CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
ATLANTIC CITY — The Select Events Atlantic City Showcase filled up the AC Convention Center this weekend, with more than 500 teams taking part in the action, with Division I (plus II and III) coaches out for the May live recruiting period. A high-level field featuring some of the area’s top teams as well as sneaker-sponsored and independent programs from around the country came out, along with hundreds of college coaches.
Here’s the second part of our notebook from the prospects we caught up with at the event:
Erica Gribble (2025 | Comets GUAA 16U)
There might not be a high schooler in Pennsylvania more familiar with the PA Turnpike.
All spring long, Gribble’s been making the drive from her home in the Pittsburgh suburbs all the way to the Philadelphia area for Comets practice, three times a week.
“Four-hour drives here and back,” she said. “It’s a lot, but it’s worth it.”
Erica Gribble, 2026 Comets
Gribble had previously played with the Western PA Bruins, but made the move out to the Comets after becoming familiar with the organization thanks to her sister, Alayna Gribble, who finished her college career with two years at St. Joe’s after beginning at Pitt. This summer has also been a significant jump for the Greensburg Central Catholic standout, the 5-foot-9 guard going from the 14U circuit last year to the 16U circuit this time around.
“It’s lots more competitive,” she said. “I definitely have to get used to it more, but I’m starting to fit in, gel with the team a lot and it’s just been great.”
Gribble chipped in to a win over United NJ on Friday afternoon, scoring six points, grabbing four rebounds and grabbing a couple steals. And there were plenty of coaches there watching — Purdue, St. Joe’s, Richmond, Butler, Monmouth, Iona and more were courtside, as was Villanova head coach Denise Dillon.
That was certainly no coincidence: Gribble had just visited ‘Nova on Thursday, Dillon becoming the fourth school and first high-major to offer Gribble, who already had St. Joe’s, Buffalo and Navy scholarships in her pocket.
“I really was [surprised], yeah,” she said, adding that “[Dillon] loved my game, she really wants me to play at Villanova. I loved the campus, their business school is incredible, I just loved it overall.”
Of course, Gribble’s in no rush when it comes to her college recruitment. She’s still just finishing up her freshman year at Greensburg CC, which she helped to a 24-6 record and berth in the PIAA Class 2A semifinals; for her efforts, she was named to the PIAA Class 2A all-state second team, one of only two 2A freshmen on an all-state team.
When she eventually does go to the next level, she’ll be the third in her family to do so: the middle Gribble sister, Olivia, just finished her third year as a starter at D-III Marietta (Ohio). Erica said both are following in the footsteps of their oldest sister, who set the hoops tone for the rest of the family.
“(Alayna’s) definitely one of my biggest role models,” she said. “She’s definitely helped me through (the recruiting journey): what to say, what to do, all that kind of stuff.” — Josh Verlin
Kiyomi McMiller (2024 | BBA Black 17U)
It’s hard to miss Kiyomi McMiller’s flashy handles and highlight real passes. The point guard has made a name for herself in the national spotlight as one of the best players in the 2024 class. McMiller is lightning quick, using her quick first step to blow by defenders with ease.
She said people compare her handles and close-control to Kyrie Irving and Allen Iverson, but the comparison she hears the most is Jamal Crawford. Crawford, a 20-year NBA veteran and three-time Sixth Man of the Year was known for his dribbling ability.
Kiyomi McMiller, 2024 BBA Black
With many of her highlights going viral on social media, she’s gained the attention of multiple NBA stars, including Crawford.
After seeing one of her videos, Crawford messaged McMiller on twitter, complimenting her skills. Even though McMiller was too young to watch him during his prime, she said she watches his highlights on YouTube and sees the similarities. Zion Williamson was another player who reached out to her and stayed in touch.
“It's crazy that they’re reaching out to me,” said McMiller, who played across the river at Life Center (N.J.) this past season. “I'm just like some 16-year-old girl just out here playing the game that she really loves.”
