Hardwood Heroes 2017 All-Future Teams< < Back to
Dick Vitale calls them “Diaper Dandies.”
Hardwood Heroes calls them “All Futures.”
Whatever they’re called, the young guns who light it up are sometimes the most fun to watch. Making a splash as an underclassman isn’t easy, so at the end of each season, Hardwood Heroes honors the best of them on its finale show.
Six up-and-coming stars, three boys and three girls, made the cut.
Laura Manderick – Freshman – Athens
In a word: scorer. Manderick burst onto the scene in game one, dropping 30 points in a win over Miller. She took control of that offense as a freshman and made it her own. Manderick can bring the ball up to set up the offense or create her own shot, often getting favorable looks. Athens’ ladies lacked a consistent scoring threat last season. This year, though their record didn’t quite reflect that fact, Manderick’s offensive firepower could make the Lady Bulldogs a contender in the coming years.
Rachael Adams – Sophomore – Waterford
The Lady Wildcats have perhaps two of the most talented girls in the area in Alli Kern and Megan Ball. But, you can’t win a ball game without the other three. Rachael Adams has been among those extra three all season long, and her strong minutes have added a much needed depth to the defending state champs. Adams is a scrappy wing who can play stout defense and rebound as well as chip in a couple buckets here and there. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that she gets to learn under the stars Kern and Ball each day.
Kelsi Casto – Sophomore – Eastern
Casto is a budding star in a system that’s used to big names. Whether Jenna Burdette or Laura Pullins, the Lady Eagles have always had a solid backbone, a role the sophomore could fill in the next few years. Coming off the bench, Casto provides a tough presence down low and a selfless style of play. Her finishing ability is one of her weaknesses on offense, but her ability to contribute in a successful offense by moving without the ball and finding an open teammate have been crucial assets. She has big shoes to fill, but don’t expect Casto to back down.
Yates truly is “little brother,” but he accepts the role graciously. Naylan, a junior, starred at the guard position for the Vikings all season long, but Nevan came off the bench of the TVC-Ohio champion team as a sophomore. He’s tough-nosed, sticking his hand into passing lanes, bodying up bigger matchups, and filling in whatever role his team needs. Yates needs to work a little on foot speed if he wants to be great, but he’s certainly good as a young gun. Chasing Naylan doesn’t hurt when it comes to finding motivation either.
Maxfield has mastered the art of taking a charge. As crazy as it sounds, that may be his biggest value to his squad. He’s an incredibly tough kid who will do whatever it takes to win, especially if it means being the tackling dummy for a driving opponent. The sophomore moves well without the ball, perfect for an offense run by facilitator Griffin Lutz. It will be interesting to see how he and the rest of the offense fill the void Lutz will leave, but Maxfield is a sturdy presence inside the perimeter for a team that will be looking for an answer.
Side note: by far my favorite name on either of Hardwood Heroes’ postseason lists. Markins-Irwin was the Spartans’ third best scoring option behind Chace Harris and Luke Kish, not too shabby as a sophomore on a rebuilding team. The year was tough for Alexander after losing eight seniors in 2016. Markins-Irwin, as a young forward, became a viable option as the year progressed, proving to be a solid finisher around the rim. And with a year of experience under his belt now, he could be prime and ready to rock it for next season.
These guys and gals didn’t quite make the All-Hero list. But that’s okay.
They’re young, which is also okay. These players are perhaps the best examples of how beneficial a year in a system can be for rising stars. Bright futures are built today, and today, Hardwood Heroes has its eyes on these six.