NATALIE STRALKUS is a name you may or may not know. It’s a name that doesn’t jump off the page to an average person. It’s a name I doubt many college coaches know. But those college coaches doing there homework, I am sure hopes it stays that way. Because Natalie Stralkus, may just be one of the most college ready guards, I’ve seen all spring in the 2018 class.
I have seen Natalie Stralkus play in the past two years. She plays the for Central Jersey Cardinals and for the Peddie School in high school. But what I find most interesting is that she lives in the very town I live in… EAST BRUNSWICK. I do not believe I’ve ever seen in town once. She is a little of a mystery to me in some ways. I’ve known about her in the past. I also heard she was talented. The Coyle Cardinals for my money right now is the best 10th grade team around. They also just may be the most talented team around. Natalie Stralkus is one of their mega talented players.
I often hear how good players are from parents, friends and even coaches sometimes. But I am a big believer that you really don’t know how talented a player is until you seen them up close and personal in the gym. It’s when their out of the comfort zone that you learn about a kid. If you don’t see them in the gym, you must see them against real quality competition. Nothing drives me more crazy for example when somebody says a player is D1 and that kid is not playing against D1 competition. Now anyone can play against a team with one D1 player and preform. It like a post player playing against one other post player and thinking they are getting it done. It doesn’t work that way, in the D1 world they are multiple D1 post on the floor and multiple D1 guards on the floor. This gets to Natalie Stralkus.
They weekend I saw the hardest thing for a college coach to find. That point guard with size, strength, quickness, ability to defend and play with a physicality that allows them to play multiple positions. That player would be Natalie Stralkus. May no mistake this young lady was the only guard in the Summer Showdown who was both physically and emotionally ready to play at the college D1 level RIGHT NOW. Now there may have been more talented and highly recruited guards in the event. But none more prepared to play at the highest level of competition today. What Natalie Stralkus showed me was impressive, but why was it impressive? BECASUE OF THE LEVEL OF COMPETITION SHE DID IT AGAINST.
I was Stralkus against two teams loaded with D1 talent, control the game from A to Z. I watched over power and use her finesse against players who have D1 scholarships or being heavy recruited by D1 schools. I watch a player at 5’10, guard quick little guards and big wings. I watched a player in transition make passes that made me shake my head. I saw her throw LeBron James like bullet passes off the dribble. But then watched her make flat out, make sweet touch passes to the post or to cutters. I watched her knock down three point jumpers. But what I liked most, was watching her drive to the basket and seeing big and small players bounce off her….but here is what made her special. Because she is big and strong the refs don’t give her the call at the AAU and I’m sure at the high school level. No once did she complain or more importantly stop playing….that’s called real MENTAL TOUGNESS!
This week I got to really see what Natalie Stralkus is and what she just may become. I believe she has the ability to play at a very high level of D1 basketball. I know she is getting great coaching. I know she is playing against the best competition this summer. Because this is what the Coyle Cardinals are all about. They played up in the Summer Showdown. She was playing against seniors to be and you could never tell. Here Cardinal team lost in overtime in the semi-final. I paid close attention to her reaction. She had this look on her face of “I can’t wait to see you again” Let me explain something to everyone. I saw that look once all weekend and it at this moment. It tells me her competitive nature is a winning one.
I love watching kids from year to year. Especially those that I don’t see a lot or know ALOT about. Natalie Stralkus is a player I knew about but not really knew. I remember her dad tweeting or texting about me leaving her name out of a blog about the East Brunswick incoming class. I don’t play much attention to parents. I get what that is about and nothing pisses me off more than when somebody tells me what to write in MY BLOG. But guess what? Her father was right on the money about his daughter. She is a special player. She is that rare player that does so much within a game that you could never sum it up by a box score or for that in a blog. You must see her play, because her impact comes in so many ways.
I know two things that most don’t know Natalie….if Stralkus was at East Brunswick High School, they would be a Top Ten team in the state. I also know this, If she played in the shore, she would have a boat load of D1 offers on the table right now. Because there are a number of Shore Sophomores with offers, who would have to take a back seat to this young lady. People you can’t teach the skills she brings to the table. I have seen her develop in the past year, I have now seen her against top competition, not once but on multiple occasions now. I have formed an opinion on Miss Stralkus and college coaches do you really need me to give you my track record on such matters….She is one of the best in the 2018 class and a D1 recruiting war will soon break out…it will been then I will say my favorite words…I TOLD YOU SO!
So happy to her to more NBS former players have joined the D1 coaching ranks. More on this next week… but NBS now has 15 former players and coaches at the D1 LEVEL NOW COACHING….
ACADEMIC ELITE HAS BEEN Certified by the NCAA and will be on July 29th. THIS IS EVENT WILL BE LOADED WITH COACHES AND TALENT. ….IT ALSO WILL SELL OUT AGAIN…FOR MORE DETAILS GO HERE. http://hoopgroup.com/clinics/girls-academic-elite/
COLLEGE WORKOUTS WILL BE AT NOON AND 2PM…COLLEGE PLAYERS ONLY NO CHARGE!
CAMP DATES ARE UP ON THE HOOP GROUP WEBSITE