Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kiana Helps Wagner Strike Fast


Wagner's Kiana Williams drives the ball upcourt during their District 27-6A girls basketball game with Steele at Wagner on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. Williams led all scorers with 24 points to help Wagner beat Steele 68-51. 

Jeff B. Flinn, mysanantonio.com, December 21, 2016

Kiana Williams scored 24 points as the Wagner Lady Thunderbirds ran their record to 13-2 with a convincing 68-51 win in their 27-6A opener over the Steele Lady Knights.
Williams scored 10 of Wagner’s 20 first-quarter points in staking the Thunderbirds to an eight-point lead entering the second period of play.   With a 14-3 run gave Wagner a 39-20 lead that was never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
“We came in with a game plan of making sure we stayed focused and playing one possession at a time,” first-year Wagner head coach Jeff Ogden said after the Dec. 16 win. “We wanted to limit their transition buckets, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”
Wagner (13-2, 1-0 in 27-6A) closed the first quarter on a 6-1 run. Williams hit two baskets — one driving the length of the court for a layup, the other on an offensive rebound of her own missed shot — for the 20-12 lead.
“We wanted to make sure we put pressure on them early. We didn’t want to come out flat, so we had an emphasis of attacking them early, and we did a great job of that,” Ogden said.
The Thunderbirds turned up the pressure in the second quarter. 
Williams then grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled one step and launched a full-court pass to a streaking teammate, who didn’t even have time to dribble before laying the ball off the glass and in.
“Kiana is a great leader,’ Ogden said. “She did some things in the game tonight without even telling me, and that’s what great leaders do. We ask her to lead off the court as well as on. She’s like an assistant coach out there.”
After trading baskets, Wagner was up 39-20 with 2:28 to play before half. Steele (15-5, 0-1) would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
“They made their push in the second half. Our girls were very poised and stayed in—the-moment,” Ogden said. “We called a time out, settled things down, made a few adjustments and won the game.
“Against a great team like Steele, you can’t give up. You have to coach to the end. If I let up on them, then I’m letting them down,” he added.
Wagner next travels to East Central for a 7 p.m. tip Wednesday before returning home Dec. 30 for a 1 p.m. tip-off against the New Braunfels Canyon Cougars.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

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




gostanford.com, 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, ruleoftree.com, 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


gostanford.com, 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.

gostanford.com, 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, espn.com, 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, espn.com, 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, usatodayhss.com, 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, usatodayhss.com, 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.”

McDonald's All-American DiJonai Carrington emerges from ACL injury with stronger game and outlook


DiJonai Carrington competes in the girls three-point contest 

Maggie Hendricks, usatodayhss.com, March 29, 2016

McDonald’s All-American DiJonai Carrington has already faced more injuries in her high school years than most athletes have to deal with in an entire career. The Horizon (San Diego) High School star tore her ACL in her left leg in 2013, and then in the August of 2015, she tore her other ACL.

Somehow, she has emerged from these two injuries with an attitude that belies her 18 years. 

Carrington had set a goal to play in the Jordan Brand Game and the McDonald’s All-American Game—which tips Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago—and she was not going to let another injury stop her.

“I saw what I wanted, and I knew that if I didn’t do what it takes to get there, I’m never going to be happy. I want to be happy! It’s what I need to do to be happy for myself and to feel like I didn’t cheat myself, because I know my potential,” Carrington said.

In 2013, Carrington said she knew her ACL was torn when she went down. But she had no idea her leg was so badly injured the second time around because she walked off the court. She said she wasn’t prepared for the news.

“I was devastated. I had just come back, I was almost two years out,” the Stanford signee said. “I hadn’t prepared myself mentally. I wasn’t ready.”

She had seven months to get back, and attaining those goals meant she had to focus in on rehab and training, and work on the mental side of coming back as well.

“I really had to dial in to physical therapy every day, go seeing my trainer, and doing a lot of mental work. I had to talk to myself. Did a lot of scripture reading,” Carrington said.

But her injury also allowed her to develop new aspects to her game. Carrington was not limited to taking threes and driving to the basket any more.

“I had to shoot mid-range because I couldn’t do anything else. I had time to develop and shoot and learn new things,” she said. “I’ve learned how to control my body a lot better. When I go to the basket, I don’t fall down as much. I have a strong body, and now I can use it to get in at the defender and still stay on my feet.”

