Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Girls Basketball Class of 2018 Recruiting Rankings Released

Yes, we're finally posting this. Girls basketball fans can rejoice! The Classes of 2016 and 2017 were both loaded with talent, including D-I recruits like Madison Springfield (Holy Cross), Gabrielle Hunter (Dartmouth), Libby Underwood (William & Mary), Abby Streeter (Rhode Island) and Rebecca Ripley (Miami). So the Class of 2018 has a tough act to follow.

The Class of 2018 looks very promising, though. At the top you have two girls who already hold multiple D-I offers. Overall it's another deep and talented class. Also worth noting is the abundance of quality point guards in this class. College coaches looking for a floor general from this class have plenty of options.

The rankings are on here to provide exposure for NH girls looking to play basketball at the college level. None of the players, their parents or coaches pay me a dime. This report is completely objective. Therefore it can be used as a legitimate recruiting resource for the hundreds of college coaches who have frequented this site since 2009.

Feedback is always welcome. Feel free to drop me an e-mail if you think we missed anyone.

Without any further ado, here are NH's top girls basketball prospects from the Class of 2018:

1. Taylor Soule, 6'0" Wing Forward, Kimball Union Academy
2. Eva Hodgson, 5'8" Point Guard, New Hampton School
3. Sam Will, 6'0" Wing Forward, Bishop Brady HS
4. Heather Durand, 5'9" Guard, Bradford Christian Academy
5. Sydney Richard, 5'7" Shooting Guard, Bradford Christian Academy
6. Chyna Bullen, 5'10" Wing Forward, Bradford Christian Academy
7. Danielle Sirois, 6'1" Forward, Pelham HS
8. Alyson Fillion, 5'7" Combo Guard, Bedford HS
9. Kaleigh Walsh, 5'8" Combo Guard, Windham HS
10. Ruby Cheetham, 5'6" Point Guard, St. Paul's School
11. Caroline Hoffer, 5'9" Wing Forward, Bishop Guertin HS
12. Sarah Doherty, 5'4" Point Guard, Bishop Brady HS
13. Anna Pafford, 5'8" Guard, Exeter HS
14. Jenny Freedman, 5'6" Guard, Winnacunnet HS
15. Amanda Lemire, 5'2" Point Guard, Pinkerton Academy
16. Mia Len, 5'4" Guard, Souhegan HS
17. Brooke Beaudet, 5'5" Guard, Gilford HS
18. Haleigh Shea, 5'7" Guard Manchester Memorial HS
19. Sadie Shore, 5'8" Wing, Portsmouth HS
20. Alana Choate, 5'6" Guard, Nashua High North
21. Morgan Allen, 5'9" Wing Forward, Pembroke
22. Mia Roy, 5'4" Point Guard, Bedford HS
23. Abby Grandmaison, 5'7" Guard, Merrimack Valley HS
24. Emmy White, 5'11" Forward, Souhegan HS
25. Chloe Benelli, 5'6" Guard, St. Thomas Aquinas

Now, here's a closer look at each player...

1. Taylor Soule, 6'0" Wing Forward, Kimball Union Academy - Some local fans might not know about her since she hasn't played a game of NHIAA ball, but Soule (Lebanon, NH) is the best player in this class. She is one of the best pure athletes to come from NH in a long time, in terms of her raw athleticism, running and jumping ability. Soule (pictured above) already holds offers from UMass, Delaware and Fordham. This month she's meeting with those three schools as well as Cincinnati, Marshall and Rhode Island. This is a high-major player. Good size at 6-foot, can play inside but also has the quickness and skill set to play outside. Upside is through the roof. Can flat out put the basketball in the hoop and defend it.

2. Eva Hodgson, 5'8" Point Guard, New Hampton School - This is the kind of player you want running your team from the point. Hodgson (Rindge, NH) is a talented kid who works hard, plays hard and is a winner. She can hit shots, beat her man off the dribble, finish through contact and over bigs and distribute the basketball. Good size for the point guard spot, as a dual threat from the point to score the basketball as well as set her teammates up for a better look. Can also slide over to the 2 if need be. Has offers from Brown, Pennsylvania, William & Mary, Lafayette, New Hampshire, Fordham, Davidson and Holy Cross.

3. Sam Will, 6'0" Wing Forward, Bishop Brady HS - Size, skill, athletic ability. Will definitely has the makings of a potential scholarship player. When she was a freshman she stood out as a high energy, quick forward who who could really attack the basket and rebound. As a sophomore she expanded her game to the perimeter, adding range on her jumper out to the 3-point arc. She has had numerous mid-major D-I inquiries. Can face up from the outside, put it on the floor and finish or hit the pull-up in the lane. Can defend inside or out on the perimeter.

