Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A big year for Jazmon, who's not back and JMU schedule details, all from Coach Kenny Brooks












While Kirby and Nikki have moved on, there's still plenty of reason to be optimistic about the 2014-15 version of James Madison. We caught up with Kenny Brooks, who's in the middle of a move to a new house, and he shared some thoughts.

First, we asked about the move and Brooks admitted he's an HGTV junkie (all this time we thought he was watching hoops . . .). He's lived in Harrisonburg 17 years, and this is his fourth move with a fifth to follow shortly. The old house sold in two days and the Brooks family is in temporary housing, looking to build with an eye toward downsizing. "As long as I have my man cave, I'm OK," he said. Remember, in addition to wife Chrissy, Kenny shares his digs with daughters Kendyl, Chloe and Gabby.

Jazmon
As for the the Duke women, we asked who's had the best summer, and of course, he's impressed by all, offering these specifics on a few.  "At the top it has to be (Jazmon) Gwathmey," he said. "Her work ethic is on par with the Nikkis and the Kirbys and the Dawns and the Tameras."

JMU fans will love to hear about her developing three-point shooting prowess (she was 10-of-33
from behind the arc last season). "If Dawn and Kirby are 1 and 1A, she's probably B," Brooks said. "We had a workout this spring, which was probably one of the most impressive showcase performances I've ever seen."

Brooks had her attempt 25 treys after a workout.

"She made 23 of them," he said. "She's gotten stronger. She's put on some weight. She probably weighs 168, 170. I'm really excited about what's she's going to be able to do this year."

On Precious Hall: "She's has been tremendous, taking more of a leadership role. I think she's going to be a little bit more off the ball this year because of (Angela) Mickens' role. I think she's going to have a fantastic year as well."

On Toia Giggetts: "She has really blossomed as a player here so much so that we've gone out recruiting based on Toia's performance. As she's an undersized post player, normally, I would have been hesitant to take them, but now we compare them to Toia, and if they compare relatively, we think they can do it. She's probably going to be more of a go-to player than last year."

Da'Lishia
Look for 6-2 sophomore forward Da'Lishia Griffin to gain minutes. "She came on tremendously in February. She actually broke the rotation a little bit and played over a couple of kids. We went with her because she's got a high basketball IQ, tremendous hands, soft touch around the basket and rebounds well. She needed to get in shape, and it took her a while. It was very reminiscent of Toia's freshman year."

They have newbies -- freshmen 6-foot forward Carley Brew, 5-10 guard Hailee Barron and 5-7 guard Candice Williams -- but they are likely to play behind a pretty experienced group, even with the loss of Burkholder and Newman.

On a side note, 6-2 Beverly Ogunrinde (who averaged a double-double for Pallotti High in Laurel, Md., is not on the roster, going the junior college route in New York instead, a mutual decision, Brooks said. Senior Crystal Ross is also not back, focusing on academics with plans to graduate in May. (We noted in an earlier post that Amani Tatum has transferred to Manhattan College and incoming transfer Allysia Rohlehr has opted not to play college ball due to number of concussions.)

All this talk of players makes us anticipate the season and Brooks gave us a peek at the schedule, which includes a home opener against UCLA, St. Bonaventure, American, Pitt, Maryland (in Puerto Rico where they'll have Houston, too), Richmond, Ohio, Hampton and Vandy before the CAA slate.

Closing it off, we asked about Kirby and Nikki, kids Brooks has known since they were 10. The future looks fun for both. Kirby is set to play in Italy for Italian A1 League based in Orvieto (she'll love the shopping), and Nikki, on the JMU staff as assistant director of operations, is going to sit alongside David Taylor for Dukes broadcasts. Nikki will be doing color, a good fit for her zany personality. (Also look or rather, hear her voice for "Inside the Huddle" on the JMU website.)

One more question, Coach? Is it time to tip off the season yet? Can't wait to see these Dukes!

Monday, August 18, 2014

ODU loses recruit to junior college

Gilmore on Senior Night
Point guard Auteaonna Gilmore, who had committed to Old Dominion, will instead attend Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., according to the All-Star Girls Report.