Now, she’s headed to Stanford with fellow All-Americans Nadia Fingall and Anna Wilson confident she did everything she could to meet her goals.

“If I would have sold myself short, and would have done the typical rehab, I would not be here right now. I wouldn’t have been able to come back in the season and play in any games, I wouldn’t play in the Jordan, I wouldn’t be ready for Stanford,” Carrington said.

Stanford signee Anna Wilson discusses how big brother Russell has influenced her


Anna Wilson led Bellevue (Wash.) High School to a state title earlier this month

Maggie Hendricks, usatodayhss.com, March 28, 2016

McDonald’s All-American Anna Wilson is headed to Stanford and has represented the USA at the U17 World Championships and starred at Bellevue (Wash.) High School. It turns out achievement runs in the family, as Wilson is the younger sister of Russell Wilson, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks.

The resemblance between the two is evident, especially when she smiles. When you look at both Anna and Russell’s Instagram account, you see how proud they are of each other. Anna said she learned from what he has done to accomplish his goals.

“He’s always been really supportive. My whole family’s been really supportive. I’m learning a lot from watching how he grows, and seeing things in the way he works that I can implement in my own work style,” Wilson said.

Her brother was recently engaged to singer Ciara. Anna has accompanied Russell and Ciara on visits to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, and she is a fan of her sister-in-law-to-be.

“She’s pretty cool. She’s really down to earth, and it’s really cool to have someone with her status who is so down to earth,” Wilson said.

Those visits to the hospital, and Sunday’s visit to the Ronald McDonald House with the rest of the All-Americans, have reminded her to be thankful for what she has.

“I’ve gotten a whole different perspective. I think the biggest thing is the experience has been something of an eye-opener,” Wilson said. “Seeing people in that kind of situation, seeing how blessed I’ve been, it’s always made me a little bit more grateful, a little bit more thankful for the opportunities for stuff like this.”

DiJonai Named All-Academic Team Captains: winter sports


Horizon Christian senior DiJonai Carrington, a McDonald's All-American on the basketball court, will attend Stanford. 

P. K. Daniel, sandiegouniontribune.com, March 28, 2016

Challenges met in class and on the field.

DiJonai Carrington has been selected as one of eight San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic Team Captains for the winter sports.

The Captain’s plaque represents each sport’s Academic Athlete of the Year. In Sunday’s editions, the Union-Tribune recognized 3,995 high school juniors and seniors as members of the All-Academic Team for maintaining a 3.0 or higher cumulative, weighted GPA while playing a California Interscholastic Federation-approved varsity sport. Selection of the Captains, made by the U-T staff, was based on academic and athletic achievement and overall leadership.

Girls basketball
DiJonai Carrington, Horizon Christian
Despite tearing her right ACL, which required three surgeries this summer, the back-to-back All-Academic Team Captain averaged 18.8 points and 13.5 rebounds in 20 games this season. Carrington missed the first two months of school while recovering. While virtually teaching herself, the McDonald’s All-American still managed to bump her GPA from 4.1 to 4.53 while taking several AP and honors classes.

“That was the scariest time of my life because I was unsure what the future held,” Carrington said.

The senior all-CIF pick fielded several Division I offers but committed to Stanford, her dream school since attending a summer basketball camp there in seventh grade. While the 6-foot guard plans on majoring in psychology, she’d like to be a sports broadcaster. She also has dreams of playing in the WNBA, as well as overseas.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Trio To Jordan Brand Classic



gostanford.com, March 15, 2016

Incoming freshmen DiJonai Carrington, Nadia Fingall and Anna Wilson were three of 24 players selected for the Jordan Brand Classic, which tips April 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The three future Cardinal, who signed with Stanford in November, all landed on the 12-member West Team. The trio is also on the West Team for the 15th annual McDonald’s All American Game on March 30 in Chicago.

Carrington (San Diego, Calif./Horizon Christian Academy), Fingall (Navarre, Fla./Choctawhatchee) and Wilson (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) will be the first to represent Stanford at the event, now in its second year on the women’s side.

