By CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
The 2024 edition of the Blue Star Invitational brought together 26 teams from all over the Northeast to the courts at Jefferson University for a high-level day of girls’ high school basketball.
Jordyn Palmer (2027 | Westtown School)
No longer just a bright young talent, Palmer’s quickly becoming a national name.
The 6-foot-1 wing helped Westtown to a PAISAA championship and appearance in the nationally-televised GEICO semifinals and then the Philly Rise’s 16s to a Nike national championship in the summer, wowing crowds and college coaches wherever she played. Her combination of size, skill, athleticism and basketball IQ was on display yet again on Sunday, as she scored 13 points amongst a variety of other stats in a 20-point Moose win over Shabach Christian (Md.).
Westtown freshman Jordyn Palmer picked up an offer from South Carolina this summer. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Now recognized as one of the top players not just locally but in her entire class, she’s gotten used to the attention, quickly becoming a veteran to the buzz as most girls her age are playing freshman or junior varsity hoops.
“Just seeing all those college coaches at a game when I was only 13 or 14 years old, it was stressful at times,” she admitted, “but now that I’m really thinking about it, I’ve got a couple years to go to prove my point.”
Palmer’s offer list is more than 20 schools long already, from all the power conferences: Clemson was most recent, joining a group that includes Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio State. She also picked up an offer this summer from South Carolina, getting a chance to speak to head coach Dawn Staley, the Philadelphia legend and Gamecocks’ Hall of Fame coach, who’s won two national championships in her 15 years in Columbia.
“That was fun, I look up to her a lot,” Palmer said. “She was one of my favorite coaches in college basketball, so it was special to talk to her on the phone.”
In terms of her game, Palmer said she’s focused on her shooting and dribbling, and adjusting to life as a boarder at Westtown after commuting from her Chester County home last year.
Palmer’s recruiting is no doubt going to continue to heat up as her high school years go on, and the projections and comparisons will be expansive and high-level. For now, she’s trying to keep it simple, improving her game, and enjoying the conversations she has with the college coaches, knowing that decision is still several years away at least.
“They’re mostly talking about what they like about my game and what they can work on, they tell me about their college,” she said. “It’s something that I’ve got to keep in the back of my head.” — Josh Verlin
Taylor Brown (2027 | Ursuline Academy, Del.)
Though she’s only in her first year of high school, Brown’s got the hoops experience of girls two or three years her senior.
The 5-foot-7 point guard is already in her second year of varsity basketball for the Raiders, whom she helped to the DIAA state championship game a year ago. As for college recruiting? That’s nothing new, either.
“I’ve been talking to college coaches since seventh grade,” she said after scoring 19 points in a win over Archbishop Carroll. “At first I was so nervous, I’d be writing out scripts. But now my coaches will tell me I have a call and I’m fine with it, I just let it flow.”
Midway through her freshman year at Ursuline, where she’s part of a stellar all-freshman backcourt along with Jezelle ‘G.G.’ Banks, Brown is a major part of why the Raiders have eyes on making it back to the Delaware state championship game, where they fell short to Sanford School last March.
She showed why she’s nicknamed ‘The Glove’ in a Sunday-morning win over Archbishop Carroll, grabbing four steals off a talented Carroll backcourt to help her to a 19-point outing. Brown had a few of those guarding 1-on-1, using her quick hands and instincts to poke the ball away, her quickness making her uncatchable in the open court.
“I really like living up to (the nickname) because defense is a really big part of my game, since I’m a smaller guard I have to defend,” she said. “It’s a big part of my game for me to go where I want to go, I have to play defense well.”
Currently, Brown has eight Division I offers: Penn State, Columbia, Delaware, Harvard, Providence, Florida, St. Joe’s and Michigan. She’s already visited most of them, though her future decision is still years in the future; she’s currently most interested in the feedback they have for her game so she can continue to improve.
“A lot of coaches told me the biggest part of my game is getting stronger, getting as strong as I can for the next level, since I’m smaller,” she said. “Building strength is a really big part of my game; they told me to get stronger and be vocal, be the best leader on the court, be loud, be the loudest one.” — Josh Verlin
Kaylinn Bethea (2025 | Penn Charter)
Bethea thought it would be easy to fill the leadership roles left by Aleah Snead, Bella Toomey and Grace Shoup heading into this season.
She quickly found out that the trio made that role look a lot less difficult than it is.
Penn Charter junior Kaylinn Behtea recently added an offer from Elon. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL File)
“For a minute, I kind of imagined myself walking into it, but after our first scrimmage, I’m like OK maybe I have to figure out about leadership, like how to worry about myself and worry about the team as well,” Bethea said. “Continuing on, I was able to find myself, find my peace and finally bond with the team off the court, so then it helps on the court.”
