GIRLS BASKETBALL: Ranking the State of Michigan’s top 100 players for the 2018-19 season
Everyone else gives you 20 or 25 of the top players, but here at State Champs! Network, we believe more is more. With that in mind, here are capsules on the top 30 girls hoops players in Michigan for the 2018-19 season, the next 20 in order, and another 50 names to watch in alphabetical order at the end:
1. Rickea Jackson, Sr., W, 6-foot-3, Detroit Edison (Mississippi State)
The 2017-18 Gatorade Player of the Year, and one of 18 finalists for the Team USA U-17 at team trials over the summer, Jackson has helped the Pioneers go 44-6 over the last two seasons, winning back-to-back state titles, after losing in the first round of the MHSAA postseason her freshman year. Jackson is ranked No. 9 in the 2019 class by ESPNW, and the No. 2 wing player, making her the highest-ranked recruit ever signed by Mississippi State, last year’s NCAA runner-up, according to the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion Ledger.
“Rickea has the skill set to do it all,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer told the Clarion Ledger after she signed. “She is going to be fun to watch. Not only is Rickea very talented, but she is just a special kid who is driven. We are very excited about what Rickea has the ability to do for our program here at State.”
Having worked relentlessly to add ball-handling and long-distance shooting to her repertoire, Jackson can do a little bit of everything on the court, and is coming off a junior season where she averaged 21.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
2. Moira Joiner, Sr., G, 5-foot-10, Saginaw Heritage (Michigan State)
Joiner averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals as a junior, leading the Hawks to the Class A title, and earning herself Associated Press Class A Player of the Year honors.
Joiner can rebound, shoot, pass, defend and play either guard position, or post up as a forward. She’s ranked the No. 13 guard in the 2019 class by ESPNW, and the 57th-best player overall.
“Mo is a winner. She does the little things that don’t always show up on a stat sheet, but make a major impact on the game,” Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said of Joiner, after she signed. “She is a phenomenal leader with strong communication skills. She could consistently be a triple-double threat here at MSU because of her work ethic and her championship mentality.”
3. Alyza Winston, Sr., PG, 5-foot-7, Muskegon (Michigan State)
A lightning-quick point guard with the ability to handle the ball, dictate the tempo and distribute to teammates, Winston is ranked the No. 18 point guard in the 2019 class by ESPNW, and the No. 70 player overall.
Winston committed to (and signed with MSU) in October, after the Spartans weren’t in her final six as of August, but persistence paid off.
“Alyza is someone we have recruited since the seventh grade,” Merchant said of Winston after she signed. “End-to-end, she is one of the fastest kids that I will coach. As she has developed her basketball skill set, her quickness makes her unstoppable. Alyza makes everyone better with her IQ and vision of the game.”
She averaged 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season, once she got eligible for the Big Reds, after transferring from Muskegon Mona Shores.
4. Julia Ayrault, Sr., W, 6-foot-2, Grosse Pointe North (Michigan State)
The Spartans cleaned up in recruiting in the 2019 class, signing five players — including three of the top four in the state — to National Letters of Intent, giving them the No. 6-ranked recruiting class in the nation according to ESPNW.
A large part of that is the 6-2 mismatch problem that is Ayrault — she’s a guard in a forward’s frame that can slash to the hoop, pull up and knock down a shot, or set up her teammates.
"I think that Julia is the hybrid of the group. She reminds me of Annalise Pickrel in some ways. She is a kid who can play 1-4 (positions). She has a really smooth stroke and plays with a lot of poise,” Merchant said of Ayrault after she signed. “She is extremely versatile, and in our system we have great success with kids like her who can play multiple positions.”
She’s ranked the 14th-best wing in the 2019 class by ESPNW, and the No. 75 player overall, after averaging a school-record 19.1 points per game as a junior — along with 10.1 rebounds, 5.5 steals and 4 assists — in leading the Norsemen to the Class A final four. Ayrault came into the season already holding six individual school records.
5. Laya Hartman, Sr., W, 5-foot-11, Okemos (Northwestern)
Ranked the No. 28 guard in the 2019 class by ESPNW, Hartman was invited to try out for the USA U-16 women’s basketball program during preliminary trials this summer, after averaging 16.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as a junior.
“Laya Hartman epitomizes what we look for in a student-athlete and can play three different positions,” Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said after Hartman signed. “She has a great future here.”
Picked Northwestern over 16 other schools, including Tennessee, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Villanova and Michigan State, some of which had offered her scholarships before she ever suited up for the Chiefs. A three-time all-stater, Hartman has already scored more than 1,000 career points, and is a McDonald’s All-American nominee.
