High School Sports

Holit, Caldwell shine at Select 60 Showcase

Aleah McNeal runs the ball after a rebound in the Select 60 Showcase at Rocky River High School in Charlotte, Saturday, March 28, 2015.
Aleah McNeal runs the ball after a rebound in the Select 60 Showcase at Rocky River High School in Charlotte, Saturday, March 28, 2015. jkomer@charlotteobserver.com

The area’s top girls basketball players filled Rocky River’s gym Saturday for the Select 60 Showcase, an invitation-only camp in its second year. The event began with registration at 8 a.m. and ran until 3:30 p.m., as players competed in five-on-five action, skill sessions and one-on-one drills. The players were ranked from 1-60 at the end of the day, with sophomore Maya Caldwell of Davidson Day and sophomore Mahaley Holit of Central Cabarrus among the top three.

The opportunity to compete against top peers in front of several college scouts and coaches motivated Holit and the other participants.

“It just makes me want to work harder,” Holit said. “It makes me want to go back in the gym and get more shots up than I have and work harder.”

Holit’s effort caught the attention of Ashley Rivens, a former Georgia Southern player who coached up the participants. Rivens, who put together the ranking, highlighted the 5-foot-4-inch guard’s ability to distribute the ball and intensity.

“I know Mahaley can score, but Mahaley understood how to get the ball to her teammates,” Rivens said. “She just attacked. I’m talking about on offense and on defense. She ... just attacked them.”

Rivens said of Caldwell, “She’s extremely competitive, but I’ve never really seen her go at someone who really played some great defense on her. From the jump, it kind of caught her off guard, but she stepped up and she played an all-around game. I was impressed. She can go.”

Two of the event’s organizers, Rocky River boys coach Oscar Walker and South Meck girls coach Christie Mitchell, described Select 60 as a way to increase exposure for top girls players.

“I definitely see the Select 60 growing,” Mitchell said. “This year we had to turn away a lot of kids. … There were right at 60 kids here today. And every kid has an opportunity to play at the next level, at some level.”

One memorable aspect of the afternoon came during the lunch break, when the players were treated to a speech from former UNC Charlotte coach Ed Baldwin, now an assistant with the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock. Caldwell said that Baldwin delivered an impactful message.

“I definitely got that someone’s working just as hard as you, if not harder, so you have to put in all the work you possibly can,” Caldwell said. “It impacted me a lot. After his speech, I reconsidered a lot of things about the way I practice, how much I get in the gym.”

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