Local high school basketball seniors, juniors and JUCO athletes showcase their skills to HBCU coaches for sports scholarships.
LYNWOOD, CALIF.— During a scrimmage before her basketball season started last year, Briliyah Taylor suffered an ACL injury at a JUCO in Colorado.
The former Lynwood High star point guard, who is still recovering from injury, made her first return to the floor at a recruitment event Saturday and Sunday. She gutted it out at the 2nd annual HBCU Girls Basketball showcase.
At the ended of the two-day event, she, along with two of her former high school teammates who led the Lady Knights to a CIF Regional Championship in 2021, were acknowledge as top-five performers.
Throughout the All-Star game, Taylor managed the floor well, doing all the little things college coaches look for from point guards, playing solid defense, seeing the floor well and passing the ball to her teammates for jumpers or layups. She knocked down 3s, hit short range jumpers and drove the lane for layups. Down the stretch she kept her team from losing in regulation and overtime.
“I have some much passion and love for the game, I couldn’t let my injury stop me from play,’’ Taylor said. “It was a great experience. It was great energy just to come out and play in front of college coaches. The competition was good, not matter the level.
“Not being recruited made me want to grind harder. I work out every day. I am in the gym. I want to show everybody what I am capable of doing,’’ she said.
It wasn’t easy. Kimberly Cruz, who came off the bench to back up Taylor for Lynwood, surprised everyone. The 5-foot-2 point guard came out of her shell in the waning minutes of both stanzas. She played in-your-face defense, made precision passes to her teammates for layups, knocked down two 3-point jumpers, one that tied the game up to send her team in to overtime. She even delivered another step-back 3-pointer to help her team go up. For her performance, college coaches selected her MVP.
“It was a great experience,’’ she said. “I am really happy that I came.”
Jada Turner, who competed at a JUCO track meet on Saturday, earned defensive recognition. Coaches loved her defense. At Harbor College this past season, she averaged 25.4 points per game (3rd in California Community College Athletic Association) and 112 steals (6th). One coach said no one could get past her on the floor.
Chloe McNellie, from Twenty-nine Palms High, also made a big impression on coaches. The shooting guard shot the ball well from the perimeter and scored on driving layups in and through traffic.
“It’s been a pleasure coming out here and playing in front of college coaches, getting noticed,’’ she said. “The exposure is (tremendous). I am having so much fun.”
“I am being recruited out here. It’s a lot of decisions I have to make,’’ she continued. “This probably one of the best showcase I’ve ever been to.’’
Delilah Kimble-Gray , who was a scoring machine, found the mark often to be selected as one of the top five players. The 5-footo-6 combo guard, who graduated from East LA College with a degree in business and Kinesiology and former Narbonne player, said, “The recruitment process is definitely fun. You have all the coaches calling. You see your hard work (paying off).’’
In addition to HBCU, Humboldt State, Chico State and Cal State Bakersfield are recruiting the former Huskie.