2016 The Tamika Catchings Shootout Recap

This year the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis, Indiana, was filled with many memorable moments: records were broken and historical highlights were made for the archives. Final Four weekend provided inspiring events for young girls and women. There was an atmosphere that compelled everyone to look forward to the future of women's sports.

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Tamika Catchings is the epitome of this inspiration for girls basketball. Her upcoming retirement will leave an enormous void in the WNBA. While we hate to see her exit the hardwood, hanging up her basketball sneakers, her departure also provides another pathway for her youth organization and for girls who are eager to learn from one of the best to ever play professional women's basketball.

This was the first year for the Tamika Catchings Shootout, and what a great event it was. The tournament was hosted at Warren Central High School, an organized 3 court facility with warm staff hospitality. Both Middle and High School girls travel teams competed in front of National Evaluators, DII and DIII College Coaches. I was highly impressed with the talent and exhibition of heart on the court. I believe that events like this bring more visibility and add value to the importance of team sports. As these increase, we will witness a phenomenal growth in the game, girls will develop, and the level of competition will rise to its highest peak ever.

The presence of key WNBA players and staff were important components of the event. Brianna January and Natalie Achonwa with the Indiana Fever, Tamera Young with the Chicago Sky and coaching staff member Carlos Knox shared their stories and struggles. Their openness and authenticity helped connect the league to the community.

Tamika's integrity and passion for education and inclusion touches the heart of everyone who attends her events. She teaches from her experience and the girls are receptive to her knowledge. It was a wonderful event for all and I am excited to watch it expand like wildfire in the future.

Photo Credit: Indiana Fever Twitter

Below are some of my player highlights from the High School Division.

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Baylor Basketball 9th/10th Grade girls - Merrillville, IN

Precious Browning- Very athletic player who finishes at the basket. She has an uptempo game and pushes the ball well in transition. Body contact doesn't affect her in fact she plays excellent by using it she did a great job reading the defense and getting draw and kick out movements on the court.

Shelby Harmon - Also a finisher at the basket, does a good job off of the pick n roll. I love her energy and aggressiveness on the court, lots of upside.

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Team Brandan Wright Black 9th/10th Grade Girls- Nashville , TN

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Kaia Upton - Handles the ball well and under control, she will use her le hand to complete layups on the left side, she is an athletic guard who can also take shots when she is open.

Chelsea Burton - She is aggressive when attacking the basket making her defender have to choose to dig in and guard her. She is a shooter, can finish on left side of the basket and does a good job utilizing floater runners.

Kenedi Hambrick - She has good court vision and makes the right passes at the right