Bethea is finding her stride alongside freshman Ryan Carter in the Quakers’ backcourt, helping her team to a marquee win over Archbishop Wood on Sunday. College coaches love her defense, but she’s also much more of an offensive force this season, tallying 13 points and four assists to go along with her eight rebounds and two steals Sunday.
“When we had Aleah, Bella and Grace, they also helped on the offensive point, but now since seeing them leave, it’s like I have to take a bigger role,” Bethea said. “Me and Ry are a really good duo on and off the court. I like how we can move the ball with each other, knowing who is who and finding that open person.”
Bethea had an assistant from Richmond among the college coaches watching her and her teammates play in the final game Sunday. The Spiders are one of a handful of schools she’s currently talking to along with Lehigh and Lafayette, who have been reaching out since September. She picked up an offer from the Leopards last April.
She also has a new school that expressed its interest in a big way last month.
Bethea was already planning to travel to North Carolina with her aunt to visit Davidson before the Elon coaching staff reached out. They added to their itinerary, catching a Phoenix win during the quick visit, during which Bethea also added an offer from Elon to her scholarship offer list.
“When you go there it’s a hidden gem,” Bethea said of Elon. “The campus is really nice. I looked at pictures but when you go on campus … The coaching staff was very nice, and I really enjoyed them.”
Loyola (Md.) was the latest school to offer Bethea on Nov. 18 before Elon. She’s had about 11 programs extend offers since the start of her high school career.
She’s still sorting through her options but is looking to conclude her recruitment some time in the next three to four months — either before beginning her summer with the Philly Rise or after the team’s first live session in April.
“Every school I go to is a different vibe,” Bethea said. “It’s like, alright, now I actually have to restructure myself and stuff like that. I’ve been trying to find what type of values I would want in a college. That’s coaching staff. I want a family, a diverse team. I’ve also been thinking about location. I’m a really family-oriented person. I have two little brothers, and I want to go watch their games and stuff like that. But my parents are like, ‘Hey if you want to go far, we can always make it work.’” — Owen McCue
Alexis Eberz (2026 | Archbishop Carroll)
Christmas came early for Eberz, then it came again a few days after the posted date.
The Archbishop Carroll sophomore’s holiday break came with a couple extra presents in the form of her first two Division I offers. Drexel extended an offer a few days before Christmas, then Eberz got one from Iona a couple days before the new year.
The Archbishop Carroll wing called it a “Christmas miracle” with a laugh, but it was a moment she had no shortage of appreciation for.
“Going into the gym every day, getting shots up and trying to contribute in my games, I’m glad coaches are seeing that,” said Eberz, whose parents both played at Villanova. “It’s motivation for me to keep doing it.”
Eberz had 24 points in Sunday’s loss to Delaware power Ursuline Academy, although she definitely wanted to shoot the ball better than she did. One of just two returning starters for the Patriots following last year’s PIAA 6A title run, Eberz is still adjusting to life as one of the team’s top offensive options.
Increased responsibility also brings increased attention and the 5-foot-9 wing is getting used to both as a Carroll team with several new faces is still getting its continuity down.
“I knew because we lost a lot of seniors, I’d have to step up,” Eberz said. “With it being just me and Brooke (Wilson) back as starters, I knew I’d have to take on a bigger role to help her out.”
Between last season and playing on the GUAA circuit with the Comets this summer, Eberz said she gained a lot more confidence in her offensive game and is trying to be more assertive taking the ball to the basket. Defensively, she’s also trying to be mindful of her voice and using it enough, which is something the college programs she’s talking with have mentioned.
On top of the two offers she has in hand, Eberz said she’s had communication with a couple Ivy League programs and several Patriot League universities.
“It’s such a relief, it’s a lot of pressure off,” Eberz said. “I can just go out and play, but I still have to go play harder. Hopefully more will come if I keep doing that.”
“Those were definitely the two best gifts I got.” — Andrew Robinson
Olivia Rose Jones (2025 | Westtown School)
Coming to Westtown has helped Jones feel good about a number of things, but one in particular: her ability to live away from home. The Harrisburg native’s in her first year at the West Chester school, about 90 minutes away from home, and it’s gone well enough that she feels good about going anywhere for college.
“Preparing me for college and being at a boarding school has definitely helped elevate my game,” she said. “I think that was another reason my mom wanted [me to go to Westtown], to see how that would go [...] moving away from home, knowing I can do it.”
Junior Olivia Jones is in her first season at Westtown. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Jones’ offer list is up to 20 schools now, with recent offers from Davidson, James Madison, Stony Brook and a few others since the start of the school year.
