Class of 2019: The Shorter, The Better?


Posted On: 08/22/18 9:18 PM

The Hoosier state has always been well-known for its quality of basketball, and more importantly, for its strong guard play, good decision-makers, and accurate perimeter shooters.  Indiana’s Class of 2019 does not disappoint with capable lead guards, including the likes of Shaila Beeler (Indiana), Carissa Garcia (Northern Kentucky), and Sydney Freeman (Ball State), just to name a few.  But I feel there are several other nice guards who are both literally and figuratively overlooked due to their size.  Below are five such guards who just happen to be short in stature but not in ability.   Addisyn Blackwell, 2019, 5-3 PG, Bloomington H.S. South Addy is a strong, tough-nosed, and feisty point guard prospect with really good quickness and shiftiness to her game.  Her handle has really improved over the last couple of years, and she does a nice job of creating space with the dribble so she can get shots off against taller defenders.  She’s definitely a capable perimeter shooter, but she’s done a much better job this past calendar year of getting her teammates involved.  She has a real knack for finding her teammates on time / on target, and she’s one of the better post feeders in this class…a truly lost art in the game.  With teammate Laurel Leal (2018) missing much of the season due to an injury, Addy really stepped up and earned a spot aboard Indiana’s Junior All-Star Team.  She catapulted that into a really nice grassroots season, picking up a lot of interest from a handful of Division I and Division II schools.  In the end, I think she’s a really nice ballplayer with a solid feel for the position, she’s just a shorter kid.   Savaya Brockington, 2019, 5-3 PG, North Central H.S. (Indianapolis) Savaya exploded during the 2017-2018 high school season and put herself “on the map”.  With top-rated classmate Ricki Harris missing several games due to injury, Savaya stepped up in a big way, averaging 15.8 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.7 steals per game for one of the top high school programs in the state.  She was then voted to Indiana’s Junior All-Star Team because of her stellar play.  While she is a shorter guard, she is strong, tough-nosed and extremely quick / fast.  She can get to the rim and finish, or she can create space and comfortably bury jumpers with range to about 25-feet.  She can also be an absolute terror defensively on opposing ball-handlers.  She’s definitely a Division I talent, and she was putting together a nice grassroots season, but she unfortunately tore her ACL during the Spring, so her recruiting and availability for this coming season are now an uncertainty. [caption id="attachment_10339" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Savaya Brockington - Indianapolis North Central H.S.
Photo courtesy of[/caption]   Gracie Johnson, 2019, 5-1 PG, Martinsville H.S. I thoroughly enjoy watching Gracie play every time she takes the floor.  She is definitely of the toughest, feistiest kids in Indiana, and she plays with a motor that never stops.  She has good speed and extreme quickness, plus she’s highly skilled with the ball in her hands.  I think she combines the ability to manage an offense with knowing when and how to attack the defense very well.  I also think she does a nice job of understanding her size limitations and plying within her physical capabilities.  Defensively she can also disrupt a game, as she gets under opposing ball-handlers and frustrates them into making their own mistakes.  She had a solid grassroots season, picking up some really nice small college interest.  With the graduation of Indiana All-Star Kayana Traylor (Purdue), look for Gracie to take the reins as the Artesians’ primary ball-handler in 2018-2019.   Emmery Joseph, 2019, 5-2 PG, Marquette Catholic H.S. Emmery is the epitome of the pass-first, team-first point guard.  Over the years, I’ve seen her control games at times without scoring a single point.  She always seems to have command of her team, she is poised under pressure, she’s aware of situations and tone, and she is in constant communication with her teammates, whether she’s in the game or on the sidelines.  While she isn’t a big-time scorer, she is capable of knocking down an open jumper to keep defenses honest, and she’s a sound, technical defender.  She has been the starting point guard at Marquette since her freshman year, and this past season she helped them to the Class 1A State Championship.  She has solid quickness, some strength, and an unassuming toughness.  The combination of her steady play and high academic standing is gaining the attention of some of the Midwest’s best small colleges.   Jayda Smith, 2019, 5-3 PG, Penn H.S. Jayda is yet another quality guard in this 2019 class.  She has done a lot of work over the years to make her handle incredibly tight, and she always has the ball on a string.  She is quick with it and creates space well to shoot the perimeter jumper, plus she’s good at getting defenders on her hip and using the free throw line as a weapon.  She also has an “old school” portion to her game, she’s willing to be physical, and she can use her strength to post defenders on the perimeter and back her way into more advantageous angles / positions.  Jayda had an adventurous July in 2017.  Due to a family move, she transferred from Fort Wayne’s Bishop Dwenger to Penn.  She also unfortunately tore her ACL that month, causing her to miss the 2017-2018 season at Penn.  I did get a chance to see her multiple times throughout the 2018 grassroots season, and she looked healthy and played well.   Ten additional small guards of note: Lauren Burns, 2019, 5-3 PG, West Noble H.S. Shania Byrd, 2019, 5-3 G, South Bend Riley H.S. Katlyn Cherry, 2019, 5-3 PG, Hebron H.S. Olivia Eddington, 2019, 5-3 PG, Kokomo H.S. Hannah Graft, 2019, 5-2 G, Winchester Community H.S. Staisha Hamilton, 2019, 5-3 G, Anderson H.S. MiKiya Roby, 2019, 5-3 PG, Mishawaka Marian H.S. Jade Shipley, 2019, 5-2 PG, Westfield H.S. Kelcie Thomson, 2019, 5-2 PG, Northfield H.S. Djanae Walker, 2019, 5-3 G, Ben Davis H.S. Header photo of Gracie Johnson - Martinsville H.S.; courtesy of her page.