Primed For Nike TOC 2023

Primed For Nike TOC 2023
Kayleigh Heckel


Shy Hawkins in transition in the 2022 Nike TOC matchup between her LuHi team and Archbishop Mitty.  The teams are ranked 1 and 3, respectively coming into the 2023 tournament. *Photo by Chris Hansen.

 

MESA, Arizona – Heading into the holiday break the Nike Tournament of Champions has the deck stacked for a terrific week of national competition.  The outcome here next week could easily decide who the national champion is in March.  Here’s a look ahead at some can’t miss teams and players for the 2023 Nike TOC.

 

The Vincent Cannizzaro Division

Archbishop Mitty (CA) is a long standing staple of the Nike TOC and this year is no different. The Monarchs bring a high-powered roster this year featuring Class of 2024 guard Morgan Cheli (UConn signee) and Class of 2026 forward McKenna Woliczko. Both Cheli and Woliczko have experience playing with USA Basketball in the summer.

Hebron Christian (GA) has as much talent as any team inside the Peach State this season. They’re led by two Class of 2025 graduates in Aubrey Beckham and Danielle Osho. Both have multiple scholarship offers. Hebron plays with an up-tempo pace that can make life difficult for any team in the county on the right day.

Lone Peak’s (UT) Shawnessy Nordstrom (Cal Baptist) came to Phoenix last year on a mission. She proved herself worthy of the big stage and garnered attention from multiple outlets as a result. Lone Peak will need Nordstrom to do that again this year plus some.

Long Island Lutheran (NY) made a national statement in Phoenix last year using the event to springboard two of their 2024 guards – Kayleigh Heckel (Southern Cal) and Syla Swords (Michigan) – into the Elite 25 discussion while 2024 post Kate Koval (Notre Dame) played her way into being considered the nation’s premier big. Shye Hawkins (Syracuse) and Lauryn Swann give them even more firepower. They’ll look to run the table in Phoenix again this year.

Mater Dei (CA) is back in the TOC field this year. Class of 2025 Guard Addie Deal leads the way and will have to have one of those weeks for Mater Dei from the opening tip against Crestwood Academy. Class of 2024 Forward Jenessa Cotton (Duke) and Class of 2025 Forward Kaeli Wynn are also major factors on both ends of the hardwood.

Montverde (FL) comes into this event with the most highly decorated Class of 2024 prospect in attendance, Jaloni Cambridge. Cambridge will be joined by two other high level classmates in Eris Lester (Alabama) and Vivian Iwuchuwku (Southern Cal) as they look to stake their claim as the nation’s premier team. They also have talented Class of 2027 Guard Finley Chastain (Tennessee).

Ontario Christian (CA) boasts a marquee Class of 2027 guard Kaleena Smith comes into the TOC fresh off of a 42-point performance earlier this week. She’s worth the price of admission. They’ll have their hands full with LuHi in the Sweet 16 matchup.

This marks the second straight season that Sacred Heart (KY) has made the trip to Phoenix to compete. Much like last year, the play of Class of 2025 wing ZaKiyah Johnson will play a large part in how Sacred Heart fares.

Bishop McNamara (MD) has a loaded roster and has been battle tested already this year with matchups against Duncanville (TX) and IMG Academy (FL).  The roster has no shortage of talent with South Carolina signee Madisen McDaniel and juniors Zhen Craft and Princess Moody, among others.

HANSEN’S HITTERS

While top bracket is one of the strongest in recent memory, there are plenty of talented teams and players across the field looking to use this national platform to level up.

La Jolla Country Day (CA) has produced no shortage of big names over the years.  From Candice Wiggins to Kelsey Plum to TeHina PaoPao.  The Waves player to watch this season is Naomi Panganiban.  After graduating two McDonald’s All-Americans last season in Jada Williams and Breya Cunningham, it’s Panganiban leading the charge, putting up huge numbers.  Keep an eye on sophomores Safiyah Sugapong, Jet Walton and Mei-ling Perry as the Waves compete in the Joe Smith Division.

Grandview High School (CO) is back at the TOC, led by junior post Sienna Betts, a recent UCLA commit.  The Wolves challenged themselves early last season and used those tough games to set up the late season championship run.

A brand new prep school from the Pacific Northwest, Elite Prep (WA), is making the trip.  The team is headlined by Class of 2026 standout Oliviyah Edwards and 2025 sharpshooter Brynna Pukis.  

Skutt Catholic (NE) is just getting their season going.  They’re coming off of two straight state championship runner-up finishes and have junior point guard Molly Ladwig leading the charge.

Desert Vista (AZ) has a senior-laden team, led by Stanford commit Shay Ijiwoye.  The squad has already had marquee showdowns with Clovis West and Sierra Canyon out of California.

St. Mary’s Stockton (CA) has been a staple of the TOC dating back to Jacki Gemelos’ countless 40-point performance.  Can’t miss players include Texas signee Jordan Lee, freshman Kori Rogers and junior Nyah Buntun.

Bishop O’Dowd (CA) is another team to watch with sophomores Devin Cosgriff and Jayla Stokes.

Check out Bella Vista (AZ) senior Gal Raviv, a Quinnipiac signee.

Good post players aren’t in abundance but sophomore Cydnee Bryant would be worth watching regardless. She leads Corona Centennial (CA).

The international flare of the event this year expands beyond the strong Canadian Prep teams making the trip. ATC out of Australia has two teams in the field and Harbor Basketball from New Zealand is also here in the desert to compete.

Carondelet (CA) is gearing up for its first major test of the season at the TOC.  Lead by senior  Keshia Vitalicio, a Lehigh signee, the Cougars will be putting their undefeated record on the line. Don’t miss sophomore point guard Sophia Ross.

 

Brandon Clay serves as the Director of Scouting for ProspectsNation.com and owns The BrandonClayScouting.com Evaluation Report, which is read by more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. He also serves as the Executive Skills Director for the Brandon Clay Scouting Academy Series.

 

 

Chris Hansen is managing editor of ProspectsNation.com and serves on the McDonald’s All-American and Naismith Trophy selection committees.  He was a co-founder of and the national director of scouting for ESPN HoopGurlz from 2005 until 2012 and is the director of the Check Me Out Showcase and ELITE is EARNED events.  He can be reached at chris@chrishansenbasketball.com.

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