Right now, Jones said the four schools on her the hardest are Northwestern, DePaul, Harvard and Delaware, saying she was hearing from the last two “a lot.” She’s been to Providence, Rhode Island, UMass and Boston College, while also taking in a recent Harvard win over Delaware at Delaware on New Years’ Eve. Jones said she wants to visit DePaul, having visited most of the other schools recruiting her.
The first stage of recruitment is over for her, and now she’s in a different phase as a potential commitment draws somewhat closer.
“Honestly right now it’s just building relationships,” she said. “We’ve already talked about where they see me fitting and stuff like that into their program. It’s been just getting to know me, getting to know my family, stuff like that.”
Jones said she’s thinking her decision will come towards the end of the 2024 offseason, once she’s gotten in one more run with her Philly Rise teammates. She’s hoping to show by then an improved ability to play the ‘3’ instead of an undersized ‘4’ — the 5-foot-10 wing’s bread-and-butter is as an excellent rebounder and put-back specialist — by extending her shooting range and handle.
And now that she knows she can be comfortable away from home, she’s got a different problem to deal with when it comes to her future choice’s setting.
“I don’t really know about location yet, because I really like the city but I also like when (a college has) its own campus,” she said. “I’m torn between that.” — Josh Verlin
Carly Coleman (2024 | Cardinal O’Hara)
Carly Coleman’s journey to the next level of basketball is almost over, but it’s a journey she wasn’t even sure she wanted to go on.
The Cardinal O’Hara senior has been an irreplaceable cog since entering the Lions’ starting five last year. Tenacious at both ends, Coleman can fill the in-betweens that go a long way to helping a team win and can certainly bring that to the next level.
Making a decision to go to college, whether it’s to be an athlete or not, isn’t always an easy choice. A conversation with Lions coach Chrissie Doogan helped steer Coleman in the right direction.
“I had a fear of going to college, if I’m being honest. I was scared to think about leaving home,” Coleman said. “I talked to Chrissie about it, she said that was just a testament of what O’Hara is to you and change is inevitable, everybody has to go through it.
“She really made me certain that what your gut is telling you is right and you have to trust it.”
Coleman, who narrowed her list to a small group of Division III programs with strong track records of success, is planning to announce her final choice soon. She said building relationships with the coaches is what helped her find what the best fit would be.
Also making things more interesting during the process was Coleman’s second sport. This fall, the senior moved from her usual spot as a center back on defense to play striker for the Lions and had a huge year, scoring 21 goals and earning first team All-PCL plaudits.
That kind of production, especially in just one season, is an eye-opener and Coleman started to receive some interest in playing soccer at the next level. A few programs even broached an option to play basketball and do club soccer on the side, all offers that had their own merits and gave her something else to consider.
“I still don’t know that I’ve fully ruled it out,” Coleman said. “I still think about it.”
Coleman finished strong in Sunday’s win over Georgetown Visitation. In a game that was a slog offensively, Coleman’s energy came through in the game-deciding run where she scored, assisted Molly Rullo’s game-tying three then had the go-ahead layup on a fast break assisted by Rullo.
They were plays Coleman may not have seen herself making a few years ago. While the forward played travel basketball with Lexie Gerson’s LGB Select team this past summer, it was the year prior playing with the Lower Delco Wildcats that sparked Coleman to really invest in her abilities.
“That team, we weren’t really the best, but it helped me find my love for it and my coach there was awesome,” Coleman said. “The team, they were all seniors who left, so I needed a new program and Lexie’s a great coach, so that ended up helping me too.” — Andrew Robinson
Aaliyah Solliday (2024 | Spring-Ford)
With each passing week, Solliday feels a little more and more like herself.
A vital bench piece for Spring-Ford on the 2021-22 team that won a PAC title and finished runner-up in District 1 6A, the guard missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Even that major injury didn’t dash her ambitions of playing at the next level.
Spring-Ford senior Aaliyah Solliday is down to two schools. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Solliday didn’t hide from the grind or the comeback trail and it’s paying off as the senior is closing in on a college choice.
“I have to always remember, I’m the senior on the team without a college, so that motivates me to always play my hardest,” Solliday said after putting in 10 points against Imhotep Charter on Sunday. “I’m playing like everyone is there to watch.”
Solliday has narrowed down her finalists to Alvernia and Misericordia. She doesn’t have a hard date to make a decision, adding she has a good feel for both programs.
From the time she injured her knee, the guard made it a point to get back as soon as she could. While she was far from 100 percent this summer, Solliday wasn’t afraid to put herself back out there playing a few tournaments with her K-Low Elite team. It started out on a limited basis but as the minutes and games restrictions lessened and the supportive brace on her leg got traded in for slimmer and less restrictive models, she felt her game coming back.