6. Destiny Strother, Sr., G, 5-foot-9, Flint Carman-Ainsworth (Marquette)
A three-time all-stater, and three-time all-Saginaw Valley League performer, Strother has been the main reason Carman-Ainsworth has been a large reason that the Cavaliers have been one of the top teams in not only the Saginaw Valley, but all of the state over the past three years.
Strother averaged 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.3 steals in leading the Cavs to a school-record 22 wins, and a berth in the regional finals opposite eventual Class A champ Saginaw Heritage.
Her biggest asset? Her long-range shooting.
"Destiny is a knock down lefty shooter," Marquette coach Carolyn Kieger said after Strother signed. "Having her on the court will make everyone better as defenses will have to respect her range. She is a strong competitor who loves to work! It will be a natural transition for Destiny to play in our up-tempo system. Destiny is a great culture player who understands the tradition of Marquette and she is excited to help build the future.”
7. Jeanae Terry, Sr., G, 5-foot-10, Wayne Memorial (Illinois)
Ranked as the No. 18 wing in the 2019 class by ESPNW, Terry was the co-pilot for the Zebras as a junior, complementing high-scoring Miss Basketball runner-up Camree’ Clegg as the two led Wayne to its first regional title and first appearance in the Class A final four. Terry averaged 17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game last year, but this year will be the No. 1 option for the Zebras.
“She is a high-energy guard with a high basketball I.Q,” Illinois coach Nancy Fahey said after Terry signed. “Jeanae has a great vision and the ability to play at a fast pace, which will fit perfectly into the style we look to play. Her passion and enthusiasm for the game are contagious.”
8. Gabby Elliott, Jr., W, 5-foot-10 Detroit Edison
Ranked as the No. 42 player overall, and No. 6 wing in the 2020 class by ESPNW, Elliott has been one of the mainstays for the Pioneers in their two straight Class C title runs. She averaged 16.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.2 steals per game as a junior.
It’s not much of a stretch to say that Edison might have the best player in each of the four high school classes with Jackson (senior), Elliott (junior), Damiyah Hagemann (sophomore) and Ruby Whitehorn (freshman).
9. Whitney Sollom, Jr., F/C, 6-foot-4 Hartland
After being a complementary piece to the Eagles’ older college-bound players her first two seasons, Sollom was primed for this year’s Hartland team to be her squad to lead. That’ll have to wait until she gets full clearance to get back on the floor (likely sometime this month) after a serious knee surgery in April.
But certainly that’ll end up being a speed bump in what has already been a solid career. Sollom averaged 11.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
“It’s a process. She’s gotten better as the year went on,” Hartland coach Don Palmer said after Sollom scored 22 points in the Eagles’ quarterfinal loss to Wayne, ending a stretch of three postseason games where she scored 65 points. “This kid probably, as she gets stronger and keeps working hard, she’ll pick her college; I think she’s that good.”
10. Jasmine Powell, Sr., PG, 5-foot-6, Detroit Country Day (Minnesota)
Like Terry and Sollom, Powell has waited her turn for the keys to her team, and now she has them as a senior. But she’s still been a key contributor to Country Day’s past two title runs, averaging 16 points per game as a junior.
"Jasmine is a pesky and relentless on-ball defender that adds great speed and athleticism to our guard position," first-year Minnesota coach (and former WNBA star) Lindsey Whalen said after Powell signed. "She comes with a championship pedigree in both her high school and AAU programs and will surely bring a winner’s mentality to our program."
Powell is ranked as the No. 23 point guard in the 2019 class, and No. 78 player overall. Her value to the Yellowjackets could be seen in the Best of Michigan Holiday Classic, when her first-half injury allowed Columbus (Ohio) Northland to come back from a 20-point first-half deficit and beat Country Day by seven.
11. Kate McArthur, Sr., G, 5-foot-8, Warren Cousino (Central Michigan)
A three-time all-stater, McArthur has scored more than 1,000 points in her first three years with the Patriots, helping them win the Class A title as a freshman in 2015-16.
Her future coach compared McArthur to a former two-time Mid-American Conference Sixth Person of the Year winner in her years with the Chippewas (2011-14).
"She reminds me of a smaller Taylor Johnson," Guevara said after McArthur signed. “She’s strong and a great 3-point shooter who can run the floor.”
McArthur originally committed to Clemson before reopening her recruiting, and switching to CMU.
McArthur averaged 17.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a junior, nailing 50 shots from 3-point range.
12. Shine Strickland-Gills, Sr., F, 6-foot-0, Saginaw Heritage (Central Michigan)
Along with Joiner, Strickland-Gills was a huge reason the Hawks were able to win last year’s Class A title — along with their third straight Saginaw Valley League title — as she averaged 12.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 steals as a junior.