The trio will join the Cardinal for the 2016-17 season along with fellow prep standout Mikaela Brewer (Barrie, Ontario/Innisdale Secondary School). Collectively, Stanford’s class is rated No. 9 by espnW HoopGurlz and No. 7 by Prospects Nation.

A versatile perimeter performer, Carrington is a five-star talent rated as the 34th best player in the country according to espnW HoopGurlz and 16th by Prospects Nation. Last Monday, she was named MaxPreps/WBCA High School Player of the Week for Region 8 after totaling 45 points, 19 rebounds, three assists, two steals and blocked one shot against Eastlake in the CIF San Diego Section Division I semifinals. She played in 20 games for Horizon this season and averaged 18.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 blocks.

Fingall is a certifiable blue-chip prospect ranked 26th in the nation by espnW HoopGurlz and the seventh-best forward. The five-star post also checks in at No. 23 overall and No. 4 at her position according to Prospects Nation. The 6-foot-4 Fingall was named Florida’s Miss Basketball earlier this month. She averaged 18.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.0 blocks per game this season in leading the Choctaw to a 26-6 record and a spot in the 2016 FHSAA Girls Basketball 6A State Championships final four.

Wilson, a 5-foot-8 guard from Bellevue, Washington, will give Stanford another dynamic player in the backcourt and is rated as the 58th overall player in the class of 2016 by espnW Hoopgurlz and 34th by Prospects Nation. A 2014 USA Basketball gold medalist, she averaged 15.3 points to go with 4.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 steals in leading the Bellevue Wolverines to a perfect 29-0 record and a Washington 3A state title. Last week she was named Naismith Trophy High School All-America honorable mention.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

DiJonai Selected to 2015-16 All-CIF San Diego Section girls basketball team





sandiegouniontribune.com, March 12, 2016

Selected under the auspices of the San Diego Hall of Champions

FIRST TEAM
DiJonai Carrington | Horizon | Sr.

Fingall earns MVP as East sweeps West





BRIAN ACHATZ, pnj.com, March 11, 2016

The East reigned supreme in the 2016 Subway High School All-Star Series — sweeping the West on the big night for the top seniors in the three-county area.

Choctaw’s Nadia Fingall surprised few in the audience when she took home MVP honors for the East, just weeks after being named Miss Basketball for Florida.

Fingall (20 points) utilized her scoring abilities in a wide variety of ways.

“(Fingall) really deserved the MVP award (for the East team). She got me a few times. She was a great all around scorer. 

Monday, March 07, 2016

DiJonai Named WBCA High School Player of the Week

wbca.org, March 7, 2016

The WBCA has announced its High School Players of the Week presented by MaxPreps for the week ending Sunday, March 6.

In its inaugural year the WBCA High School Player of the Week is presented to a deserving student-athlete who demonstrated outstanding play throughout the week. Head coaches submit nominations each week and the WBCA selects the individual based on stats that were submitted.

Region 8 
Dijonai Carrington, a 6-foot senior from Horizon Christian Academy in San Diego, California, notched 45 points, 19 rebounds, three assists, two steals and blocked one shot in the Panthers only game of the week.  The 45 points is a season high for Carrington.

Anna Named to Naismith All-American Squad



usatodayhss.com, March 7, 2016

Anna Wilson, a senior from Bellevue (Wash.) who’s signed with Stanford, made the honorable mention squad.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Anna and Bellevue caps perfect season with a state title




Bellevue point guard Anna Wilson drives up court against Arlington’s player in the 3A Girls title game

Matt Massey, seattletimes.com, March 5, 2016


Late Saturday night as top-ranked Bellevue secured the school’s second state title in girls basketball by cruising past Arlington, 69-40, in the Class 3A state title game at the Tacoma Dome.

The Wolverines, who claimed their second title in school history. They last won one in 1975.

“I’m so happy, because we’ve been working so hard all season and undefeated all season, so why give up now,”

“We have a lot of scorers on our team, and everywhere can score on our team so I wasn’t too worried about scoring.”

Bellevue (29-0) blew the game open with a 22-4 run to begin the second half that gave the Wolverines a 63-28 lead with 5:53 to play.

Bellevue reached the title game by winning what everyone was calling a championship-caliber semifinal Friday, turning back second-ranked Lynnwood 73-60 with a strong contribution from its bench.

