Indiana girls basketball: Class of 2018 standouts from first July evaluation period

Brandon Bradley
Special to IndyStar
Left to right: Emily Kiser, Angel Baker and Teagan Parker.

During July, basketball players around the state with college aspirations showcase their talents in various “live” events where college coaches of all levels are able to evaluate them. Girls basketball players have two seven-day periods in July, while the boys get three five-day weekends. As the boys around the state began play July 12, the girls were wrapping up their first week of action.

Scouting Indiana (@ScoutingINGirls) spent time at TFN’s Run 4 Roses Classic in Louisville, USJN’s Midwest Premier Showcase in Westfield and Noblesville, USJN’s Indy 100 in Westfield and the IBCA’s Top-100 Showcase in Indianapolis. Below is a look at some of the players who stood out at these four specific events:

• MORE: Impressions of Indiana's Class of 2019

• MORE: July impressions of the 2020 class

• MORE: Scouting report on 2021 class

Class of 2018

Angel Baker, 5-7, G, Pike

Pike guard Angel Baker

Angel has had an outstanding year, but her play this month has really drawn the eye of several Division I coaches. She has good length, athleticism and explosiveness in all directions, and she’s doing a nice job of both distributing the ball and being able to score it consistently at all three levels. The one thing probably overlooked with her is that she can be an elite defender when motivated. She’s a nice, versatile guard who should help lead Pike deep in the tournament again this coming season.

Mackenzie Blazek, 6-2, C, Whiteland

Whiteland's Mackenzie Blazek

While the game seems to be trending away from the traditional post player, there are a select few who are able to control a game from the interior. Mackenzie is one of those players. She is highly efficient scoring the ball around the low-block, and she’s quite the presence defensively with her size and length. She has really expanded her game in the last year as well, and is starting to get comfortable facing the basket at 15-feet. Plus, she can put it on the floor one to two dribbles and get somewhere. She has already given a verbal commitment to the University of Illinois.

Nia Clark, 5-8, G, Ben Davis

Ben Davis' Nia Clark

Nia is a kid who seemed to turn a corner a year ago, as she exploded on the scene in terms of her recruiting. Somehow this July she’s managed to take off yet again. She is strong and athletic and plays with a tremendous motor. She is an explosive scorer who has a beautiful shot with range beyond the arc, and she can attack the basket and finish around the rim. She rarely wastes dribbles and is highly efficient.  Defensively she is solid and uses her strength and quickness well.

Merideth Deckard, 5-4, G, Martinsville

If you were asked to name a guard from Martinsville, most people would mention Kayana Traylor first. However, Deckard should not be overlooked. She is a tough-nosed, strong and physical guard who can really shoot the basketball from the perimeter. If she has time and space to get her feet set, it is going in every time. She plays with a very good motor, even a feistiness to her, and she is a willing defender. I just really like the intangible things she brings to the game to help her team succeed.

Toni Grace, 5-6, G, Fishers

Fishers' Toni Grace

Toni is one of those prospects who is sort of hiding in the weeds and some college is going to be really excited when she chooses them. She is a very athletic guard who does a little of everything well. She can hit shots from the perimeter, but she has a lot of shake to her game, and she regularly beats her defender and gets into the lane. From there she has a solid feel for the game and can find teammates, plus she’s able to score among the trees. Defensively she’s talented enough to be a nice defender at the next level.

Emily Kiser, 6-2, F, Noblesville

Noblesville's Emily Kiser

Emily is a unique combination of size, skill and mobility. She was always taller than her peers growing up, but she also consistently worked on her perimeter skill. Heading into her senior year, she’s a kid who can use her strong frame and post smaller mismatches, or she can draw bigger defenders away from the rim by consistently knocking down shots as deep as the 3-point line. Defensively she’s versatile, as she can guard true posts or pick-and-pop forwards. She recently gave a verbal commitment to the University of Michigan.

Lauren Leal, 5-6, PG, Bloomington South

Lauren is a traditional point guard who always has her team organized. She commands her team offensively by calling out offenses and sets, and she makes sure they’re all in position. But she is also there to pick up her teammates and encourage them during dead balls. She is a good perimeter shooter, and she’s a feisty defender. She missed last year with a knee injury, but returned this season and was having an outstanding spring and summer before unfortunately suffering yet another knee injury this past week.

Payton Moore, 5-11, F, Tri

Tri's Payton Moore

Several of you have heard of Tri-Central, and a few of you have probably heard of Tri-County, but not many people have heard of Tri High School. Payton is one reason for small colleges to find it on the map. Payton is a long, fluid, and somewhat bouncy forward. She plays with a very good motor and is a highly productive front-liner. She can post up some, but she’s much better playing in the mid-post, hitting the 15-footer, and attacking the basket from there. With a little more strength on her frame, she could be a very nice college player.