"Shine will play in the post for us. Both her and (McArthur) have won a state championship in high school so they know how to win," Guevara said after Strickland-Gills signed. "Shine is a leaper and can help us set up the floor. She also has a real quick jumper and can play with her back to the basket.”
13. Jasmine Clerkley, Jr. PF, 5-foot-11, Okemos
Ranked as the No. 7 wing and No. 47 player overall in the 2020 class by ESPNW, Clerkley has double-digit offers from Division I schools. She was originally committed to Michigan State, before reopening her recruitment this fall.
Clerkley averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game as a sophomore, earning all-state honors.
14. Sydney Shafer, G, Sr., 5-foot-10, Jackson Northwest (Western Michigan)
Shafer helped lead the Mounties to their first-ever regional title in 2018, and all the way to the Class B title game, where they fell to Powell and Country Day.
"Sydney Shafer … is a versatile combo guard that we think can play either wing and could potentially play some point guard if needed,” Western coach Shane Clipfell said after Shafter signed. “She’s a highly competitive kid who puts in a lot of time in the gym on her own. She has a complete arsenal of offense that is highlighted by having really deep range as a shooter which complements her speed nicely. She knows how to compete to win and that is contagious.”
Shafer averaged 17 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game as a junior.
15. Bree Salenbien, Soph., W, 6-foot-2, Adrian Lenawee Christian
The versatile youngster can play any position on the floor, and earned Associated Class D Player of the Year honors after leading Lenawee Christian to its first state title. She attended U.S. National team trials in Colorado in the summer, as well, and was a standout on the summer AAU circuit when she returned.
Salenbien averaged 21.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.5 steals and 3.1 blocks per game as a freshman.
16. Makailah Griggs-Zeigler, Jr., W, 6-foot-0, Wayne Memorial (Michigan)
A matchup problem no matter where she plays — she’s bigger and stronger than most guards, and quicker than a lot of forwards — Griggs-Zeigler gave an early commitment to Michigan over the summer, after averaging 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Zebras, en route to the semifinals a year ago.
17. Molly Davis, Sr. G, 5-foot-7, Midland Dow (Central Michigan)
Averaging 17 points, 3.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game as a junior, en route to all-state honors, Davis is a top-notch shooter, and very hard to guard off the dribble.
"Molly is a point guard that brings a high-tempo style of play and is a real mentally tough kid," Guevara said after Davis signed. "She can shoot the ball, comes from a very good high school and AAU program and has played against some of the best in country. I think our fans are really going to love watching her play."
18. Elie Smith, Sr., W, 6-foot-1 Fowlerville (Cleveland State)
Smith averaged 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds as a junior, helping lead the Gladiators to their first district title in ages, and earning Class B all-state honors. She isn’t just a pasted-to-the-blocks post, though, with the ability to handle the ball in the open floor, distribute to teammates, and score off the dribble. She can also shoot the lights out, as evidenced by her 49 makes from 3-point range as a junior.
"Elie will play the three or four position for us, her length and size is an obvious mismatch for her opponents on both ends of the floor, which will be a great asset. Not only does Elie have the offensive skill set to score on the block, she has a consistent outside shot that really allows her to score from anywhere on the floor,” Cleveland State coach Chris Kielsmeier said after Smith signed. “Defensively, her length allows her to be a great rebounder and it also makes it difficult for opponents to score over her size. Elie loves to be in the gym, she never settles, and is always working to improve her game. That work ethic, combined with her competitive mentality will really allow her to be effective on both ends of the floor for us."
19. Damiya Hagemann, Soph., PG, 5-foot-7, Detroit Edison
Ranked as the No. 3 point guard in the 2021 class and No. 15 overall player by ESPNW, Hagemann earned first-team Class C all-state honors as a freshman, when she averaged 8.5 points and a completely astounding 11.5 assists per game. She can both create for her teammates or for herself, and is surrounded by a ton of weapons who can all score in bunches.
20. Kenzie Lewis, Jr., PG, 5-foot-10, Williamston (Bowling Green)
Lewis is a premier ball-handler and distributor, coming off a sophomore season where she averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 assists per game for the Hornets. On top of the pure point guard skills, she’s a very good outside shooter, and has the length to guard the opponent’s top wing or guard.
21. Cheyenne McEvans, Jr., G, 5-foot-10 Southfield A&T
There are few guards who can match McEvans both in size/length and in athleticism, using her great vertical to rebound and finish off the dribble. A three-year starter for the Warriors, she averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks, three assists and two steals as a junior, and has offers from a slew of Division I schools.
