Thursday, November 17, 2016

NAISMITH HS WATCH LIST: Dodson, Williams candidates for high school POY, November 17, 2016

Stanford signees Maya Dodson and Kiana Williams are on the Atlanta Tipoff Club's 50-person, preseason watch list for the 2017 Naismith Trophy High School Girls' Player of the Year award. The midseason team, consisting of 25 candidates, will be announced on Jan. 12, 2017.
Dodson and Williams make up half of the Cardinal's celebrated 2017 recruiting class which, along with Estella Moschkau and Alyssa Jerome, is ranked fifth by espnW HoopGurlz.
Dodson, a 6-foot-3 wing, is a five-star talent and the No. 11 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100. A back-to-back state title winner at St. Francis High School in Alpharetta, Ga., Dodson averaged 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks per game as a junior and was named Georgia's Class A player of the year.
This past summer, she won a bronze medal with Team USA at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women in Zaragoza, Spain, making the 12-person roster out of a pool of 139 trial invitees. Dodson started all seven games and averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, including scoring 12 and adding seven boards in the team's 65-50 win over China to secure third place.
Kiana Williams, a 5-foot-7, five-star point guard from San Antonio, Texas, is the No. 8 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 and Stanford's first top-10 recruit since Chiney Ogwumike signed as the top player in the country in Nov. 2009.
A dynamic leader with a powerful scoring punch, Williams averaged 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and 2.5 steals per game as a junior for Karen Wagner High School last season. She was a first-team all-state selection for the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches as well as the Texas Girls Coaches Association.
Ogwumike is Stanford's only previous winner of the Naismith Trophy High School Girls' Player of the Year award, taking home the honor in 2010.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Toronto basketball prodigy sets her sights on the Olympics and beyond: Alyssa Jerome will play basketball for Stanford University next year

Alyssa Jerome was introduced to basketball in elementary school. (CBC)

Kate McGillivray, CBC News, November 13, 2016

Alyssa Jerome has only been playing basketball for six years, but she's already making waves in Canada and abroad.
The 16-year-old Harbord Collegiate Institute student will play at Stanford University next year after being recruited by its basketball program. 
"I'm really excited, going to such an amazing school," she said.
For the last two years, Jerome has played forward on the Canadian national team, leading it to its first gold medal last year at the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) Americas championships.

Jerome gives the Harbord junior girls' basketball team a pep talk before a game. (CBC)

This past September, she decided to take on a new role: coach of Harbord's junior girls' team.
"It's been really fun," she said. "Definitely a different view on basketball."
Jerome is clear-eyed about her goals going forward.
"I want to go to the Olympics and represent Canada."
Jerome is also focused on academics. She told CBC News her choice of Stanford was influenced as much by its strong academic reputation as its basketball team. 
"There's a life after basketball," she said. "I'm very interested in the sciences, so maybe a career in the medical field." 
Jerome coaches from the sidelines in the Harbord Collegiate Institute gym. (CBC)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Stanford women's basketball is catching fire on the recruiting trail

There are plenty of things to like about the way Tara VanDerveer's program is shaping up

