OGBR: Ohio continues as hotbed for girls basketball talent


Tom Jenkins’ Ohio Girls Basketball Report

The state of Ohio has entrenched itself among the top five talent pools nationally for recruiting of women’s basketball players in recent history and the Classes of 2010 and 2011 continue that progression of dominance. 

While in recovery from Classic in the Country VI, my good friend and business associate Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report has provided us a look at Ohio as it compares with the rest of America in girls basketball. Collegiate Girls Basketball Report according to college coaches at all levels is the # 1 national scouting service in America. Tom Jenkins, Ohio Girls Basketball Report

Next Article: February 4, 2009

The state of Ohio has entrenched itself among the top five talent pools nationally for recruiting of women’s basketball players in recent history and the Classes of 2010 and 2011 continue that progression of dominance.  With other states like California, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, Indiana and Georgia in the mix each year as well, there is a reason behind the success that has propelled these players into national display.

From a national standpoint, the 2010 class is not nearly as deep as 2009 yet, Ohio attains some of the nations’ elite players that find their way onto the rosters of America’s elite programs.  The 2010 class is probably going to average out slightly higher than normal with around 75 players signing scholarships to NCAA-I programs.  On average, since 2003, the Buckeye state has averaged between 65 and 80 Division-I signees.  Let’s not forget the many other NCAA-III and NAIA schools in Ohio that also reap the benefits of the quality talent within its borders.


Let’s reflect back on the 2003 class of talent in Ohio to form comparison levels to that of 2010 and 2011.  A record 103 student/athletes signed NCAA D-I scholarships in 2003 and produced some special players, leading one to believe that 2003 has set a standard for those future classes to live up to.  Among the top players from that class were:

–         Alison Bales (Beavercreek HS):  The 6-7 Center continued her college career at Duke University and then to WNBA Atlanta.  Bales is currently playing in Turkey (Samsun). 

–         Jessica Davenport (Columbus Independence):  The 6-5 Center continued her career at The Ohio State University and WNBA New York.  Originally drafted overall No. 2 by San Antonio, Davenport was last playing in France (Challes Les Eaux).

–         Dee Davis (Cincinnati Princeton): A 5-6 Point Guard had a solid career at Vanderbilt University and WNBA Houston/Seattle for a short stint professionally.

–         Brandie Hoskins (Chaminade-Julienne):  A 5-9 guard had a superb career at The Ohio State University, moved to WNBA Seattle and was last playing for Asteras Exarheion (Greece).

–         Brittany Hunter (Columbus Brookhaven):  A 6-3 Center continued her career at both Duke and Connecticut after earning  Consensus National Player-of-the-Year honors in 2003. Hunter currently is an assistant coach at Temple University.

The year 2004 had 87 players sign with NCAA-I basketball programs.  Although down from the number the previous year, the volume remained high for a single state to produce nearly 200 signees in back-to-back years.  Some of the more notable players in 2004 are:

–         Amber Bland (Youngstown Boardman) signed with Penn State and transferred to North Carolina A&T where she is flourishing as a senior.

–         Mel Thomas (Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame) signed with Connecticut, played sparingly due to injury and recently released her own book, Heart of a Husky.

–         Courtney Davidson (Youngstown Ursuline) floor-leader for Michigan State

–         Marscilla Packer (Pickerington) a 4-year contributor to The Ohio State University, drafted by WNBA Phoenix, then released.

There are a number of reasons that Ohio has become such a hotbed of talent and continued that success in the last seven years.  None of the factors that lead to this success are more evident than the commitment level that each coach among the 800 high schools in Ohio provide to their respective players.  The development aspect provided at the middle school levels enable coaches in Ohio to prosper more so than many other states.  There is a superb level of coaching in the state of Ohio and this is noticeable if you follow the various events Tom Jenkins and The Ohio Girls Basketball Report conduct during the year.  Jenkins has created a model of success in Ohio for Girls Basketball and the core of that success begins in early July at Denison University for the Skills Camp.  The pride and level of expertise that is provided each camper instills a winning formula for success into that players high school career.  Although the Skills Camp is open to those outside of Ohio, the camp fills up so quickly from players within Ohio that it is difficult to get in.  Obviously, when you have that type of interest among the middle school players, their coaches and parents, it is an enjoyable experience as each year goes by and the noticeable development of those players.  Jenkins pays attention to detail, whether it is with the Top 64 Fall Skills Camp, The OGBR Summer Skills Camp or the Classic in the Country Challenge.  There is no “fluff” at either skills camp and those that are new to the scene are made aware that the name of the game is basketball quickly.  With each year of the camp, new aspects are provided to campers from skill development, academic awareness, the recruiting process, giving each player a vivid idea of the process awaiting them during their high school career.  Jenkins and his staff want to instill ideas that will guide those at any athletic level success for the future.


2005 featured 51 Division I signees and the beginning of three years of consistent numbers of signees. Aisha Jefferson, currently playing for Michigan State, Star Allen at The Ohio State University and 6-6 Center Megan Skouby at Iowa are all enjoying solid careers thus far at their respective schools and are sought to become emerging stars at the next level.