Gilmore, whose height is listed anywhere between 5-6 and 5-9 depending on the source, graduated from Capitol Christian High in Landover, Md. and was a three-star recruit, according to ESPN.com. The Fort Washington (Md) native played AAU ball for the Fairfax Stars.

Chipola, a junior college in the Florida panhandle, is coming off its best season in school history, finishing 33-2 with a loss in the national semifinals.

Prior to her senior year, Gilmore attended Riverdale Baptist High, and had she attended ODU, she would have been reunited with Jennie Simms, an alum of that high school. Simms and Gilmore played together on a nationally ranked Riverdale team.

Simms, a transfer from West Virginia who will be eligible for the coming season, leads what has been ranked as the top recruiting class in Conference USA. In addition to incoming freshman Maia Lee, a 6-3 forward, and Keyana Brown, a 5-11 guard, 6-2 forward Annika Holopainen will be eligible to play for the Lady Monarchs.

Monday, August 11, 2014

JMU's Dawn (Evans) on Dawn: "Hollywood, here I come!"






LadySwish caught up with James Madison great Dawn Evans, who's recovering nicely from kidney surgery. She hasn't ruled out a return in basketball (and yes, Dawn, there is a Filipino national team!), but at the moment, she's Cali bound, pursuing that acting itch (remember, she was a child star). Her are Dawn's words about life as she knows it, and as always, LadySwish thanks her for sharing.


Burbank is where I will be taking classes at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles/ Burbank. It's strange because when I was applying to the school, the housing complex that they use is actually the exact complex I lived in as a child pursuing acting, Oakwood Corporate Housing. But I still haven't decided if I want to live there yet, although the students of the school get discounted prices. My plan is actually to move to California in an apartment with Keyla Snowden, who played at the University of Kentucky; we will be roommates, but until we find the perfect apartment I will live with people I know for the first couple weeks. 

BUT . . . I haven't completely ruled out basketball. This is just me making the most of what was a difficult situation, and honestly it's been perfect timing. My dad got stationed in Clarksville back almost 23 years ago, and my family has been in Tennessee ever since, away from all our extended family but since recently, my mom has joined my dad and they are now both retired. My family is moving back to their home in Texas. Austin Texas specifically, extremely soon, like with weeks soon, My brother and nephew will still be in Tennessee but most likely not Clarksville, and I am moving to LA which is perfect timing really and I get to take advantage of this time off recovering. 

Which, back to the basketball -- I am doing and well. Things are great. It's only been almost four and a half months, and my kidney health is nearly perfect, thanks to my cousin and Vanderbilt :). Your body is most prone to rejection within the first year, and I want to maintain this blessing for as long as possible, I don't want to push things too soon. Yes, I am working out -- that's just in my blood, but I'm not pushing professional basketball player workouts anytime soon. Even though when I get in the gym, it's hard to maintain myself. I want to be the old D, running and shooting and it feeling great without missing a beat! I know in due time. Right now I'm working out, staying tone, and headed back to LA, this time feeling great about it because I don't have basketball hanging over my head, because it's just not an option right now.


I compare it to any other major basketball injury except I've seen people recover from common knee injuries, and returning to basketball is hard especially with all the lateral movement. Yes, I have this big war wound on my right side, but once that incision healed, the rest of my body felt ready for another season. I can't say though that I'm not keeping myself in a position where in the next five months I could be prepared for a contract somewhere nice in Europe, Asia, maybe South America. My agent is always locked and loaded for that -- that man has done magic for my situation in keeping people completely understanding of my health with their misperception of my not being able to play due to people just not understanding. Maybe France, I loved it mostly there, but anywhere with good basketball and where I can stay safe with all the madness in Europe right now. And because I have the capability to get a Filipino passport (currently in the process of that),  it would be nice to just play there as a citizen or on a national team if they even have one. But in the meantime, I'll be in LA, doing what I've loved even before basketball. 

Imagine that.

Yours, 

Dawn

Monday, August 4, 2014

Who's gone from your favorite team? Check out our findings

The transfer carousel is in full motion, and we've tracked as many as we can. Are we missing someone? Email us with info at ladyswishing@hotmail.com.

Otherwise, here's what we've come up with so far about who's gone, gone, gone from 2014-15 rosters. (Richmond and William and Mary, all present and accounted for; Hampton has no official roster available yet.)