John Loop,, October 28, 2016

With college basketball season just under a month away, the Stanford women are training hard to build on a successful 2015-16 season which ended in a disappointing Elite Eight loss to Pac-12 rival Washington in last year's NCAA Tournament.
Still, head coach Tara VanDerveer continues to build momentum through top-tier commits from the 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes who will have the opportunity to come in and have an immediate impact. VanDerveer's recruiting efforts have finally begun to pay off in a big way, as the Cardinal have received commitments from six of the nation's top players.
The excitement began when Wagner High School (San Antonio, TX) five-star point guard Kiana Williams made her choice official on October 8. Williams selected the Cardinal over fellow Pac-12 member Oregon State and the top team in her home state, the Baylor Bears.
The number eight overall prospect in the 2017 class, Williams provides a scoring mentality as a slashing guard who has explosive speed off the dribble, her greatest strength among a list of many. Her mid-range game is superb, and her court awareness is off the charts.
A day after Williams made her decision, Estella Moschkau, a senior forward with a wicked perimeter game from Edgewood High School in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, also chose Stanford. The Cardinal won out over the in-state Badgers and the University of Oklahoma.
Standing at 6-foot-2, Moschkau is money from downtown (she shot 34.6% on three-point field goal attempts last season for the Crusaders), which makes it very hard to defend if you factor in her size. Although labelled by ESPN as the ninth-best wing player in the country (No. 44 overall), she brings mid-range accuracy and shifty post play to her game too. Her selflessness as a teammate feeds her knack for smart passing, and Edgewood coach Lora Staveness says Moschkau's number one goal is always "giving an assist."
A few days later, on October 11, the Cardinal got more good news, as 2017 Canadian forward Alyssa Jerome pledged her loyalty to Stanford.
Jerome is widely considered Canada's top young women's basketball star of the last decade. She became a FIBA U16 national champion in 2015 and FIBA U18 runner up to the US team this past summer, and was the team's leading scorer and rebounder in both international tournaments.
A relentless rebounder and impeccable spot-up shooter, Jerome is a 6-foot-2 forward with length and speed that makes her very dangerous in the open floor. Like Moschkau, the Toronto native's toughness all but ensures she is never one to shy away from contact, whether on offense or defense.
The last domino to fall in the 2017 class came last Tuesday, when Maya Dodson, the number 11 player in the country dubbed Palo Alto as her future home. Dodson announced her choice in this video, posted on Twitter.
Dodson, a 6-foot-3 wing for St. Francis High School, led her team to back-to-back Georgia state titles, averaging 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists in her junior season. Lost in her high offensive production is Maya's stifling defensive ability, averaging two steals and three blocks per game last season as well.

Future Cardinal's Signing Moments

Kiana Williams shows off her national letter of intent to Stanford. 

Wagner's Kiana Williams signs with Stanford.

Stanford signee Maya Dodson.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

CARDINAL FOURTUNE, November 9, 2016

STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford's Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women's Basketball Tara VanDerveer announced the signings of four of North America's best players to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. Maya Dodson (Alpharetta, Ga./St. Francis), Alyssa Jerome(Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Harbord Collegiate), Estella Moschkau (Mount Horeb, Wisc./Edgewood) and Kiana Williams (San Antonio, Texas/Karen Wagner) will join the Cardinal ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

Stanford's four-member recruiting haul is one of the nation's strongest, collectively rated No. 2 by espnW HoopGurlz and No.6 by Prospects Nation.

"We are absolutely thrilled," VanDerveer said. "We're not just signing a class of talented players, but we are really excited about the character of the people. They're winners in all aspects, including in the classroom and on the court. They're very humble and hard-working and that's what we need. We need them to come in and contribute and we are confident that they will."

The four are impressive additions to a program which has won a pair of national championships, been to 29 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, advanced to the Elite Eight in 10 of the past 13 seasons, won at least 25 games for 15 straight years and claimed a combined 34 Pac-12 regular season and conference championships.

"Stanford is beautiful and the academic experience is unmatched," VanDerveer added. "Those are things they can learn about, but [when they were here] they could feel it. They want to be teammates with our freshmen, sophomores and juniors and the seniors showed just how much they love this university. [Our current players] showed that they want to be a great team and they understand that to be a great team you must have great teammates."
click to story and more photos

Friday, April 01, 2016

Next Generation

DiJonai Carrington, Nadia Fingall and Anna Wilson represented Stanford at the 15th annual McDonald’s All American Game on March 30 in Chicago., March 31, 2016

Click for Photos of Stanford's Three from the MCDAAG

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Stanford's McDonald's All American Game Updates

DiJonai defends against an East player helping the West to a 97-88 overtime victory in the women's McDonald's All-American game.

Dan Olson,, March 30, 2016

There was no shortage of scoring skills at the 2016 McDonald's All American Game, which was won in overtime by the West squad, 97-88.

Here's a player-by-player breakdown from Wednesday night and a peek into the future.