4. Heather Durand, 5'9" Guard, Bradford Christian Academy - Durand transfers from Portsmouth to Bradford Christian Academy where she will repeat her junior year. That, combined with her rapid improvement as a player over the past couple of years makes her a very intriguing prospect at the next level. Durand has gone from a freshman who had crazy athletic ability, could run and jump through the roof but couldn't hit a shot from the outside and while she made some great dribble drive moves she couldn't finish - especially with her left. Fast forward to today and he can drain shots from all over the court, has a smooth shooting stroke, shoots with confidence, can finish at the rim with either hand and is also a better defender. If she keeps working she'll have offers.

5. Sydney Richard, 5'7" Shooting Guard, Bradford Christian Academy - another kid who has rapidly improved over the past couple of years. Richard (Hooksett, NH) is in great shape, she plays hard, has good quickness and can play at a fast pace (which college coaches love since they play a faster game than high school). Richard has also developed into a knock down shooter from the outside, with a quick release and the ability hit shots in bunches. Hard worker, high energy kid with good floor sense. Another potential scholarship kid.

6. Chyna Bullen, 5'10" Wing Forward, Bradford Christian Academy - Bullen is a tweener - a combination of a wing and a forward. She might not have a defined position, but that's okay - she has size, versatility and an emerging skill set. She's played a lot of high level basketball over the years. Bullen (Exeter, NH) can finish inside with either hand, rebound, start the break and also face up from the outside and put the ball on the floor. Can hit the mid-range jumper, crashes the offensive boards. Upside is there if she can continue to enhance perimeter skills, quickness, defense and coordination.

7. Danielle Sirois, 6'1" Forward, Pelham HS - you can't teach 6'1". Girls who are 6'1" and have skill generally get scholarships. Sirois started and was one of the top players in NHIAA D-III basketball as a freshman and as a sophomore. She suffered a stress fracture in her foot near the end of her sophomore season, but came back and benefited greatly from playing with and against high level AAU competition. She's a good post player, who has good posts moves and finishing ability. Tough kid, not afraid to battle people inside and get physical. Sirois can also step out and hit the 8-12 foot jumper. Has a nose for the ball on rebounds. Loves to get out on the break and score in transition. Starting to draw solid D-II interest from college coaches.

8. Alyson Fillion, 5'7" Combo Guard, Bedford HS - has come off the bench for Bedford her first two years while playing behind Bri Purcell and Nikki Tucci, but now Filion gets her chance to show her stuff. She has improved from last season to this year as much as any player in the state. Got plenty of playing time on the AAU circuit in the backcourt for the an NE Crusaders national team where she hit shots, made good decisions with the basketball, took charges, got deflections on 'D', rebounded well for a guard and handled the ball well vs. pressure defense. Smooth stroke from 18 feet or the 3-point line, has a quick release, shoots it with confidence and without hesitation. Not afraid to take the big shot. Can play the 1 or the 2. Not the fastest or most athletic player, but makes up for it with smarts and work ethic. Takes care of the basketball, keeps head up when dribbling.

9. Kaleigh Walsh, 5'8" Combo Guard, Windham HS - Walsh's older sister Courtney plays for D-II Stonehill College - Kaleigh has a chance to be just as good, if not better than her sister - she's already taller than Courtney. As a freshman Kaleigh had some skill but was still learning how to use that skill in games as well as how to compete at the varsity level. She took a big step forward as a sophomore, but not only improving her skill but her basketball I.Q. went way up as well. She runs the point for Windham and was a scoring point guard who could also dish it a little. She can hit shots from all over the floor, including a deadly pull-up jumper or take it all thew way to the rim, also dangerous in transition. Solid defender. Walsh, who played AAU for the Bay State Blizzards, is also a very good soccer player in addition to basketball.

10. Ruby Cheetham, 5'6" Point Guard, St. Paul's School
Video: http://www.hudl.com/video/3/4877351/5721df65e984d413d429c6de
Very quick on her feet, plays with good energy and intensity. Can knock down the outside shot, has good form on her shot off the catch. Also a very good passer, puts good zip on the ball and puts passes right on the money, even from 3/4 court. Has range well beyond the 3 point arc and can also hit the step-back 3. One of the best passers we've seen in recent years. Goes hard after loose balls, pressures the heck out of the basketball on 'D', even blocks shots. Cheetham (Auburn, NH) has a good handle, can weave in and pout of defenders, dish it or hit the floater in the lane.

11. Caroline Hoffer, 5'9" Wing Forward, Bishop Guertin HS - a good inside/outside player, Hoffer has a strong, physical frame and can push people around in the paint, but showed an improved outside shot as her sophomore season went on as well as the ability to face up and take it to the rim. Made 2nd team all-state as a sophomore and started for a BG team that won the D-I title. Solid fundamentals. Easily one of the top all-around players in this class.

12. Sarah Doherty, 5'4" Point Guard, Bishop Brady HS
Video: http://bit.ly/2cPbRwp
One of the hardest workers in the state - took over 15,000 shots this summer while also working on her handle and various moves to finish at the basket. Like Filion, Doherty isn't the biggest, fastest or most athletic kid but Doherty plays hard, she knows the game, she makes good decisions with the basketball, knows how to run an offense and can hit shots. She is a positive kid with a good attitude, she's coachable and is a good teammate. Is also tough and physical inside if teams try to post her up. A pinpoint passer with an effective pull-up jumper.