Anna Newman, 5-1, PG, Evansville North

Evansville North's Anna Newman

Anna is a tiny player who packs one of the biggest punches. She is tremendously skilled with the ball in her hands, she consistently gets by all types of defenders and attacks the lane, and she can distribute or score inside. She is a good perimeter shooter, but she’s really good at one-dribble and two-dribble pull-ups. She just frustrates opponents in every way. Even at her diminutive size, she’s already drawn a couple of Division I offers, in addition to a great deal of Division II and NAIA interest. If you want to be thoroughly entertained, be sure to watch her sometime.

Jessica Nix, 5-7, F, Martinsville

Martinsville's Jessica Nix

Jessica quickly became one of my favorite players to watch when she entered high school, and she’s done nothing to change that opinion. While she might not be the tallest player for how she plays, she plays the right way. She’s incredibly tough, physical and athletic. She plays with maybe the best motor of any girl I’ve seen in the 2018 class, and she is willing to dive on the floor, take charges and do whatever it takes to win. She’s a very good mid-range scorer and is comfortable around the perimeter, but all-in-all she’s just a position-less ballplayer.

Cali Nolot, 5-7, G, North Harrison

North Harrison's Cali Nolot

Some of you might remember Cali from the 27-point, 10-rebound performance she put up against South Bend Saint Joseph in the Class 3A state championship game at the end of February. Cali is a nice athlete with very good length. She can play off the ball and knock down shots or score by attacking the rim, but she can also handle it well enough to slide over and run the point when necessary. Defensively she plays with good energy, and she often affects the passing lanes with her length. She’s just a nice, all-around ballplayer.

Teagan Parker, 5-9, F, West Lafayette

West Lafayette's Teagan Parker

Teagan is a player I had seen several times before July, and she was always a nice mid-post forward, but this month she has taken her game to another level. When I saw her in the spring, she was most comfortable inside of 15-feet, but now she’s hitting perimeter jumpers, attacking the basket and getting out on the floor defensively and taking on guards regularly. She is also an extremely long, very fluid athlete. She has quickly turned herself into a nice college prospect with her play in July.

Madison Potts, 6-1, C, Franklin Central

Madison is a solidly built, true back-to-the-basket post player. She has broad shoulders, good length, and she has nice upside to continue developing a great deal even after she gets to college. She runs the floor well, has decent hands in the low-post and will play hard. She even showed an improved mid-post game this past week. If she can continue getting stronger and finishing through contact, she has a chance to be a really nice college player. Defensively she has always been a shot-blocking presence.

Meghan Urbanski, 5’6, PG, Mishawaka Marian

Meghan has always been a solid and savvy point guard prospect, but this month she has really stepped up her game and played even more consistently. She is a strong guard, physical at times, and can run offense or knock down rhythm perimeter jumpers. As a point guard, she’s more of a game manager who does a nice job of directing the offense and taking care of the ball, but lately she’s starting to look like a more determined scorer.

Sarah Vas, 5-7, G, Northwestern

If Sarah did one thing this past week, it was prove to college coaches that she’ll always come to work. She is a tough-nosed athlete, has some length, but most importantly, is relentless at both ends of the floor. She has consistently defended hard, dove on the floor for loose balls and knocked down open jumpers when left alone. I’m not sure anyone has played as consistently as she has, and it all starts with her mindset and effort. She also did a nice job of taking care of the ball and occasional playing a little point guard.

Abby Wahl, 6-1, C, Heritage Hills

Abby is a strong, physical and aggressive front-liner who plays with a great motor. She has a soft touch and can consistently knock down the 15-footer, but she's at her best when she’s just in attack mode around the low-block. She can be unstoppable at times down there, and her steady play at Eastern Illinois University’s team camp in June earned her an offer from the Panthers’ new coaching staff. She then turned around and verbally committed to them.

Kyra Whitaker, 5-6, G, Greensburg

Look for Greensburg to be one of the top teams in Class 3A this season, and a lot of that will be attributed to the play of Kyra. She is a long, athletic and active guard for the Pirates. She is a very good perimeter shooter, with range well-beyond the arc, but she’s also good at getting by defenders and scoring in the paint. She handles the ball solidly, and can play the point guard spot as well, but her ability to score it consistently is what makes her a nice prospect.

Nola Wilson, 5-4, G, Tindley

Tindley was the highest scoring team in the state during the 2016-2017 season, and Nola was one of their top scorers. She is a quick-on-quick guard who moves explosively in all directions. She can hit shots from the perimeter, but she’s also fast to the basket and can finish inside. She has a decent handle, but I think with her mentality to score it, she is more of a 2-guard than a point. I really like her energy and effort, and I think despite her size she could be a really nice college player.