DiJonai Carrington, Stanford: Normally a double-double machine, Carrington struggled to find her shot in Chicago but did grab three rebounds in 14 minutes on the court. Usually money from inside 10 feet, Carrington's versatility should play well at Stanford.

Nadia Fingall, Stanford: She had a reputation for being efficient on both ends of the floor, and Fingall did just that on Wednesday night. Blending power with finesse, Fingall scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds. She also added two blocks and three assists.

Anna Wilson, Stanford: Wilson, injured during practice in Chicago, was unable to play. She finished her high school career by leading Bellevue to a state title in Washington.

Anna Wilson, beyond a shadow and a doubt

Jordan Brenner,, March 30, 2016

Sometimes, after she has swished the day's final free throw and composed the closing line of her essay and clinked the last weights of her workout, Anna Wilson will climb behind the wheel of her car and drive. She rarely has a destination in mind, but instead follows her curiosity as a guide. She will pull her black Mercedes E350 out of the driveway and explore the streets of her new home -- Bellevue, Washington -- admiring the pines that seem to touch the sky, the lakes that rest at their base and the snow-capped peaks that tower in relief.

Occasionally, she will merge onto I-90 and head 10 miles west into Seattle, music blaring but her mind unusually quiet. That's when she will see him. Maybe he will pull up alongside her, his image plastered on the side of a bus. Maybe he'll look down from above, sporting a pair of Bose headphones, as she passes a billboard. In Seattle, Russell Wilson is omnipresent. Especially if he's your brother.

It is almost too easy to introduce Anna Wilson as Russell Wilson's little sister. But the link is also impossible to ignore, given all they share. "If I came up with a lot of differences between the two, I'd be making them up," says Harry Wilson, who, at 32, is the oldest of the three siblings.

On Wednesday night, Anna will play in the McDonald's All American Game, capping a senior season in which she led Bellevue High to a state title in her lone year at the school. Last summer, she made the cross-country move from Richmond, Virginia, in part to prepare for the next four years on the West Coast; she will play point guard at Stanford next fall. Such forethought and unbridled drive to succeed is typical of the Wilson clan, and Anna has inherited both qualities in spades. But family played just as crucial a role in that unusual decision to abandon familiar surroundings for her final year of high school. That, too, is the Wilson way.

For many years, life in the Wilson house was exceptionally normal: both parents home for dinner; a hoop in the driveway; church on Sundays. Much has been written about Russell's relationship with his father, Harrison B. Wilson III, a two-sport star at Dartmouth who went on to become a successful lawyer. The wisdom "Harry B" imparted upon his son still resonates today -- the purposefulness, the  attention to detail, the desire to lead.

Anna benefited from some of those same lessons, but childhood was a fundamentally different experience for her. More than eight years younger than Russell, she was just 9 when diabetes began to eat away at their father. Harrison could no longer rebound for Anna after dinner as she launched jump shots on the old, steel hoop outside the house. In time, he had to stop coaching her youth teams. Russell went off to college, leaving Anna as the lone child in the house, and she watched her father spend long stints in the hospital, lose his vision and have his leg amputated. Her mother, Tammy, travelled internationally for work, so Anna learned to administer her father's insulin and coaxed him into downing 10 pills each day and night. On several occasions, she and her mother would find him lying on his bed, not breathing, leading to a panicked call to the paramedics.

"They had to resuscitate him," Anna says. She fiddles with the silver cross that hangs from her neck and glances down at the table in the center of Russell's dining room. As she looks back up, her eyes blink slightly faster. "It was a frequent thing."

At school, Anna's mind would wander to her father's hospital room, and her grades suffered. She was a month shy of her 12th birthday when her father passed away in 2010, the day after Russell was drafted by the Colorado Rockies. Russell was home at the time, and visited Anna in her room with the somber news. "I'm going to help you," he told her. "I'm going to take care of you."

And he did. But he wasn't her father. "I think that's the huge difference between Russell's relationship with my dad," Anna says. "He was older, and he and my dad could have more serious talks. I've had a lot of cool experiences, and sometimes I wonder what my dad would say."

