Terps Hoops Commits Shine at Rose Classic

TT caught up with Kenneth Pannell, of the famed Rose Classic of New York, for his thoughts and observations on Maryland's three women's basketball commitments that shined in his tournament last week, with Terps commit Kiah Gillespie taking home MVP honors.

Terrapin Times caught up with Kenneth Pannell, of the famed Rose Classic of New York, for his thoughts and observations on Maryland 's three women's basketball commitments that shined in his tournament in late October, with Terps commit Kiah Gillespie taking home MVP honors.

TT: You got to see the three Maryland commits, Bri Fraser, Kiah Gillespie and Blair Watson, play in the Rose Classic this fall. What were your impressions?

Pannell: All three played in our Fall Rose Classic event. Three very talented ladies who are also very good individuals. Each brings a different skill set, Fraser a good stretch-four that is long and plays good help defense; Watson has great size for the wing position, shoots the ball extremely well and rebounds well from the wing; Gillespie has many tools, best utilized as a guard/wing that can score from numerous positions, rebounds well, high ball IQ and has a winner's mentality.

TT: For people not from New York, what is the Rose Classic, the history? How do players get involved, and where is it played?

Pannell: The Rose Classic, established in 2006, has become the benchmark brand for organized, competitive basketball for the female student athlete. The Rose Classic creates a unique atmosphere where these student athletes can grow athletically and socially. Since its inception, the "Rose" as it is affectionately known, has attracted some of the nation's top talent that has gone on to have success in college, overseas and the WNBA. Some standouts that have participated in the "Rose" are Epiphany Prince (Rutgers/Chicago Sky), Kia Vaughn (Rutgers/NY Liberty), Shannon Bobbit (Tennessee/Indiana Fever), Samantha Prahalis (Ohio State), Erica Morrow (Syracuse), Maggie Lucas (Penn State), Stephanie Dolson (UConn), Bria Hartley (UConn), Jenn O'Neil(Kentucky), Bra'Shey Ali (Kentucky) and China Crosby (Virginia).

The Rose Classic runs Spring and Fall cycles on an annual basis. The league is open to high School, AAU, travel and other organized teams. Players must be 19 years and under and cannot have been enrolled in or attending college. With the Elite Level of support provided by NIKE, the Rose Classic has become a platform to tune up for both the AAU and high school seasons.

TT: Kiah Gillespie led her team nearly to the championship game and was named MVP. Tell us about her performance both in terms of how she led her team and individually what she was able to do?

Pannell: Kiah Gillespie is a very special player, she led her team within three points of making the championship. Kiah did a little of everything for her team, rebound, score, assist. She played point forward most of the season. Her biggest assets are her leadership ability and her basketball IQ. She knows when it is time to put the team on her back and carry them. She did that very well.

TT: All three future Maryland players made the All-Star game. It sounds like they are players that complement each other in that they each bring something different.

Pannell: Very true. Fraser will be able to stretch defenses at the four, Watson will be a knock down shooter and provide toughness, and Gillespie will be the work horse who does a little of everything. Rebounding and defense will not be a problem for future Terp teams, all rebound and play solid defense.

TT: Is it fair to say that Maryland has done a strong job in the Northeast, landing these potential impact players?

Pannell: Grabbing these three commits is big in the Northeast, all ranked, and all high caliber student athletes.

TT: Do the Maryland commits look like McDonald's All-American level players to you?

Pannell: All three are potential McDonald's All-Americans. We are hoping they do represent our area in the game.

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