McMiller has become so well-known that sometimes after games people ask her for pictures and she happily obliges. Even with her presence on social media, it still shocks her that people want pictures with her.
“I'm kind of getting used to it a little bit but it is still the fact they want pictures with me is funny.” McMiller said.
When McMiller watches back her highlights, she’s sometimes surprised by some of the moves she pulls off. The point guard says she likes “to go with the flow” and reacts to how defenses are playing her. McMiller explained everything she does is based on instinct, saying that she gets her flair from being from the DMV area.
McMiller was playing with NEPA Elite earlier this spring, but popped up with BBA Black’s squad this weekend, helping the group (which includes Life Center teammate Safiatu Kolliegbo) to a 4-0 weekend.
Ranked as the No. 6 player in the 2024 class by ESPN, McMiller has a list of 20 schools, but is looking to cut it down soon. Some of the top schools include Louisville, Florida State, Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Syracuse, Florida State and others. McMiller is still figuring out which schools she wants to visit and will wait until she cuts the list down to plan visits.
Despite there being a lot of attention and pressure on McMiller on the court and with her recruitment, McMiller doesn’t see it as a problem.
“I don't know about other people, but I personally don't feel pressure,” McMiller said “I just come out here to play and do what I do.”
In a 62-43 win over Connecticut Impact, McMiller was in full control. She finished with an efficient 17 points on 11 shots while dishing out seven assists. Her usual high-level dribbling was on display, but she did a great job of making the right play. When McMiller had multiple eyes on her, she kicked the ball out, setting up wide open shots for her teammates. McMiller said she’s always up for a challenge no matter who’s in front of her.
“I want the best matchups just to prove a point and prove to people like I'm better than that than the people they have.” McMiller said.
Despite already being a strong 3-point shooter, McMiller wants to expand her range even further. She feels it can open up her game even more because if players are pressing up on her she can go by them like she usually does. — Zak Wolf
Madison Francis (2025 | Team Northeast 17U)
A handful of times per game, Madison Francis will grab a rebound then speed down the floor for a basket on the other end.
She’s not only the tallest or most athletic player on the court, but often the fastest as well.
Madison Francis, 2025 Team Northeast
A high-major recruit, who recently received offers from Ole Miss and Indiana earlier this month, Francis is also a standout track & field athlete in her free time, winning section championships in the triple jump and 200-meter as a freshman and later placing third in the state in the triple jump.
“I have a fast-paced game,” the 6-foot-2 wing/forward said after a 24-point, nine-rebound, nine-block performance on Sunday. “I like pushing it, getting open. I’m a team player. I pass the ball when I can and just try to make plays.”
It’s no surprise the 6-2 forward/wing, who also plays volleyball, is a standout athlete. Her father Tony was a 6-8 forward at Niagara and her mother ran track in college as well.
“He definitely enhances my down low game and he’s been great developing me,” Francis said of her father. “He’s been my coach since I was little, and he’s still my coach. We train everyday during the week.”
Team Northeast is a new independent program this summer, featuring some of the top players from upstate New York. Francis, who started on varsity as an eighth grader, plays her high school ball at Lancaster.
She averaged 27.1 ppg and 12.2 rpg this past season to earn first team all-state honors and help her team to a 20-4 mark. Her squad fell in regionals to Webster Schroeder, which features Northeast teammates Bria and Mariah Watkins.
“I felt like I really enhanced my game as a leader and tried my best to lead my team as possible to get far,” Francis said of her high school season.
Francis estimates she has more than 20+ offers, with the first one coming from Rhode Island in May 2021 when she was in eighth grade. Along with Indiana and Ole Miss, she’s announced offers from Maryland, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Arizona State, Villanova, Illinois, Louisville, St. John’s and Florida State in the last calendar year, adding to a list that already included the likes of UNC, Clemson, Purdue, Florida, Syracuse, Miami, Pitt and Penn State.
She was on campus at Syracuse for an unofficial this winter and has been on campus at UNC, Ohio State and Purdue over the last year or two.