As Anna was adjusting to life without her father, the world was discovering her brother -- as a college star, a Pro Bowler and eventually a Super Bowl champion. Russell already was a legend at the Collegiate School back in Richmond; his NFL success only swelled his alma mater's attachment. When Anna was a sophomore, the school held Russell Wilson Day. Students were decked out in Seahawks gear. Fatheads lined the walls. The students saw a hero; Anna just saw her brother. "Here she is walking to chemistry class and everyone has her brother's jersey on," Harry says. "How do you react to that?"

She wrote about that experience in her application to Stanford:
"Since I could walk, I have lived in a dark space produced by a body that intercepts the light of my personal fulfillment. My brother is the body, but he is not at fault. His fame and accomplishments unintentionally created the dark space composed of the inescapable expectation of onlookers. The dark space is his shadow in which I have lived."

Being a teenage girl is hard enough. Imagine going through those years as the sister of a celebrity. "I don't trust everyone," Anna admits, "because of certain circumstances with my brother, and people just wanting to get close to me because of him."

But Anna has never resented Russell. Far from it. As she grew, so did their connection. You can hear it in her voice, see it in her mannerisms. She often repeats his mantras, the ones he learned from his father like "the separation is in the preparation." She talks openly about how her faith guides her and how basketball provides an opportunity to make a larger impact on the world around her. Listening to her describe the role of a point guard -- lead, share the ball, inspire your teammates -- feels almost like a recording of Russell talking about the job of a quarterback.

It was Russell who sent Anna to Stanford's basketball camp as a ninth grader, where she fell in love with the school and became obsessed with earning admission. And late in 2014, it was Russell who contacted Leah Krautter, the girls' basketball coach at Bellevue. "It was December, and I got an email from Russell," says Krautter, a lifelong Seahawks fan whose Facebook photo features her 2-year-old son sporting a No. 3 jersey. "I thought that maybe someone was spamming me."

But sure enough, Russell, Anna and Tammy showed up at a game and chatted with Krautter about the program. It had been seven years since brother and sister had lived together, and both wanted to seize one last opportunity before Anna would go off to college. Besides, a year on the West Coast could help Anna acclimate to Stanford. But Tammy needed convincing to leave her job and her home, and after that initial meeting, Krautter never heard back from the Wilsons. She assumed they had decided to stay in Virginia. Then, about a week before school started this past summer, Krautter got a call from her athletic director. Bellevue would be adding an All-American point guard.

Anna moved to Bellevue two weeks ahead of Tammy and bunked with Russell. They shared early-morning workouts and evening meals. Russell rebounded for her and she helped care for his dogs. One afternoon, Anna and a friend were tossing a football in the yard when she shrieked. Russell came rushing out of the house to find his sister sprawled on the grass. Red liquid seeped from her nose. As Russell worried about how to tell his mother that Anna had broken her nose on his watch, she held up her hands, which were covered in ketchup. Russell chased her around the house.

Enough about Russell Wilson's sister. Let's talk about Anna.

It was early this past fall when the Bellevue girls' basketball team gathered for its first open-gym workout. The Wolverines had reached the state semifinals the previous season; Anna didn't even know some of her teammates' names. Yet a few minutes into the scrimmage, she called time and brought the group together in a huddle. Everyone has to play harder, she told them. The guards need to spread out more.

It's not hard to imagine the reaction in most gyms. But instead of rolling their eyes and wondering who the new girl thought she was, Anna's teammates voted her captain a couple of weeks later.

"When I first met her, I was a little intimidated," says a teammate and one of the team's tri-captains. "She is very strong, she knows what she wants, and you just have to be a big enough person to handle it. There is something about her that just brings out our competitiveness and encourages us to do our best."

That is Anna's gift. But as her teammates came to know her, they discovered a different side to their new point guard. "She really is goofy," says a teammate, her backcourt mate, who also transferred to Bellevue as a senior. She has been known to imitate her teammates' dance moves in less-than-flattering fashion. Once, her Spanish teacher gave her a pie in school and Anna convinced a teammate that she was about to feed it to her. Then she smashed it on her face. She listens to an unhealthy amount of Justin Bieber, especially when she is behind the wheel of her car.