22. Mya Petticord, Fr., PG, 5-foot-8, Ypsi Arbor Prep
Holder of nine Division I offers before she ever suited up for the Gators, Petticord proved the early attention wasn’t off base, scoring 33 and 34 points in her first two games as a varsity player. Considered the best player in Michigan’s 2022 class, a young Arbor Prep squad will lean on her and Mahri Petree to score in bunches, if they’re to continue their recent postseason success.
23. Elise Stuck, Jr., F, 6-foot-1, Charlevoix
Stuck went over the 1,000-point plateau by the end of districts as a sophomore, a season in which she averaged 19.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 4.2 blocks and 3.9 steals en route to first-team all-state honors. The four-sport athlete, who has offers from Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Central Michigan and Western Michigan, among others, also excels in volleyball, soccer and track and field.
24. Sophia Wiard, Sr., G, 5-foot-8, Muskegon Oakridge (Toledo)
At the start of the season, Wiard had been on the floor for 42 of the 78 straight West Michigan Conference games that Oakridge has won, and had amassed 1,270 career points. She scored 23 points per game as a junior — a repeat of which will easily land her the school’s all-time scoring mark — leading Oakridge to a regional title for the first time since 1991-92. Wiard was all-state in softball as well as basketball last season.
25. Cameron Grant, Jr., F, 6-foot-1, Macomb Dakota
Already a gifted scorer and rebounder — Grant averaged a double-double as a sophomore, with 12 points and 10 rebounds per game — the 6-foot-1 wing will take over much of the ball-handling duties for the Cougars this season. She has more than 15 Division I offers on the table.
26. Hannah Spitzley, Jr., F, 6-foot-0, Pewamo-Westphalia (Western Michigan)
Spitzley averaged 10 points per game for P-W as a sophomore, but has far more value to the team than just her ability to put the ball in the hoop.
“She is one of the top defenders in the area and can guard every position and brings lots of energy on that end of the floor,” coach Steve Eklund said. “Offensively she can play inside or outside and should really help spread the floor with her ability to shoot from the outside as well as attack off the dribble.”
27. Soleil Barnes, Sr., G, 5-9, Southfield A&T (Toledo)
A transfer from Nordonia High in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, Barnes is a very strong rebounder for a guard, and is a good on-ball defender, but is a deadly 3-point shooter, as she displayed in the Best of Michigan Holiday Classic, when she scored 18 points to push her career total over the 1,000-point plateau.
28. Aaliyah Nye, Jr., G, 5-foot-11, East Lansing
As a sophomore, the athletic Nye was the second-leading scorer for the No. 1-ranked Trojans, notching 13.0 points, and a team-high 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game. She was also the only Trojan besides Miss Basketball Jaida Hampton to start every game on East Lansing’s run to the Class A title game.
29. Taylor Williams, Sr., F, 6-foot-2, Macomb Dakota (Western Michigan)
With the speed of a guard and length of a post player, Williams averaged 15.6 points, 11 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 3 assists per game as a junior, earning all-state honors for the Cougars.
“Taylor Williams … is a very mobile, long and versatile player who has been working hard in the weight room this fall which will really grow her game,” WMU’s Clipfell said after Williams signed. “She has the ability to guard all five positions and possibly play all five positions but will likely settle into the two through four position. She gives us some much-needed length on defense and we think she can really create some issues at the rim.”
30. Mahri Petree, Sr., W, 5-11, Ypsi Arbor Prep (Bradley)
The last of the Petree sisters off the Arbor Prep bench, Mahri got a late start to her senior season, dealing with a knee injury. She averaged 11 points and six rebounds as a complementary player a year ago, helping the Gators to their third straight title-game appearance, but will be much more of a primary weapon this year, along with Petticord, once she and the freshman build a chemistry.