2006 continued that consistency with 58 signees moving onto Division I programs. Among the stellar performers of that class currently competing in their junior seasons are 6-1 guard Mya McCurdy (Winton Woods),5-11 guard Tyra Grant (Youngstown Ursuline) and 5-7 guard Carla Jacobs (South Euclid Regina) at Cincinnati.

2007 continued a downward number of signees with only 54 to NCAA-I programs, still a solid number comparative to other states.  Of those signees, a select few are impacting quickly, including:

–         Jantel Lavendar (Cleveland Central Catholic) The Big Ten Rookie-of-the-Year  in 2007-08 has established herself as one of the nations’ premier low-post players.

–         Liz Repella (Steubenville) playing quality minutes for West Virginia.

–         Kristin Daugherty (Warsaw Riverview) impact player in the Atlantic 10 for Dayton


–         Amber Gray (Lakota West) playing quality minutes for defending national champion Tennessee.

–         Courtney Shiffauer (Youngstown Boardman) making an impact for Michigan State.

–         Porshe Poole (Canton McKinley) playing quality minutes for Michigan State.

–         Brittany Orban (North Canton Hoover), the tough, physical Orban at Northwestern.

–         Jessie Pachko (Cincinnati Oak Hills) playing quality minutes for Big East Marquette.

–         Shay Selby (South Euclid Regina) emerging floor-leader for Duke.

–         Kate Popovec (Canfield) develops in the post at Pittsburgh.

–         Tierra Stephen (Chaminade Julienne) speedy guard heads to Louisville.


–         Alexis Rogers (Lakota West), a 6-2 ultra-athletic inside and outside threat to Duke University.

–         Mikaela Ruef (Beavercreek), a 6-2 perimeter threat to Stanford.

–         Kendall Hackney (Mt. Notre Dame),  to Southern California.

–         Emilee Harmon (Pickerington Central) headed to Ohio State.

–         Karisma Penn (Shaker Heights), a 6-1 insider with off the charts potential to resurgent Illinois.

–         Dayeesha Hollins (Cincinnati Winton Woods), a shifty playmaker to Michigan.

–         Brianna Jones (Toledo Central Catholic), a 6-2 lefty producer in the paint adds to Illinois program.

–         Asia Taylor (Columbus Whetstone), an ultra-athletic and much improved insider headed to Louisville.

Realizing that Ohio is among the forefront in recruiting among high school girls basketball, Tom Jenkins has evolved his three events into those that are a must for the college recruiter.  Schools have followed with the 2008 Classic in the Country Challenge luring 173 coaches to Amish Country, Berlin, Ohio.  208 coaches attended the OGBR Top 64 Skills Camp while 68 coaches began their July evaluation period at the OBGR Skills Camp.

There is a tremendous amount of interest, pride and tradition in Ohio for Girls Basketball.  The quality of exposure events available to players and coaches within the state is yet another factor that yields the numbers to Division I programs.  Additionally, there is a high number of academic qualifiers that meet NCAA criteria.  Travel team basketball during the summer months has accelerated the level of exposure for those prospects and continues as an absolute factor in the exposure process for young players.

As comparisons arise from the 2010 and 2011 classes to that of 2003 and 2004, the overall numbers may rival that of 2003, 2004, but not exceed them.  There is certainly a talent level that continues to grow, with players emerging into the spotlight from relative obscurity.  Still, a low number in Ohio is a great year in other states!  Some of the notable performers that will meet the challenge are:

–         Darryce Moore (6-2 C Youngstown Boardman2010) committed to The Ohio State University.

–         Mylan Woods (5-10 SF Hathaway Brown 2010) committed to Northwestern University.

–         Phylesha Bullard (5-10 SF Walnut Hills 2010) committed to Syracuse University.

–         Raven Ferguson (5-9 SG Columbus Africentric 2011)

–         Azia Bishop (6-2 PF Toledo Start 2011)

–         Therany Dunnigan (6-2 C  South Euclid Regina 2011)

As 2010 and 2011 players emerge into the spotlight and take their place at Division I programs across the country, continuing the progression of talent from Ohio, the 2012 class has two emerging low-post difference makers in Malina Howard (6-4 C Twinsburg) and Olivia Wrencher (6-3 C Lakota West).  As for the moment, it is up to 6-1 PF Samarie Walker, the#-3 ranked player nationally and bound for powerhouse Connecticut as well as a 5-5 Tay’ler Mingo, an emerging point guard supreme, to challenge the success of past Ohio players and continue the tradition. 


Dan Olson is the owner and director of The Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.  In three short years, The Collegiate Girls Basketball Report has become the #-1 national source for recruiting by college coaches.

As well, Dan is retained by numerous International Professional teams to evaluate potential prospects in this country to compete in their respective leagues.  Prior to starting The Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, Dan coached for 18 years at the collegiate level on the men’s and women’s levels, compiling a 148-80 overall record during his 8-year women’s coaching career and being named Sunshine State Conference Coach-of-the-Year.  is the official national scouting service providing national rankings used by and for Ohio Girls Basketball Report.



The Collegiate Girls Basketball Report

2009 continued to produce outstanding talent with 8 players ranked among the nations Top 125. A total of 57 signees thus far have moved to NCAA-I programs including:

2008 was a bounce back year in the overall number of NCAA-I signees with 89.  Notable players that are currently enjoying their rookie campaigns include:

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