“They just like how I’m a team player and I can take advantage of the ball. I take over and I’m a leader,” Francis said of what college coaches have told her about her game.
Francis wants to keep the specifics of her recruitment under wraps but noted she hopes to schedule a few more visits around family time this summer. She deserves a little time off at some point after playing three sports all school year. — Owen McCue
Jada Snow (2025 | Hurban Legends 17U)
Snow is used to being in the spotlight and gaining attention. The sophomore has been getting looks from colleges since she was in eighth grade when she received offers from George Mason and Howard. Snow continued her trajectory last live period by picking up an offer from Seton Hall while talking to power five schools like St. John’s and Mississippi State.
“It's always good because like you know you work so hard and it's like it is finally paying off since I've been recognized by college coaches,.” Snow said.
A versatile forward from Sanford (Del.), Snow sees herself being able to play either the three or four at the next level. With her size she rebounds the ball well, allowing her to handle the ball on the fast break. Snow likes to push the pace and has the ability to find open teammates in transition. At 5-11, the forward likes to take advantage of mismatches when guarded by smaller guards.
“I love to pass and think I’m pretty good at it,” Snow said. “I like to kick the ball out and pass the people when I see them open on the break.”
Snow led her team past a tough Minnesota Fury team, scoring 18 points in a 74-62 win. Snow did a good job of handling herself against a high-level team with plenty of size. She did well picking her moments when to attack in the paint. Snow also showed her touch from the outside, knocking down two threes.
“I'm a tough person to guard,” Snow said. “I always have a mismatch. If there’s a smaller girl, I could just pull my back against them. If it’s a bigger girl, they can't stay in front of me.” — Zak Wolf
Ellie Cerf, 2024 Philly Belles
Ellie Cerf (2024 | Philly Belles 17U)
There are a lot of elements to like about Ellie Cerf’s game.
It makes sense because Cerf tries to emulate a lot of different players within it.
“I try to learn to pass from Sue Bird; I try to be able to shoot and get the creativity from Steph Curry and Kyrie and the playmaking and stuff like that from Arike Ogunbowale,” Cerf said after compiling 17 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and five steals on Friday. “I try to take different things.”
A connection to Belles coach Riley Maye through her trainer has the 5-6 guard from Bethlehem Central in upstate New York playing with the Philadelphia-area program for the first time this grassroots season.
Cerf’s still looking for her first Division I offer, but the move appears to be paying off as she’s seen an uptick in interest, particularly from schools in the MAAC, America East and Patriot League. She had a list of schools set to watch her play over the weekend, including Boston and Iona, who had coaches there for the monster outing Friday.
“I think I fit in pretty well,” Cerf said of playing with the Belles. “I think Coach Petey (Andrea Peterson) puts a lot on her point guard, so I think it was just a good fit.”
“We’ve had a lot of coaches (watching us play),” she added.
It’s pretty easy to see the Curry influence in Cerf’s game when the lefty pulls up from way behind the 3-point arc. She’s been working on improving her shot since going to an after-school program at the YMCA in elementary school.
Her father is from France, where he played rugby, and her mother was a runner and lacrosse player, so Cerf didn’t have anyone to go to for basketball advice. She picked up hoops after watching her older brother and his friends play at the Y and wanting to join in.
“I’ve kind of always been shorter so one part of my game I’ve always tried to work on is expanding my range,” Cerf said. “I’ve spent a lot of time working on that at the YMCA.”
Her game is well-tailored to the modern game as a combo guard who can score from all over the floor and distribute as well.
She has some flash to her game that’s fun to watch — i.e. behind the back and no-look passes and deep, deep range — but also has fundamentally important skills, like court vision, playmaking and a competitive drive on the defensive end.
Cerf helped the Belles roll their way to a 4-0 weekend in AC and hopes to continue piling up victories throughout the summer as she patiently waits for a school to take a chance on her.