On Saturday, Stanford women’s coach Tara VanDerveer was in the crowd watching Cardinal commit Anna Wilson, who finished with five points, six assists and five rebounds.

The Wolverines fell behind early 4-3 after starting the game 1 of 6 from the field, but went on a 5-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. That lead grew to 14-8 by the end of the first period as the Eagles never could find their shooting touch.

The Bellevue lead stretched to 22-8 with a 12-0 surge. 

Bellevue expanded its lead to 35-24 by halftime. 

The Wolverines closed out the half on a 6-0 run.

After going down 10 points midway through the second quarter, Arlington closed the gap to 29-24 with 2:09 to go in the first half.

The Eagles’ fullcourt pressure defense caused Bellevue fits in the first half, and the Wolverines turned the ball over 12 times in those two periods.

Before Saturday, the Wolverines won their only state title in girls basketball in 1975 when the state tournament included all classifications.

Bellevue finished fifth in 3A last season, third in 3A in 2014 and fifth in 3A in 2013.

“We’ve come up short every year and we’ve been working so hard this year to just finish, finally,” 

Arlington returned to the state title game for the second time in the last four years.

“It’s a magical season,” Eagles coach Joe Marsh said. “These (nine senior) girls for four years they got (to the state tournament), which is hard to do. Incredible.”

Anna and Bellevue knocks off defending champ Lynnwood, 73-60





Sandy Ringer, seattletimes.com, March 4, 2016


On a team full of mega-stars, the supporting cast made the biggest difference as top-ranked Bellevue beat No. 2 Lynnwood, 73-60, in the semifinals of the Class 3A state girls basketball tournament Friday at the Tacoma Dome.

But her teammates have seen in it, and so has coach Leah Krautter.

“We knew we had some girls who could come in and contribute, and they did,” Krautter said. “They came in and hit clutch shots.

And, finally, Bellevue is in the championship game after falling short the previous three years. The Wolverines (28-0), who lost to Lynnwood 63-37 in last year’s semifinals, play in Saturday’s 9 p.m. final against the winner of the late semifinal between No. 3 Arlington and Kamiakin of Kennewick.

There had been debate all season about who should be No. 1, Bellevue or Lynnwood, which had won 33 in a row dating back to last season. The Wolverines answered that, emphatically.

“We felt like we had something to prove,” Krautter said.

The Wolverines showed their balance, and depth, especially when point guard Anna Wilson — who has signed with Stanford — got in early foul trouble.

Wilson, who moved from Virginia this school year to be closer to her brother, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, still finished with a team-best 16 points.

“This was the biggest game of the season,”  “Probably the biggest game of our high-school career….We just really played our hearts out today. We all showed tremendous effort. Everyone played together as one team, and when we do that it’s like magic.”

“The energy level of our whole team was amazing.”

Lynnwood (25-1), which plays the Arlington-Kamiakin loser for third and fifth places Saturday at 1 p.m., never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

Fingall awarded Florida's Miss Basketball


Choctaw senior Nadia Fingall goes up for a shot challenged by Fort Myers' player during the 6A Girls state semifinals game in Lakeland.

Seth Stringer, nwfdailynews.com, March 4, 2016

Nadia Fingall carries a lot of monikers.

McDonald’s All-American is one.

All Sports Association Scholastic Female is another.

How about Back-to-back Daily News Basketball Player of the Year, an honor preceding this year's Athlete of the Week honor?

Oh, yeah, don’t forget blue-chipper, a label earned by her five-star, 97 scout grade on ESPN that has her ranked as the seventh best forward in the nation.

Of course that beget her label as a Stanford signee.

On Friday the 6-foot-4 Choctaw senior added another sobriquet to the mix: Florida’s Miss Basketball.
“It’s truly an honor to represent my family, school and state as Miss Basketball,” Fingall said. “I had some stiff competition from some equally amazing young women, all of whom I’ve played with or against.”

Stiff competition, indeed.

Fingall, on the heels of a campaign where she averaged 18.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.0 blocks per game in leading the Indians to a 26-6 record and a spot in the 6A final four, totaled 115 points to finish just ahead of 2A POY and University of Louisville signee from Florida A&M (111) and 8A POY and Yale University signee of Vero Beach (108).


