UConn looks at NY Super Soph Girls, Part 1

UConn's Tina Charles is just one of many talented young basketball players, boys or girls, to come out the New York City area into the realm of college's Division I elite. She led a class of amazing high school girls' players from the class of 2006. While 2007 and 2008 are also looking very good, it's NYC's class of 2009 that's shaping up as quite extraordinary.

Three of those extraordinary 2009 girls are Eugenia McPherson (5-9 G/F, North Babylon), Christine Huber (6-4 F/C, St. John the Baptist) and Ieasia Walker (5-8 PG, Copiague). All three play for the Silver Bullets NY Elite AAU team and are receiving attention from the likes of Connecticut, Duke, Maryland and Rutgers. One of the founders of the Silver Bullets, Debbie Brajevich, is a former St. John's University player and current NY metropolitan AAU girl's basketball chair. Brajevich recently discussed McPherson, Huber and Walker. This is the first part of a three part series on the three highly regarded players from Long Island.

Eugenia McPherson, nicknamed Gina, is a sophomore guard who averages a stunning 21.0 points a game on a team that features Vanderbilt-bound senior guard Chanel Chisholm. Opponents already know they must guard Chisholm, a terrific talent, but now they're learning to know where McPherson is, too. Despite her youth, McPherson has already shown the ability to take over a game. In the Suffolk County Class AA championship game on March 2nd, she scored 35 points over Samantha Prahalis's Commack team to lead her squad to 71-67 victory. This after Commack held a 17 point lead at halftime. Amazingly, McPherson could have had an even more impressive scoring output if she'd done better than 9-25 at the free throw line.

In the following game, North Babylon needed McPherson to score 22 points to rally her team from a deficit in order to claim the Suffolk County Overall Championship, North Babylon's first ever. She did so, earning herself the Section XI Tournament MVP title in the process. After averaging about 20 points a game during the regular season, she actually elevated her game in the playoffs, raising her scoring average to 26 points a game.

McPherson has needed to score a lot of points since North Babylon's super freshman, Christine Huber, transferred to St John the Baptist after the 2005-06 season. She's responded in a big way, scoring in double digits in 22 of North Babylon's 23 games, with fourteen 20+ point games. McPherson has a variety of ways in which she can score; she can hit the three off the dribble or the pass, use a pull up jumper or slash to the basket. Her athletic ability allows her to get to the free throw line often. Her 8th grade coach called McPherson a "pure scorer" while Brajevich says she has a nose for the basket. It took only 11 games into her sophomore year for McPherson to score her 1000th career point.

But offense isn't all there is to McPherson's game.

"She's so good offensively, people forget what a great overall player she is," Brajevich said. "She's a good defender, solid rebounder and has a good basketball IQ."

One area in which McPherson needs to work is her ball-handling. While she's a good ball-handler, if she works to improve, Brajevich says McPherson could be "unstoppable at any level". A scary thought for a player who's averaged over 20 points since she was 13 years old.

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