring or getting to the line. Gibson has excellent length and size, but also moves so well. Great shot blocker and active defensively. Can finish well inside or stretch the defense with her ability to knock down shots. Plus, she’s only a 2025. Another 2025, Murphy has all the ball handling skills to go along with her scoring abilities. Can knock down shots from anywhere on the court and is crafty on her drives. Makes good passes and applies pressure defensively. Tough all-around.
2024 TN Sol United
- The Young Guns: Lauren Hassell, Marley Spiers, and Aadriana Moses (2027)
- These three 2027 players are going to be stars. Hassell is so long, but has the ability to stretch out to the perimeter. She has great moves on her drives and when she catches the ball down low. Made some super impressive passes including a nasty behind the back pass in transition. Both Hassell and Spiers are strong rebounders and true rim protectors. Spiers moves exceptionally well for someone with her size (strong 6’3” frame). Active and can finish on both sides of the rim. And while they have the size, Moses has the speed and quickness. Was running the point and weaving through traffic with her quick handles. Made it really hard for the defense to stay in front and showed she can finish in the paint or at the rim. Also knocked down outside shots.
- Claire King (2024)
- Strong. Can bring the ball down the floor or play off of the ball. Solid handles. Great shooter.
- Daysha Reid (2025)
- Reid is a very active defender, and she can do a little bit of everything offensively. Good ball handler and can knock down shots straight off the dribble. Very poised and in control. She has a quick release on her shot and can knock them down with good range. Made some excellent drives and finished in creative ways.
- Katy Smiley (2025)
- Knockdown shooter, but also makes strong drives and can finish floaters or layups. Good size. Really solid overall.
2024 Team Ohio – Conner
- Eyra Co (2024)
- Co is a true floor general. She’s strong and can handle the ball even while being pressured. Was consistently ready and willing to make the extra pass to get her teammates better looks. On her drives, she was aggressive and finished strong. She also crashed the boards strong to come up with rebounds.
- Morgan Lyons (2024)
- Lyons quickness stood out. She used her length so well to maneuver through traffic and get to the rim.
- Grace Knowlton (2024)
- Knowlton did a great job of creating off of the dribble. Made some really great passes. Has a quick release and deep range on her shot.
Lady Vision 2024
- NaTajia Alexander (2024)
- This isn’t the first time this Spring that Alexander has stood out to me, which says a lot in itself. However, her scoring is what initially caught my eye at Hoops Mafia’s BOKY and her defense is what I saw first at The Classic. She was applying excellent pressure defensively and getting into the passing lanes as well. Offensively, she was making aggressive drives to the hoop and showing her ability to knock down pull-up jumpers quickly. Even when pressured, she was poised with the ball.
- Mary *Leandra* Curnutte (2024)
- Curnutte has the qualities you want from your point guard. She has a high IQ and sees the floor extremely well. She also is a strong ball handler and passer. She can throw through traffic and she throws them directly to the spot she wants the ball to go. When she doesn’t have the ball in her hands, she does a great job of cutting and moving to the gaps on the floor. Knocked down multiple outside shots and made strong drives to get to the rim.
- Bella Deere (2024)
- Long and excellent shooter. Can get her shot off quickly and has a high release. Made great fakes to get past defense. Strong drives and finishes at the rim.
- Rachel Shropshire (2024)
- Long and very active. Runs the floor consistently. Really disruptive defensively. Can finish well around the basket, but also can stretch out to the perimeter. Good drives to get into paint or to rim. Finished in a variety of ways.
- Nadine Johnson (2024)
- Only saw a very small glimpse because of an injury but stood out in those couple of minutes. Great defense. Smart player. Plays hard. Solid handles and makes good passes.
2024 Michigan Mystics S40 Ruh
- Reese Gaytan (2024)
- Gayton has good size and strength, but she plays even bigger than what she is. Really works to get her buckets. Makes strong moves to get around the defense. Finishes through contact. Relentless rebounder. Good passer. Strong defensively.
- Mara Mitchell (2024)
- Mitchell is a quick and crafty PG. Makes it really hard for defenders to stay in front. Once she gets a step on her defender, she can score in a variety of ways. Finished strong at the rim, knocked down pull-up jumpers, and finished floaters. So fast running the floor.
- Lilly Williams (2026)
- There’s a reason Williams is so effective even playing up two divisions. Extremely long and active. Strong shot blocking skills. Doesn’t just rely on length to grab rebounds but will also elevate to grab them. Great catches and finishes around the basket. Solid moves to separate from defense.
Louisville Legends 2024
- Alana Smith (2024)
- Wish I could’ve watched more than a few minutes from this group, but Smith looked extremely tough in the glimpse I got of them. She was so solid on both ends of the court. Tough drives to the basket often resulted in her scoring or getting to the free throw line. She was crashing the boards strong and really showing her potential.