George Mason

Char-Dell Dunningan: the 6-2 sophomore, who saw limited action, is no longer on the roster.
Brittany Jackson: the 5-7 sophomore who averaged five minutes and 2.5 ppg last season is no longer on the roster.
Dominique Dawson: the little-used 6-foot senior from Baltimore is no longer on the roster.
Denisha Petty-Evans: the 5-9 sophomore from New Jersey, who started three games, has transferred to Siena.
Christine Weithman: Has not played the last two seasons and will not return following hip surgery.

Hampton

Sade King: the tiny guard from New York, who played in just 15 games and scored a total of 32 points for the season, is at Division II University of New Haven.

Allysia
James Madison

Allysia Rohlehr: We were eager to see the 5-9 guard, a transfer from Pensacola Junior College, but one too many concussions has ended her basketball career.
Amani Tatum: the 5-7 guard from New York who saw little time with the Dukes will play at Manhattan College.
Crystal Ross: the 6-3 center, who averaged seven minutes her junior year, will not play this season.

Liberty
Moriah Begin: the 5-7 guard, who scored just eight points as a freshman, is no longer on the roster.

Longwood
Jessica Parker: the 6-2 junior, who didn't play her first two years and scored eight points last season, is no longer on the roster.


Norfolk State
Logan Powell: All-Rookie MEAC team, the 6-foot forward who started six games, returns close to home to play for Kentucky State (love the nickname Thorobrettes).
Janel Cannon: the 5-8 sophomore, who played in 12 games, is no longer on the roster
Quineshia Leonard: the 6-1 senior, who averaged 5.6 ppg and 5.9 rpg, will not play her senior year.


Old Dominion

Shae Kelley: the Lady Monarchs leader in nearly every category will finish out her collegiate career at Minnesota under new coach Marlene Stollings, the former VCU coach. We spoke with Shae in-depth about the decision in May. 

Radford

While all three are gone from the Highlanders, a decision the players say was not theirs, we can only find info on one.

Paris Brower: Averaged.  0.9 ppg; now at Division II Mount Olive
De'June Robinson: Averaged 8.2 minutes and 1.2 ppg.
Kermisha Clark: Started 11 games and averaged 5.4 ppg
LaShe Walker: Will remain a student at Radford, though not returning to team for medical reasons.


VCU
Jessica Pellechio: VCU's major loss is Drexel's gain. The 5-6 sophomore guard averaged 9.1 ppg, made five starts and shot .348 from behind the arc.
Amber McCann: the senior, who made one start as a junior, is no longer on the roster.

Virginia

Amanda Fioravanti: Transferred to St. Joseph's after one semester.
Raeshaun Gaffney: the highly touted redshirt freshman guard, who averaged 11.1 minutes and 3.1 ppg, is headed back home to play for Xavier.

Raeshaun
Virginia Tech

Lauren Evans: the junior, who saw her playing time fall off last year, will play for Niya Butts at Arizona.
Serafina Maulupe: last year's backup point guard is headed closer to home to play at Cal State Northridge.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getting to know VCU Coach Beth O'Boyle




















Minus the spotty cell phone reception, nice to chat with new Virginia Commonwealth Coach Beth O'Boyle. We learned a lot about the Rams, though what has us most excited is the prospect of O'Boyle cooking breakfast for us one day (we hear she does a terrific job with that French toast. Can we get scrambled eggs with that?).

They'll be no more Fury this year (at least as far as a nickname, players' decision) and there's a few new faces -- Auburn transfer Chadarryl Clay and junior college transfer Ashley Pegram, and of course, O'Boyle, who, in April, took over for Marlene Stollings, now the head coach at Minnesota.

This much we know. They'll be plenty fit, that's for sure (check out Runnin' with the Rams. . . .)

Tell us what's cool about living in Richmond

One thing that stands out to me is how nice everybody is. I'm living in the city and so is most of my staff and everywhere we go, everybody is so nice. I'm really excited about VCU. Anytime they find out I'm the basketball coach, people here talk about the school and the athletic department in a great way. It's really exciting to be a part of it. If I could only sell my condo in New York, I'd be really happy!