It was the closest vote in the 24-year history of the Miss Basketball award, and Fingall’s 21-point, 15-rebound, five-assist effort in a final four loss likely left an indelible last impression on The Florida Dairy Farmers High School Sports Awards program voting panel.





Thursday, March 03, 2016

All in the family: Anna Wilson shoots for championship of her own



GABE COHEN AND VIENNA CATALANI, komonews.com, March 3, 2016

A rising star from Bellevue High School is playing in the first round of the WIAA girls' state tournament at the Tacoma Dome on Thursday.

"My brother is Russell Wilson so, so that's pretty awesome," Anna Wilson tells KOMO News.

Anna - sister to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson - is leading her team with hopes of winning the Wolverine's first Class 3A state championship in decades.

"I try to stay focused on basketball. I watch Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant," Anna says. "I want to grow everyday, be better, and be a great teammate."

The 18-year-old point guard moved to Bellevue her senior year from Richmond, Virginia.
"I feel right at home, my brother is here," Anna says. "I love it here, it's so different, everyone can be their own kind of person."

Anna already has one gold medal for playing with the 2014 USA Women's Under-17 team, and was voted MVP after helping Bellevue earn a title in the Nike Tournament of Champions. She's following in her brother's footsteps, and lets her athleticism speak for itself.

"For a while I thought I lived in my brother's shadow, but I don't think I live like that anymore. I have my own personal accomplishments," Anna says. "Having a brother like that makes me competitive. I want to win at everything."

Anna is headed to Stanford University on scholarship, and hopes to one day play in the Women's National Basketball Association.

"I'm gonna be a great student most importantly," Anna says. "I'm gonna be the best I can everyday."

Before that, she'll be competing with her high school team starting Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.

"We're gonna have some good games this weekend, so I'm excited," Anna says. "I'm never really nervous for games, I'm always prepared."

Eastlake has an answer for DiJonai and Horizon



Steve Brand, hs.utpreps.com, March 1, 2016

Eastlake offset a 45-point, 17-rebound effort from Stanford University-bound Dijonai Carrington to pull away from the visiting Panthers 83-73 in the girls basketball semifinals.

Although No. 5 Horizon (19-12) managed to trim the lead inside double digits three times, the Titans always had an answer.

As for Carrington, her high school career ended in frustration, just as it did a year ago when the Panthers won the Division I title only to be left out of the state playoffs. But she did everything she could with an injured knee that left her “about 70 percent,” according to her mother and coach, Vickie Carrington.

“Hey, props to her, she’ll do big things, you can just see that,”  “She’s one of those players.”

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Well-Read Recruit Nadia Fingall Prepares For Next Chapter



Walter Villa, espn.go.com, February 25, 2016

Nadia Fingall will be donning a McDonald's uniform before settling into her Stanford jersey.

Nadia Fingall was 9 when she was awarded her first basketball uniform, a red and blue jersey with shorts to match. She accessorized with a black and white headband.

"I was decked out to the max," Fingall said. "The first day I got it, I stood in front of the mirror for 30 minutes, dancing around. I was elated."

That's exactly how coaches feel these days when they know Fingall will wear their uniforms.

That goes for the coaches at Choctawhatchee (Fort Walton Beach, Florida), where Fingall, 17, finished her high school career at the state Final Four last weekend, leading the Indians to an 83-11 record in her three years.

And that's also true at Stanford, where Fingall, a 6-foot-3 forward, will play her college ball.
Fingall, the No. 26 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100,  had 21 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and three steals in a 62-51 Class 6A state semifinal loss to Fort Myers last Friday in her final high school game.

A voracious reader with an extensive vocabulary, Fingall analyzed the defeat in her typical astute fashion.

"We had too many turnovers," Fingall said. "We were handling the pressure effectively at the start. But we succumbed to their pressure late in the game."

Indeed, Fort Myers, the eventual state champion, outscored the Indians 20-6 to close the game.
But the loss doesn't take away from Fingall's excellent season, during which she averaged 18.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

"She's the full package," Indians coach Don Brown said. "She's all business on and off the court. There are times she stays up to 3 or 4 in the morning doing homework. She's going to be a great leader for Stanford."