Still, those trips in her Mercedes are the only journeys she will take without a clear plan. There was another reason she moved to Washington, albeit one she feels less comfortable discussing: She wanted a better basketball experience. Collegiate School didn't offer the same level of competition as she found out West; to reach her goals, she needed to play with and against more talented players.

"I think she felt like she wasn't progressing as quickly as she wanted to, certainly at the beginning of [AAU] seasons," Harry says. "She felt like she had to catch up to the speed of the games. I think she really wanted to get a chance, when she goes to Stanford, to make sure her trajectory is on the right path athletically."

The move worked. A month ago, Anna led Bellevue to the 3A state championship, capping an undefeated season in which she averaged 15.3 points, 4.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game. Anna's job was to serve as the team's connective tissue, to get everyone the ball in the right spot, to keep the pace high, to keep the offense flowing. And just when the girl guarding her might begin to wonder what all the hype was about for a 5-foot-8 guard with a slight frame, she'd bust a 3-pointer in her face. The next trip down, Anna would cross her over to get into the lane, where she'd Eurostep around another defender and finish with a scoop layup, the motion impeccably fluid and efficient. And then that opponent would learn the same lesson as so many before her: Don't get between Anna Wilson and her goals.

Following Anna's freshman year, she was one of the last cuts from USA Basketball's U16 world championship team. The next summer, she returned to Colorado Springs for the U17 trials "and she had a plan," Harry says. "She knew who she needed to beat out. I got the impression that she highlighted two or three girls that she was going to need to work harder than in order to make the team. And lo and behold, she did exactly that and earned a spot on the squad."

When Anna visited Stanford as a high school freshman, she was surprised when the coaching staff asked about her grades rather than her jump shot. She had always assumed that basketball was all that mattered in recruiting. By this point, Anna already had scholarship offers from Maryland and Wake Forest, but Stanford's coaches told her that she was too young to receive an offer, and that they would need to monitor her academic progress. Instead of causing her to dismiss the Cardinal, that knowledge became motivation. "I went to my mom and said I'm going to do anything I have to do, academically, to get into Stanford," Anna says.

So when she got back to Virginia, she signed up for every AP class she could fit into her schedule. 

She started studying late into the night or, if she had an evening workout planned, she would rise at 4 the next morning to finish her homework. According to Tammy, at one point Anna kept three separate journals -- one for her personal goals, one devoted to her athletic pursuits and one that tracked her athletic accomplishments. "She's the ultimate perfectionist," Russell says.

Tammy can only marvel -- and chuckle -- at Anna's meticulousness. "Right now, she's working on this English paper," Tammy said over the phone earlier this month. "She will keep working on it until she gets every line to the best of her ability. The time she takes to write that first paragraph is amazing to me. She has to get that first paragraph just right."

It's a fine line, Anna knows, between striving for perfection and punishing yourself for failing to meet an impossible standard. She knows she is hard on herself -- probably too hard -- but that doesn't mean she is willing to change, not when there is so much left to accomplish.

"Growing up in a family that's had a quarterback, myself a point guard, leading has always just been something in our family," Anna says. "Not just in terms of sports, but life. If you want to do something special, you have to figure out a way to make other people believe that it's special. I don't know how exactly to explain it, but you can control what influences other people."

Anna thinks she might like to study environmental sciences at Stanford, the result of a transformative class she took at Collegiate. One of the primary themes of that course was the allocation of resources in developed and underdeveloped countries: Why don't nations with abundant resources use them more efficiently, particularly when they could aid those less fortunate? That conundrum resonated for Anna.

"I correlate that to your gift," Anna says. "If you have a gift, you don't want to abuse it or inefficiently use it, to where you're not cultivating your gift, not perfecting your craft. I don't know the full capacity of my gift. But I hope I don't have a cap or a limit on it."