“Even if I wasn’t 100 percent, I wanted to contribute things I could do on the court,” Solliday said.
Sunday, she missed all three of her attempts from three-point range. That didn’t limit her impact, the senior instead showing some good movement off the ball in halfcourt offense and the open floor, adding three assists to her five made baskets inside the arc.
Since returning, she’s also worked more to play off two feet which adds balance and stability while ideally cutting down the risk of re-injury.
“I still have stuff to work on but I think I’m way ahead of where I needed to be,” the senior said. “Mentally, I was hesitant to do things like getting in there to rebound or drive to the lane, I was playing timid when I came back.” — Andrew Robinson
— The recruiting world is taking on more importance for McDonogh School sophomore point guard Autumn Fleary as she continues her sophomore year. With 27 Division I offers already in her pocket thanks to her success with McDonogh as well as Nike-backed Team Takeover, and more likely to join in, she’s beginning to think about sorting through the list.
“This year is a lot more serious,” she said. “This summer [I’m] really going to determine a lot of things for me; me and my parents are trying to figure out the best fit for me as a person academically and athletically. Just trying to figure out what’s best for me on and off the court.”
A second-year starter on a team ranked in the top 25 in the country by ESPN, Fleary is a dynamic 5-7 lead guard who can score it from all three levels, which she showed in a 30-point outing in a win over Paul VI (N.J.) on Sunday.
Virginia, Arizona, TCU and Colubmia are her four most recent offers, joining a group that also includes Mississippi State, Boston College, UCF, Miami (Fl.) and more. She said she hasn’t taken many visits recently, stopping by Maryland and Duke — which hasn’t offered yet, but she said remains in close contact — but wants to see more this summer.
She’s not taking all the college attention for granted.
“It feels good, just seeing how my hard work pays off,” she said. “I’m just really grateful and blessed for the coaches that give me an opportunity to play at their school.”
— FCS junior forward Logyn Greer had her phone ringing off the hook this summer after playing with the Elevate Elite 3SB program. By the middle of August, Greer had at least 35 scholarship offers, many from Power 5 conferences.
The 6-foot-4 wing/forward learned how to handle the chaos.
“You learn how to set boundaries for yourself and makes calls at this time or this time,” Greer said. “It’s kind of died down right now for the season because everyone is playing and stuff like that, so it hasn’t been as crazy as it had been all summer.”
Greer has taken another leap forward as a player as a junior, becoming an even greater offensive weapon with big outings piling up. While Greer said her phone has been quieter recently, she’s naturally continued to catch eyes as the Big 12’s Baylor (Dec. 19) and Big 10’s Wisconsin (Jan. 3) both extended offers to Greer recently.
She and the Phoenix had a big time matchup against Paul VI (Va.) and 6-foot-1 USC commit Laura Williams on Sunday, falling 46-39 in overtime. Greer said she’s had a few chances to go up against some top notch forwards this season.
She was her usual dominant self on the defensive end with five blocks, a pair of steals and a number of deflections. She added four fourth-quarter assists but wasn’t the assertive scorer that has been the theme of her junior campaign.
“Just attacking more,” Greer said of how she’s improved this season. “I feel like I’m doing that a lot more. My passing ability and just being more aggressive overall.”
— Penn Charter freshman Ryan Carter didn’t have to wait long for schools to start recruiting her. Carter played for Exodus NYC’s 16U team in the EYBL as a seventh grader two years ago and the offers quickly started to come. After another summer at the 16U level, her list grew to 16 schools this summer.
“I didn’t expect it to happen. It kind of happened pretty fast,” Carter said. “One year, I wasn’t talking to anyone and then that seventh grade year I played up, I started talking to a lot of schools. It was kind of unexpected and then once it started happening, I started expecting it but wanting to keep working to get more and more. I didn’t want to stop and settle.”
Carter said she hasn’t talked to many new schools recently, but after three or four calls she added an offer from Wisconsin on Dec. 19. Several other schools from the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 have already offered.
Maryland, which offered Carter last April, is one the programs trying to get her to campus. She said she has also talked with LSU about doing the same.
As for the high school season, Carter is stepping into even bigger shoes after announcing herself as one of the area’s best players during her eighth-grade campaign in 2022-23. Carter tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in a win over Wood on Sunday.
“I think it’s been pretty exciting knowing I have to take on a leadership role,” Carter said. “I kind of got prepared for it during AAU, knowing I had to play with older girls. They kind of taught me what a good leader does and that helped me translate it to high school basketball.”
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