31. Ruby Whitehorn, Fr., PG, Detroit Edison
32. Aaliyah McQueen, Jr., G, 5-9, Flint Carman-Ainsworth
33. Olivia Brown, Sr., G, 5-8, East Grand Rapids (St. Bonaventure)
34. Alexis Johnson, Sr., F, 5-10, Southfield A&T (Marshall)
35. Del’Janae Williams, Sr., G, 5-8, Detroit King (Indiana State)
36. Sophie Dziekan, Jr., F, Brighton (Bowling Green)
37. Kenzie Bowers, Soph., PG, 5-9, Kent City
38. Alona Blackwell, Sr, W, East Kentwood (Oakland)
39. Cara VanKempen, Sr., W, 6-1, Coopersville (Valparaiso)
40. Carly Crabtree, Jr., W, 5-10, Coldwater (Central Michigan)
41. Maddie Novak, Sr., W, 6-0, Detroit Country Day (Stetson)
42. Emily Coveyou, Sr., F, 6-0, St. Ignace
43. Mauriya Barnes, Sr., G, 5-5, East Kentwood (South Carolina State)
44. Adrian Folks, Sr., F, Detroit Country Day (Indiana State)
45. Maddie Voelker, Jr., G, Goodrich (Northwood)
46. Samantha Potter, Sr., F, Royal Oak (Northern Michigan)
47. Maizie Taylor, Sr., G, Midland Dow (Northwood)
48. Chloe Idoni, Sr., F, Fenton (Ferris State)
49. Daisy Ansel, G, Sr., 5-10, Comstock (Grand Valley State)
50. Rebecca Fugate, Sr., G, Holly (Wayne State)
The next 50 (in alphabetical order):
Zakiyyah Abdullah, Jr., G, 5-6, Niles Brandywine
Alyssa Argyle, Sr., G, 5-8, Freeland (Trine)
Claire Baguley, Sr., G, 5-11, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (Hope)
Imania Baker, Jr., F, 6-2, Haslett
Brittany Bowman, 5-4, Jr., G, Kingsley
Esther Byington, Sr., C, 6-3, Grand Haven (Northern Michigan)
Abrie Cabana, Soph., G, Grass Lake (Grand Valley)
Megan Crow, Soph., C, 6-3, Gladstone
Kailee Davis, Soph., G, 5-3, Detroit Renaissance
Lauren DeBeau, Sr., G, 5-5, Utica Eisenhower (CMU soccer)
Ellie Droste, Jr., G, 5-8, Pewamo-Westphalia
Rana Elhusseini, Sr., G, 5-2, Dearborn Fordson
Kailee Ford, Sr., G, 5-5, Walled Lake Western
Natalie Foster, Jr., C, 6-5, Mattawan
Kaybriana Hallman, So., PF, 6-3, East Kentwood
Jayah Hicks, Sr., SF, 6-1, Wayne Memorial (South Carolina State)
Jackie Jarvis, Sr., G, 5-6, Fowlerville
Eden Johnson, Sr., F, 6-2, Ann Arbor Huron
Adele Kemp, Sr., 5-8, Greenville (Northwood)
Alli Keyser, Sr., G, 5-7, Grand Haven (Northwood)
Sadie Knee, Sr., G, 5-7, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (Union)
Maddi Koski, Jr., G, 5-7, Ishpeming Westwood
Kelynn Kujat, Jr., G, 5-5, Frankenmuth
Avery Ledy, Sr., W, 5-11, Marquette
Mallory McCartney, Sr., G, 5-6, Saginaw Heritage (Ferris State)
Alana Micheaux, Jr., PF/C, 6-3, Wayne Memorial
Sarah Miller, Jr., G, 5-8, Birch Run
Hadley Miller, Jr., W, 5-11, Three Rivers
Sydney Mills, Sr., F, 5-11, DeWitt (Hillsdale)
Meg Morehouse, Sr., G, 5-8, Zeeland East (Hope)
Becca Morrish, Jr., C, 6-5, Flushing (Saginaw Valley)
Olivia Moore, Sr., G, 5-8, Birmingham Marian
Scout Nelson, Sr., G, 5-9, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart (Davenport)
Kelly Olthof, Sr., F/C, 6-0, Grand Haven (Lake Superior State)
Mattison Rayman, Sr., W, 5-11, Otsego (Lake Superior State)
Kelsey Richards, Jr., W, 6-0, Fruitport Calvary Christian
Lauren Ross, Jr., G, 5-10, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (Ferris State)
Sadre’a Rogueau, Sr., G, 5-6, Ypsilanti
Gabi Saxman, Jr., PG, 5-6, Schoolcraft
Bria Schrotenboer, Sr., G, 5-10, Hamilton
Allie Sherrer, Sr., G., 5-4, Williamston (Calvin)
Ella Stemmer, Soph., G, 5-10 Saline
Makenzie Todd, Sr., G, 5-7, Grand Ledge (Northwood)
Asaria Turman, Sr., F, 6-0, Ann Arbor Pioneer (Concordia)
Ally VanTimmeren, Soph., F, 6-2, Jenison
Shalauna Wagner, Jr., G, 5-8, Detroit Edison
Zara Weber, Sr., G, 5-9, Kent City
Alyssa Welsh, Jr., G, 5-8, Perry
Morasha Wiggins, Soph., G, 6-0, Kalamazoo Central
Jasmine Worthy, Jr., C, 6-3, Southfield A&T