13. Anna Pafford, 5'8" Guard, Exeter HS
Video: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/5007450
One of the more underrated players in this class. Not a lot of other people seem to know about Pafford, she doesn't get a lot of hype. Probably because she plays for a team that hasn't been a winning program. But it's not her fault. Pafford is a very good player, she has a good all-around game and plays her tail off. Can hit the 3 or take it strong to the hole, finishes through contact. Defends well, hustles for loose balls, rebounds well for a guard. Can play inside or outside. If she was on a better team everyone in the state would know about her.

14. Jenny Freedman, 5'6" Guard, Winnacunnet HS - a high energy combo guard, Freedman is as quick and explosive in the open court as anyone in this class. Freedman is also aggressive, going hard when attacking the rim and tenaciously going after loose balls. Having Freedman on the court speeds up the pace of the game. By pushing the tempo she keeps pressure on an oping defense, and likewise her in your face pressure defense forces the opposition to turn it over. Will be interesting to see if she can transition to the point this year with Katie Valcich now graduated.

15. Amanda Lemire, 5'2" Point Guard, Pinkerton Academy - sees the floor well, knows how to run an offense. A point guard who is also capable of lighting it up from beyond the arc. Plays tough defense. Handles the ball well vs. pressure 'D'. Hard worker who loves the game. What Lemire lacks in size she makes up for in other areas. Made the D-I all-state team as a sophomore while playing on one of the top teams in the state.

16. Mia Len, 5'4" Guard, Souhegan HS - just like her older brother Brandon, Mia is the prototypical point guard. She does everything you could ask of a point guard. She controls the tempo, distributes the basketball, minimizes turnovers, is tough driving to the rim, can hit outside shot, defends well. She can't blow by people off the bounce, but makes up for that with a killer hesitation dribble-drive move. Plays hard and plays with passion.

17. Brooke Beaudet, 5'5" Guard, Gilford HS - as smart, tough gritty shooting guard. Helped Gilford win a state title last year as a sophomore. Will be interesting to see if she can slide over to the point this year with their point guard graduated. A knock down shooter with ice water in her veins - not afraid of the big shot or the big stage. If she can improve foot speed could really be an intriguing prospect.

18. Haleigh Shea, 5'7" Guard Manchester Memorial HS - Just a good athlete and a good all-around basketball player. Can sprint and jump with the best of them in this class. Drives it strong to the bucket and rebounds well for a guard. Most nights was the best player on the court for a Memorial team that was a tough out for anyone in D-I. Memorial had a tough, fearless, scrappy team and Shea is the embodiment of that. Tough player to defend, plays hard and has a great attitude.

19. Sadie Shore, 5'8" Wing, Portsmouth HS - Shore will miss her junior season due to a torn ACL injury. You hate to see that, especially to a player who's coaches sing her praises. Shore plays hard, is always on the floor diving for loose balls or taking charges. Does all the little things well, the ultimate glue player, who will make her team stick together. Drives strong to the basket and can hit the 15-footer. Good offensive rebounder. Can defend the 2 to the 5. We wish her best of luck with recovery.

20. Alana Choate, 5'6" Guard, Nashua High North - one of the fastest, most athletic players in the state. Good pressure defender and can hit the mid-range jump shot.

21. Morgan Allen, 5'9" Wing Forward, Pembroke - Allen saw most of her time as a freshman in the post, but saw her role expand as a sophomore. Her skill set also expanded, as Allen can now play out on the wing in addition to the low block. She has good strength and toughness, can finish inside, handle the basketball and hit mid-range jumper. Good defender and rebounder.

22. Mia Roy, 5'4" Point Guard, Bedford HS - Just a tough, fearless kid who doesn't back down from anybody, plays tough defense and can hit shots. Plays with a lot of energy and goes hard to the rim.

23. Abby Grandmaison, 5'7" Guard, Merrimack Valley HS - An underrated player because she plays for an MV team that doesn't get a lot of coverage. Still, she's a tough, hard nosed player who has been starting since she was a freshman. Can play inside or out and can hit shots in bunches.

24. Emmy White, 5'11" Forward, Souhegan HS - still a raw big, but White has good potential. She has good size, runs the floor well, can rebound and put the ball in the basket. Definitely one to keep on the radar.

25. Chloe Benelli, 5'6" Guard, St. Thomas Aquinas - an athletic kid who is quick, can handle the ball, shoot it and finish. Solid feel for the game.



Jeremy Leveille has been covering New Hampshire high school basketball since 2007. He has run the NH Notebook since 2009, has covered NHIAA athletes for the New England Recruiting Report since 2010 and has four years experience covering D-I America East basketball.