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2024 Select Events Prime East: Recruiting Notebook (Pt. 3)

06/11/2024, 10:30am EDT
By Josh Verlin

By Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

MANHEIM, Pa. — The 2024 edition of the Select Events Prime East tournament invaded Spooky Nook Sports this past weekend, with teams from up and down the East Coast coming to Lancaster County for a weekend of bracket play. 

Here’s Pt. 3 of our coverage notebooks from the weekend: 


2024 Select Events Prime East Coverage
Standouts | Notebook Pt. 1 | Notebook Pt. 2 | Notebook Pt. 3 


Alexis Eberz (2026 | Comets GUAA 17U)
It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for Eberz, and it’s only going to get better. 

Alexis Eberz (above) had a flurry of recruiting activity recently. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

The Archbishop Carroll standout has seen a flurry of recruiting activity since the June 1 date when college coaches can freely contact rising juniors, pulling in a half-dozen new offers. She got her first 17U action this weekend at Prime East, the 16U team taking the week off due to injuries, so she plaeyd up. And now she’s going to get to play with her younger sisters in an official capacity for the first time ever. 

Kayla and Kelsey Eberz will both be freshmen at Carroll this fall, graduating middle school on Sunday, and getting their first run in with the Patriots this upcoming weekend at the Jersey Live event in Montgomery (N.J.). 

“Oh my God, it’s going to be awesome, first time playing with them, ever,” Alexis Eberz said on Saturday. “It’s been talked about at the dinner table for a while now. They’re so excited, I’m thrilled, I can’t wait.”

The three daughters of former Villanova ballplayers Eric Eberz and Michelle (Thornton) Eberz have been preparing for this season for months, if not years. Alexis said she’s been walking her sisters through the team’s plays in their driveway, the 5-11 Kayla going to play in the post for the Patriots while Kelsey will join Alexis on the perimeter as one of the team’s point guards.

“I have it all written down from freshman year,” she said.

Already a two-year starter for one of the top programs in the Catholic League, Alexis Eberz has made her mark as one of the area’s best shooters, with a much-improved ability off the bounce over the last year. 

Colleges have noticed, as well. Since the end of the May live period, she’s been offered by Harvard, Rider, Manhattan, Robert Morris, and Penn and Drexel. Princeton, Buffalo, Richmont and Butler had all been in touch as well, she did, with the first of June a particularly busy day for her cell phone. 

“It was crazy,” she said. “I mean, it’s a good thing, obviously, but yeah, it was a lot. I had to write everything down. Talking to different coaches, it’s great, having great conversations with them. Schools I never really heard of before reached out.”

With her college interest newly expanded, Eberz is very much still early in the process of determining what she’s looking for at the next level. Playing in the Big East like her parents has been a dream, but not to the point she’s willing to overlook other options.

“I’m still trying to figure it out,” she said, “I’m open to anything.” — Josh Verlin


Bria Watkins (2025 | Team Northeast 17U)

For the last few years, Watkins and her older sister Mariah Watkins have been tied at the hip. The sisters teamed up together for Team Northeast’s 17s last summer, and have been playing at Schroeder (N.Y.) high school each of the last three years.

Bria Watkins (above) is weighing a number of Division I options. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

But with Mariah off to Drexel to start her college career, Bria is going solo for the first time in a while.

“Obviously I miss my sister, it’s nice having her around,” she said, “but it’s nice to build my own game and work on my skills.”

A 6-foot-tall wing, Watkins is an all-around threat, a confident slasher with smooth athleticism who can play just about any position on the court. She currently slots in as something of a combo ‘3’ and ‘4’ at the next level, her perimeter shot and ability to shoot off the bounce still needing improvement before she can consider herself more of a ‘2’ and ‘3.’

Her versatility was on display on Saturday when, playing for Team Northeast, she grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists plus two steals in a game where her jumper wasn’t quite falling, though she added two tough driving layups in overtime of a game her team lost by a point.

When she did put a jumper, it was a high-arcing shot, and the couple she took with her feet set suggested promise in that area with continued reps.

“I’m a good defensive player, I get a lot of rebounds, I’m good at locking people up,” she said. “I’m working on my jump shot, but I think I can make moves to the basket.”

She said she has offers from “25-plus” schools, though she’s starting to develop a group of favorites as she moves closer to a decision. It’s going to be a busy summer of visits ahead before she picks, up and down the Northeast.

Drexel, unsurprisingly, is very much in the mix, with Fordham, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Northeastern among others all heavily involved. St. Joe’s, a recent offeree, is a target for a visit, as are Providence and New Hampshire; she’s already been to others, including Drexel and Fordham, but official visits back to those spots are possibilities.

A sisterly reunion at the next level is possible, but not a given.

“I mean, yeah, I love to play with her, but then I’m also open to going by myself,” she said. “Relationships with the coaches [are important]; obviously, I want a good education. I’m going for my major, education, so they’ve got to have that. Just a good school, good basketball program, good facilities.” — Josh Verlin


Kaylinn Bethea (2025 | Philadelphia Belles 17U)
A new uniform meant an old reunion for Bethea. 

Kaylinn Bethea (above) is playing with the Belles for the rest of her 17U summer. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

The Penn Charter rising senior joined the Belles for the rest of the summer after playing with Philly Rise for the last few summers. The main attraction, she said, was teaming up with a few long-ago teammates in Nicholle Green (Timber Creek) and Alexa Henry (Lenape).