Taught by dad

Fingall is the oldest of five siblings. Her parents are Andrew, who was born in Grenada, and Sydonne, who is from Jamaica.

Andrew, a captain in the U.S. Air Force who has been deployed to Afghanistan twice within the past few years, taught his daughter the finer points of basketball.

It wasn't an easy undertaking at first.

"I wasn't the most athletic kid," Fingall said. "I was awful. I was so bad -- you don't understand."
Fingall admits her first motivation with basketball was social. Making friends was important to the daughter of a military man who moved the family a good bit as he got assigned to different posts.

After a while, though, Fingall wanted more out of basketball than just hanging out with her buddies, and she joined the Cal Storm travel team at age 11.

When Andrew, who stands 6-feet-7 and played forward at George Mason before a two-year pro career in China and Luxembourg, saw she was serious about the sport, he jumped in, too. Juggling his busy schedule with the Air Force, Andrew started what soon became a tradition with his daughter: 5 a.m. basketball workouts at whatever gym they could find.

"5 a.m. was a magical time for us," Andrew said of the father-daughter bonding. "Later in the day was hectic. But that was our little block of time."

Nadia said the early wake-up calls were difficult.

"Even if I didn't want to go, I knew it would make me better," she said. "Those 5 a.m. workouts are what helped me the most in my career -- just having that routine and bringing my weaknesses to the table."

When the Fingalls moved from California to Florida, Nadia, who was entering ninth grade at the time, joined the Florida Essence club team.

Essence coach Kim Davis, who had been alerted to Fingall by George Quintero of the Cal Storm, was taken by the freshman's try-harder attitude.

"I saw a young lady with a craving to get better," Davis said. "She never thought she was any good, and she still works like she's the underdog. That's a good thing."

"She never thought she was any good, and she still works like she's the underdog. That's a good thing." Kim Davis on Nadia Fingall




Recruiting battle

Given her size, skills and 4.58 GPA, Fingall was a popular recruiting target before narrowing her list to Stanford, Florida, Penn State, Oklahoma and Florida State.

Harvard, Vanderbilt and Tennessee also called last summer, but by that time, Fingall had lined up her visits to those five finalists.

Davis said she was with Fingall this past September at a showcase in Daytona Beach, Florida. As the story goes, there were about 150 college coaches and 250 high school prospects at the showcase, and many of the observers came away in awe of Fingall.

"In between sessions, Nadia was studying her physics book," Davis said. "A couple of coaches told me Nadia was their favorite player for that reason alone.

"Nadia is always stressing about a test. Then she gets an 'A' on her exam."

One month after the showcase, Fingall committed to Stanford.

The stellar Cardinal class includes 5-8 guard Anna Wilson from Bellevue, Washington; 6-0 guard DiJonai Carrington from Horizon (San Diego, California) and 5-10 guard Mikaela Brewer from Barrie, Ontario (Canada). Wilson, whose brother Russell is the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, and Carrington, the daughter of a former NFL defensive back, will team with Fingall on the West squad at the March 30 McDonald's All American Game in Chicago.

"When we found out we would be playing together, we were stoked," Fingall said of the McDonald's game. "It will be great to play together before we are officially teammates.

"Anna is a cerebral point guard who is a confident leader and an amazing passer. DiJonai is a big guard who rebounds well and has good range and accuracy. Mikaela is long, quick and athletic -- she can shoot the 3 and attack the basket.

"I think I fit in as an anchor in the post. I am working on my perimeter game to be as versatile as possible."

Stanford is known for its academic excellence, but Fingall figures to handle the rigors of the school just fine.

"Academics is my first love," said Fingall, who is interested in studying anthropology. "Aside from what we have to do for school, I try to read two or three books a month on my own."

One summer, Fingall read the entire "Hunger Games" trilogy in less than 48 hours.

"A book leaves more to the imagination than a movie," Fingall said. "It draws you in more."
As a lover of books, Fingall knows the final chapter of her high school career has now been written, and her tears "really flowed" in the locker room after her final game.

"I was disappointed we lost," Fingall said. "But I don't think I could be disappointed with the season we had. We didn't have a deep squad, and we had some internal dynamics that didn't go our way. But I'm at peace with it. ..."

Ready to try on that next uniform.