Given all the youth on VCU, how did you get all the kids to buy in?

That's one of the things our staff takes a lot of pride in -- building relationships with the players and getting them excited about what we're trying to do One of the things we talked about early was ownership. They really have been so excited about things. I think they're excited to play some man-to-man and really uptempo offense. They've really enjoyed how we've done the practices so far. We do a lot of individual skills. Our workouts over the summer are all one-on-one with a specific coach. They really have seen their skills get better. That's really helped with buy-in.

We try to do a lot of stuff off the court, so we're spending a ton of time with them. That really helps. We call them team challenges, and once a week we, with our strength coaches, come up with something that challenges them as a team but off of the court. They've gone on a fun monument run through the city, so they got a bit of history and a good workout. We've put them in situations where they have to communicate to accomplish something.

We had our French toast breakfast at my apartment and a corn hole tournament. That's the only thing I'm able to cook, but they've been having fun with it.

This week we have our first session with the Navy SEALS. I'm really interested to see how that's going to go. Coach (Shaka) Smart has talked really highly about it. He did it last year. It's teambuilding, and we're doing it really early in the morning. It helps to create team identity, and they get to hear it from different voices than the coaches'.

Coaches often take over struggling programs. What's it like taking over a winning program (VCU finished 22-10 last year and advanced to the WNIT)?

At Stony Brook I took over a team that was probably one of the bottom ones of Division I, and I went through that. It's different at VCU. They had a great season last year and got that first taste of going to postseason and playing in the WNIT. We're really focusing on building a culture and a program. We want our players to get after it in the classroom.

Talk about the offseason your players have put in.

Chad Clay
Adaeze (Alaeze) has put in a great summer. I think she's going to be a bigger scoring player for us this year than she has been in the past. She's been working really hard -- same for Camille (Calhoun) and Isis (Thorpe). You're going to see them in different roles. It's great to see Kei (Robinson) back. She had a great freshman year and she's going to have the ball in her hands a lot. Chad Clay is the transfer from Auburn, and she's eligible to play. She brings a good element to the team.

Keira had decided to transfer to Charlotte but a change of heart made her return to VCU. What's it like having her back? 

The thing about Kei is she's so responsible and a really great person. She might have been homesick, and it was the end of the year and things might have been difficult, so to be honest, she didn't miss anything. She didn't miss practices or summer school. Like a lot of teenagers, you realize once you go home that you really miss what you had. That was the case with her. The one thing that's great with this team is they're really close, and she missed her teammates. We're really excited to have her back.

Tell us about Ashley Pegram (the 5-8 guard from Richmond's Meadowbrook High School comes in as a sophomore, after a year at Chesapeake Junior College in Wye Mills, Md. She was a first-team NJCAA All-American, averaging 23.1 ppg, 6.8 rig and 4.1 apg.)

She's a great addition to our program. She's our first local recruit from Richmond. She's a really fast, athletic guard who does a great job getting to the rim. Athletically, she's going to do well for us. She's always wanted to play for VCU and was really excited that she had the opportunity to.

And your new big is Curteeona Brelove (6-2 freshman from tiny Malone, Fla., population 2,000-plus a little)

She is from the hills of Florida. She's country strong from chasing the goats and life on the farm. But if you're looking at us, we're pretty small. We don't have a lot of size and I think Curteeona is going to help us in that area. She's getting used to the pace of college basketball, especially the pace we want to play at. But she's got good hands and the ability to score and definitely will help us in the post.

Did you feel you had to convince this team that you were going to hang around as a coach (Stolling departed VCU after two seasons for the Minnesota job.)

Lots of VCU fans and people have asked me that. It's the perfect job for me. My family is two hours away. I think my mom thought it was her press conference; she was so excited! When you're looking at great women's jobs, you want to be where there is good high school basketball. And Richmond has terrific high school basketball as does the Richmond area and D.C. The A-10 is really a premier basketball league. You have three teams that went to the NCAAs on the women's side and six on the men's side. You're not competing with football. And people at VCU care about athletics. I can't imagine being at a better place. I'm not thinking about the next move. This is a great move.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So, how was YOUR summer?