“I’m just waiting to see a first offer,” Cerf said. — Owen McCue
Ava Persichetti (2025 | WPA Bruins 16U)
Coming from the small town Blairsville, Persichetti doesn’t get much exposure through her high school season at River Valley.
The District 6 champion Panthers went 29-3 this past season, piling up a number of lopsided wins during the regular season before making a run to the PIAA Class 3A title game.
Persichetti embraces the grassroots season because she’s able to get her name out to college coaches. Persichetti is known locally for her basketball skills, but traveling to different states and playing in front of coaches from around the country, she can showcase her skills on a bigger stage.
“It's been eye opening,” Persichetti said. “Playing it with the best team and the best girls and the best organization makes it so much better.”
Persichetti likes the challenge that AAU events present. She said her high school doesn’t play the toughest competition, but in different events with the Bruins there’s a “new challenge everyday”. Persichetti has always wanted to play college basketball since she was a kid, so she joined the Bruins last season, calling it an “amazing decision”.
“I needed to get out of the small town to come get seen here if I wanted to follow my dreams,” Persichetti said. “It’s been a blast so far.”
Even though she’s yet to receive any offers, Persichetti is in contact with schools like Ball State, Marshall, Albany and UNC Charlotte. Last year, she went to a basketball camp at Pitt and performed well, which was a big moment for her as well. Persichetti is confident if she keeps playing her game then an offer will eventually come her way.
Persichetti has the ability to play either on or off-ball. In high school she’s a ball-dominant point guard, initiating the offense as a facilitator, but during AAU she plays more shooting guard. With other guards like Iyanna Wade and Sadaya Jones on her team, she can rely on them to score as well as create opportunities for her.
Despite playing off-ball at times, Persichetti is always looking for open players, She dished out 5 assists in a 50-25 win over New Heights Lightning.
“If they need me to score I can score,” Persichetti said. “I take my shots when they're open, but if somebody else has a better shot then I'll get it to them.”
Persichetti explained that when she first started playing off the ball last year it was an adjustment because she was so used to being a ball-dominant player. She said she had to figure out what her role was on the new team. This season Persichetti is more confident, which has allowed her to play with more freedom.
“I'm a lot more confident in what I'm supposed to do now,” Persichetti said. “My coaches and teammates give me a lot of confidence to do what I think is the right play.”
Persichetti is a lefty and uses that to her advantage. She explained that players don’t expect her to be left-handed, so she takes advantage of that by catching people off guard. As much as she loves using her left, she wants to use her off-hand more so she can become more unpredictable. She feels it will help her improve her shot selection and get to her spots easier. — Zak Wolf
Julia Scott, 2026 Empire State Blue Flames
Julia Scott (2026 | Empire State Blue Flames 16U)
Julia Scott was getting ready to play with her team at Rucker Park in New York City last summer before receiving a surprise phone call.
A couple hours before taking the court, one of the Fairfield assistants offered her a scholarship, her first Division-1 offer, on the morning of the game,
“It was great getting the call,” Scott said. “I was very happy and then I got to see all my teammates, and they were all giving me hugs and everything. It was a great moment.”
Scott has yet to take a visit to Fairfield, but is looking forward to getting on campus. She is excited to see the overall atmosphere of the school and what they have to offer.
Outside of Fairfield, Scott has been in contact with Delaware, Leigh, La Salle along with a number of other Patriot League and A-10 schools.
A 6-foot forward, Scott finishes very well around the rim. She has a soft touch in the paint while being very effective in the pick and roll. When Scott roles to the basket, she can either dribble and go up strong or use an effective floater in the lane.
“I’m able to keep the ball high so other players can’t block shots,” Scott said. “I’m also able to effect shots on defense with my size and length by staying straight up.”
To get more coaches’ attention, Scott is working on her outside shot. She has good form, and is a solid free throw shooter, but Scott wants to expand her range. Over the summer Scott said she’ll put herself in more catch-and-shoot situations. She knows she has the ability to drive past slower defenders from the top of the key, but wants to become “less predictable”. — Zak Wolf