Stanford's McDonald's All Americans talk about their earliest memories playing basketball

Maggie Hendricks,, March 30, 2016

The McDonald’s All American Game roster is full of accomplished seniors ready to play for the best teams in the NCAA, but at one time, they were just young kids learning to play the game.

Some of the players, got their start playing with their siblings.
Bellevue’s (Wash.) Anna Wilson first time on the court was with her brother, but it was before she was even on a team. She was just three years old.

“My brother Harry was in a game, and I had run on to the court in the middle of the game,” she said. 
“They were in transition, and Harry picked me up, ran me over to my mom and ran back into the game!”

For a few of the All Americans, their talent was evident early. DiJonai Carrington (Horizon Christian Academy, San Diego) tagged along as her parents coached a high school summer team during the summer before third grade, and begged to play on the short-handed team. Her mom said no, at first.

“A player fouls out. Another player fouls out. Another player fouls out. I said, wellll, you’re down to four, I’m here,” Carrington said. “I scored 18 points or something ridiculous. I was about to be a third grader, and I said, ‘You should have put me in earlier!’”

Other All Americans found their talent a bit later in their career. Nadia Fingall’s (Choctawhatchee, Fla.)  first team didn’t win a single game.

“I did everything for the jersey. When I got my first uniform, I put it on and I stood in front of the mirror for like, an hour. I was so happy to have the uniform,” she said.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stanford's trio of McDonald's All Americans continuing to build bonds

DiJonai Carrington (left) plays catch with a child during a visit to the Ronald McDonald House in downtown Chicago.

Maggie Hendricks,, March 28, 2016

Stanford is tied with Maryland for the most represented school among the girls players at this year’s McDonald’s All American Game, but DiJonai Carrington, Nadia Fingall and Anna Wilson will get to play together this week before they put on the Cardinal jersey.

The Stanford trio is all playing for the West.

“We all went on our visit together, and just coming together before we get to go, that’s going to make our bond stronger,” Fingall said. “Once we get to college, we’ll have memories we’ve already created.”

Carrrington is 6-foot guard from Horizon Christian Academy in San Diego, Wilson is a 5-7 point guard from Bellevue, Wash., and Fingall is a 6-2 center from Chocktawhatchee in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. They are Stanford’s first McDonald’s All Americans since Kailee Johnson and Erica McCall in the Class of 2013.

The Stanford recruiting class, ranked among the top 10, also includes Mikaela Brewer from Innisdale Secondary School in Barrie, Ontario, who is not an All American for obvious reasons.

The three already have a group chat going every time Stanford plays. Though they missed Stanford’s Elite Eight loss to Washington on Sunday because of a visit to the Ronald McDonald House, they are looking forward to ways they can contribute to the team next season.

“I’m an attacker. That’s not something they struggle with, but it’s something I could help them to improve on,” Carrington said. “We feel like we could bring athleticism and a lot more speed to the team. We’re all athletic and we like to run and play scrappy.”

For each one of the girls headed to Stanford, their choice was about more than basketball. The academic reputation of the school was a major factor. They want to study a wide array of subjects, and are all confident Stanford will help them.

“Sometimes I want to be an astronaut, or crazy, different things, but Stanford gives you the opportunity to try crazy different things,” Wilson said. “I won’t say I have a definite one, but some things that interest me are environmental science, or international relations.”

Carrington will study psychology with a minor in criminology, while Fingall plans on majoring in anthropology.

“I like to watch people. I like to see how they interact. With my  dad being in the military, going to airports all the time, I just sat there. I would think, I wonder what she does, what he does. It was really interesting. Studying societies is something I would love to do,” she said.

Even outside of individual majors, the players believe Stanford offer each a place to fit in.

“Having that culture where being a nerd isn’t a weird thing is something I’ve liked,” Finagle said. 

“Fitting in with people that have that same academic drive as you, and being on a team with girls that have that same academic drive, and athletic drive. You’re really around a lot of like-minded people who are determined and want to succeed.”

Said Wilson, “Mostly, it’s Stanford and its pursuit of excellence. It’s pretty awesome there.”