Hey, guys. Hope everyone's had a kick-butt summer. We'd love to know how everyone is doing, and we're trying to make our blog more interactive, particularly with players. So if you have a spare moment or two, we'd appreciate it if you would jot down responses to these easy-to-digest questions and send them to ladyswishing@hotmail.com for a soon-to-be-posted blog entry.

Thanks in advance, and enjoy what's left of the break!

The questions:

1. What aspect of your game have you worked on/improved the most this offseason?

2. Most fun thing you've done this summer?

3. Summer guilty pleasure (overdosing on mom's cooking, multiple viewings of a bad TV show, a "One Direction" fetish, something along these lines)?

4. Best movie you've seen this summer, and why did you enjoy it so much?

5.. Favorite Robin Williams movie/show/special?


Monday, July 7, 2014

Catching up with the Tribe at the Seven Cities Pro-Am



Jazmon
A Sunday afternoon at Norfolk's Maury High School allowed LadySwish to catch up with the Tribe -- at least part of William and Mary, as we watched senior Jazmon Boone and sophomores Brooke Stewart and Alexis Hofstaedter play in the Seven Cities Pro Am Hampton Roads (apologies, Latrice Hunter. We saw you play a nice game, but did not get a chance to chat).

Anyway, always good to see some of our favorite players in action and hear their thoughts. Here's what we learned.

On second-year coach Ed Swanson:

"He's pretty intense," Boone said. "Those are the best words to describe him. He gets the most out of us."

And his mantra?

"Energy and effort."

Most coaches have a few lines they say over and over again, and the Tribe leader is no different. Among his pet Swanson-isms:

Brooke
"In my 22 years of basketball, never have I had ....(fill in the blank)."

Boone also does a keen impression of him in a crouched position.

While we asked the W&M players what was going to be different this coming season (Tribe finished 8-21 last season), we knew one
thing already. This is the first time Tribe players have been regular participants in the summer league (Marlena Tremba, Kyla Kerstetter and Alex Masaquel are others on rosters). All seem confident the offseason action will help.

"We play pickup as a team all the time, but it's against each other, so there's only so much you can do because you learn how everyone plays," Stewart said. "You cheat the game in a way, so this kind of keeps you honest. For me we had our end-of-year meetings and gave us assignments on what we need to do and mine was to play."

We quizzed them each about the best part of W&M (not necessarily a basketball question).....

"Southern hospitality," offered Hofstaedter, from Richboro, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia (and by the way, she prefers Pat's to Geno's).

"I love my teammates," Stewart said. "They're my best friends. I've been on teams when it's not like that."

"The academics," Boone said. "I appreciate the academics. It keeps you on your toes for staying disciplined and prepares you for life. You don't just go to school and play basketball. You have to manage the rigorous schedule."

By the way, she says Intermediate Economics has been the toughest, and Stewart, who grew up outside of Boston, gives a thumbs up to the off-campus housing. "If I were to live in the house I live in now in Boston, it would be a zillion dollars."

We also learned what a TWAMP is (that'd be a Typical William and Mary Person).

Moving on ..... their summer guilty pleasure is....

"Ice cream," Boone said. "It's so hot. I like FroYo."
Alexis

"I like wings,"Hofstaedter admitted.

"Lay by the pool," chimed in Stewart.

Last question -- a frivolous one, we admit. Where's LeBron gonna go?

"I don't like LeBron," Stewart said, whose loyalties lie with the Celtics and upside-rich forward/center Kelly Olynyk.

Hofstaedter?

Spurs fan.

Never leaving Miami, Boone says.

"No doubt."


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Headed to Seven Cities pro-am? Here's the scoop on who's playin' (lots of ODU, W&M)

W&M's Marlena Tremba


The Seven Cities pro-am is back for its fourth season at Maury High in Norfolk, and how sweet is it to have the Tribe in the mix! Several William and Mary players are on rosters this season, a first, says league organizer James Flood.

"I approach all the local schools every year," he said. William and Mary previously had not showed an interest, but under new coach Ed Swanson, entering his second season, there's plenty of green and gold in Norfolk on the weekends.

