Well NBS spring kicked off yesterday and it was full of surprises as usual. The talent in the gym was a coaches dream as it always is. But there were two stories that jumped of the page last night. One was a rising 2026 and the other is maybe the fastest improving 2025 maybe in tbe state of New Jersey. Last night both had me realizing how easy things can change for kids over night. But college coaches understand 2026 Grace Feeney who will attend Trinity Hall in the fall and Molly McCrae of ALLENTOWN high school have both flipped the switch button.
I never evaluate a young players status until I see them against older, stronger, bigger talent. That’s because many kids can be stars playing there age group, for too many reasons to list. That’s why I pay little attention to youth AAU basketball. What I do pay attention to is what a kid does against older talent, especially older D1 talent. Its then that I can learn if that kid function, maintain confidence and most importantly bring there competitive nature to the table. Can they do all those things they do when playing there age group while looking like stars. Well last night a virtural unknown did exactly that. There were a lot of hot shot babies in the gym last night. Most if not all of them got a taste of what real speed, strength and skill sets look like. Most if not all of them got taken to the woodshed. That is most except one Grace Feeney, that’s because last night she made her presence known. Last night Grace Feeney let it be known GAME OVER HYPE. Last night she didn’t play like a baby. She played like a grown woman. When your coach walks over and says ”I don’t know who she is, but you better get over here and watch her” You know a kid is bringing her game. Now here is what you need to know and college coaches please pay attention. I had seen GRACE play a number of times in the past. But I saw her in her 7th and 8th grade AAU setting. Now remember they spin 8th grade AAU better than anything on planet earth. They call it ELITE WINTER LEAGUES, ALL STAR competition. Then kids go to a Top 100 or some evaluation clinic. Well guess what it’s all the same BS, over hyped up stuff parents feed off and brag about with pure joy. You see I know it’s just a bunch more of better skilled up kids , bigger, stronger kids beating up on there age group. The real test is what those kids do against the older killers. That’s when truth comes out.
That’s when that star of the 8th grade team, can’t get a shot off or preform at a high level, they cant elevate there game. There is nobody there to protect them and creat a atmosphere that benefits them. Thats when the kid that kid nobody hyped raises the level of there game and kicks ass. Grace Feeney coaches was a grown women ass kicking machine last night. In her bag of tricks was her ball handling guard skills at 5’10”, her sweet shooting stoke, her classic passing ability, her next level hands on the run and around the rim … and her TALENT AND ABILITY TO PLAY AT AN ELITE PACE. You know that pace which is the difference between good and great, development and disappointment. Last night Grace Feeney proved GAME RECOGNIZE GAME and her game looked very Familiar... this is not AAU folks this is where truth arrives on your doorstep and GRACE FINNEY said cone on in….because she had all the answers last night!
I have known Molly McCrae for years. She plays for Allentown High school. She just finished off a sensational freshman season. She was everything they expected her to be. A starter and one of there best players. She was named as one of the best freshman in New Jersey this past year. None of this is really much of a surprise. She played AAU with the stacked 2025 Shoreshots. She has trained with and against D1 players for years. Her sister is a D1 player. There is nothing shocking about any of this. But yesterday when I saw a girl make a spinning left hand finish in the lane I turned my head to see who it was. The move was so explosive and quick it caught me off guard. The girl was tall at 5’11” and lean with a strong lower body. I walked over and to my surprise it was the new, fitter, athletic, quicker, stronger Molly McCrae. Coaches Molly McCrae in the last year may have made the biggest jump as a player I know. It started last year when she moved up in competition at NBS in the spring. She was showing flashes of greatness that could not be over looked, back then so we rewarded her.
Last night I stopped the NBS gym and said ”Molly you are the best young big forward I know in the Sophomore class. That’s because her toughness, skills sets and competitive nature is grown women stuff. Yesterday she sent a message to everyone in that gym including me. It’s why on Wednesday she is going to matchup with the best forward in New Jersey in Megan Cahalan…. coaches she can handle it! Because one day like Cahalan she is going to be wearing a D1 uniform too!