We did our best to track down some info on players who have logged minutes so far. The season will continue this weekend at Maury (games continue on July 5 at 1:30 p.m. with the Virginia Lady Supreme vs. Pepsi followed by the Alexander Senators vs. the Virginia Lady Stallions at 2:30. On July 6, it's Optima FamilyHealthcare vs. Talk at 1:30 p.m.) Here's the full schedule.

Here's info on most of the players who have appeared in games so far.

ALEXANDER SENATORS

From Old Dominion
Ije Ajemba: 6-3 sophomore center who played just 56 minutes last season
Keyana Brown: 5-11 freshman guard who scored more than 2,000 points at Williamsburg Christian Academy before transferring to Lafayette High her senior year.
Auteaonna Gilmore: 5-8 freshman point guard  who will be reunited with Jennie Simms at ODU, as the two played together for Riverdale Baptist High from 2010-12. Gilmore played her senior year at Capital Christian Academy.
Maia Lee: 6-3 freshman forward who was a highlight reel at McLean High
Stephanie Gardner: Graduated Lady Monarch who averaged 6.2 ppg as a senior
Ashley Jackson: 5-9 freshman guard from Ridgeway High in Memphis

From William and Mary
Kyla Kerstetter: 5-11 senior started 27 games as a junior and averaged 10.7 ppg
Marlena Tremba: 5-9 sophomore who was the CAA Rookie of the Year last season
Ashley DeLeonibus: 6-3 freshman forward from Bullis High who chose W&M over UMass
Abby Rendle: 6-4 freshman center from South Lakes High

PEPSI
Breana Boone: former Deep Creek High guard who played in 22 games for Tidewater Community College last season
LaTaya Bracey: played in 22 games last season for Tidewater Community College, averaging 8.4 ppg last season
Terice Burrell: point guard from Dyersburg State Community College
Annmarie Prine: Former Green Run High player
Ashley Cunninham: Former Williamsburg Christian High player
Brittney Townes: Former Kecoughtan High player

TALK FAMILY VA.
Jazmen Boone: W&M senior who made CAA All-Defensive team
Monique McClean: Former Bruton High player from St. John's
Jordan Mitchell: 5-8 sophomore forward and Norfolk native who averaged 3.4 ppg and 3.4 rpg for Grambling
Chelisa Painter: 6-1 senior forward who averaged 8.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg for ODU last year
Aerial Wilson: Former Virginia Tech guard who appeared in 115 games
Destinee Young

VIRGINIA LADY STALLIONS
Kymesha Austin: Former center from Phoebus High
Keiara Avant: Hampton's Athlete of the Year and MEAC Player of the Year in 2013 who also played
in the Ukraine
Jessica Canady: Former ODU forward also played in Puerto Rico and the Ukraine
Trinise Fox: Former Nansemond River High player who played at South Carolina State
Olivia Hampton: Former Hampton guard
Kevia Small: Former Longwood player
Crystal Woodley: Former Oscar Smith High star who played in Germany


VIRGINIA LADY SUPREME

LaQuanda Younger: 5-10 junior guard who averaged 3.5 ppg last season for ODU
Amber Easter: former George Mason 1,000-point scorer from Bethel High
Bernadette Fortune: Graduated Hampton guard
Ty Cook: former Heritage High player who played at Virginia State
Kasey Curtis: 6-2 sophomore guard who played 125 minutes last season for the Tribe
LaToya Taylor: played at Virginia Union
Kenia Cole
Kenya Wilkerson: point guard at Apprentice School
Juel Woodard: former Norfolk State forward
Alex Masaquel: 5-9 sophomore guard at W&M from Honolulu who appeared in 12 games last year

OPTIMAHEALTH FAMILYCARE
Ebony Brown: 5-9 sophomore forward from Norfolk State who averaged 8 points last season
Kenia Cole: 5-4 senior guard who averaged 9.4 ppg for Hampton
Odegua Oigbokie: 6-1 sophomore forward who made 16 starts and averaged 5.3 ppg for ODU last season
Destinee Young 6-1 sophomore forward who averaged 2.6 ppg for ODU last season
Sarah Tabb: Graduated Radford forward from Chesapeake's StoneBridge High
Brooke Stewart: 6-foot senior guard who started seven games last season for W&M
Ronesia Spicer: Sophomore forward on Norfolk State