“The last time I played with them together was probably fifth grade, but we’ve always chatted about playing together,” Bethea said. “This was the perfect opportunity. Just playing on the court for the first time together, it brought back memories and smiles, which was great.”

Though Bethea just had two practices with the Belles this week before she took the court with them on Saturday, the 5-9 combo guard still brought her athleticism and scoring ability with her to Spooky Nook. 

She said she’s been working with trainer Stan Williams, a boys’ basketball assistant at Imhotep Charter, to work on her skills, with Penn Charter taking the spring and summer off.

“Transitioning from high school ball to AAU is different, especially with the speed of the game, AAU’s much faster than high school,” she said, “so I’ve been able to stay in shape with that, attack the rim and work on my shot.”

Now that her junior year of school is over, Bethea’s focus turns towards her college decision; She also wants to watch her younger brothers, Landon (13) and Blake (9), as they develop their own loves for the sport. 

A Division I recruit since her freshman year with the Quakers, she has a strong group of mid-to-high-majors heavily involved, including a couple of Big 5 options in Penn and St. Joe’s. Ahead is a busy month of visits: SJU (June 17), Elon (June 21-22), Richmond (June 28) and Siena (July 5) are on the schedule; a trip to Cleveland State is “later on” in the summer. 

“I’m just looking forward to seeing the coaching staffs, because it’s different from texting,” she said. “ I’m deciding if I want to stay close to home where I’m familiar with stuff, or being far [away] and able to explore new things and adventures. Finding a team that has a family environment where everybody’s together and close, not divided.” — Josh Verlin


Lena Girardi (2025 | Empire State Blue Flames 17U)

It’s been a frustrating few months for Girardi. 

Lena Girardi (above) is back on the court after missing most of three months. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

The No. 79 player in the ESPN HoopGurlz 2025 rankings, Girardi first hurt her ankle during a January game with her IMG Academy (Fl.) squad. Trying to return too quickly, she made it worse, putting her on the sidelines for two months. 

She was able to get back for the Chipotle High School Nationals, though IMG fell to archrival Montverde in the championships. A few weeks later, in the second game of the first live period in April, a jammed finger turned out to be a broken bone in her hand. 

This weekend was her first full tournament of the spring. 

“It’s so great to be back out there,” the 6-foot-tall guard said. “I actually played (with Empire State) when I was a kid, so I’m just finishing where I started. Kelly [Guarino]’s an amazing coach, we spend most of our summers in New York and I wanted to be part of the sisterhood and culture she’s building.”

The daughter of former MLB player and manager Joe Girardi, Lena Girardi’s career has been impacted by her father’s professional moves, from the Yankees to the Phillies and beyond. She’s back with Empire State after playing with FGB (Florida) last summer, and the Comets for several seasons before that. 

She got a chance to go up against her former program on Sunday, the Blue Flames toppling the Comets in the quarterfinals on their way to a runner-up finish. Girardi contributed nine points to the effort, all in the second half, as she’s still working her way back from those injuries.

An athletic combo guard with great size (6-0), Girardi is a high-motor ballplayer who can score it at a high clip from inside and out while defending all over the court. Her combination of size, athleticism, IQ and skill made her a wanted commodity amongst high-major programs, but she’s narrowed things down to a top group.

After playing at IMG, one of the nation’s premier athletics facilities, Girardi will have a rather different experience as a senior. She’s transferring to Grandview Prep (Fl.), a small private school in Boca Raton, and teaming up with longtime friend Abby Price; Price’s father, Jeff Price, is taking over as Grandview’s coach after a long career as a men’s collegiate coach, including 17 years at Lynn (Fl.)

Asked which schools she wanted to visit, she mentioned Virginia Tech, Arizona, North Carolina, Michigan, NC State, Northwestern, Mississippi State and Alabama, though she might not get to all of them before she makes a decision. No visits are planned yet; she said she wants to see most of them in the fall before a decision.

“I probably have to make a few decisions before then and narrow it down, but those are the main schools I’m looking at,” she said. “A big piece [of what I’m looking for] is just the culture, like family, style, playing the right way a lot, developing too because obviously I want to play pro. And just somewhere I can grow on and off the court too, get a great education, stuff like that.”


Quick Hits
Jada Snow (2025 | HUrban Legends) has “close to 20” offers, but the 5-11 guard from the Sanford School (Del.) is still figuring out where different schools stand as her summer carries on. The sharpshooting, versatile wing, who plays the ‘2’ through the ‘4’ with relative ease, said she hasn’t taken any visits yet and though she plans to later this offseason, doesn’t have anything set or any schools she knows she wants to see. She the schools on her the most were Northeastern, and then “a couple of the Ivy Leagues” and “a couple of schools in the Big East,” but didn’t offer specifics.

“I feel like campus-wise, I don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere, I want to be able to have a little bit of fun when I’m not playing basketball,” she said. “And then just school-wise, I just look for a good vibe with the coaches and stuff, with the players and all that.”

— There’s a lot of upside to Mia Washington (2026 | Empire State Blue Flames), the lanky 5-11 wing an adept slasher with a lot of length, and colleges are picking up on it. La Salle, Stony Brook and Lafayette were her most recent offers, taking her up to seven total. A Pope John (Sparta, N.J.) rising junior, Washington said she got into hoops from her dad, who played overseas and also played with the Harlem Globetrotters. She’s interested in taking visits to the new schools that have offered her, while she’s working this summer on “just my mind-range and being more consistent with my shot.”

Amari Worsham (2026 | Elevate Elite 3SSB 16U) realized in middle school that she wanted to take basketball seriously enough to be a Division I ballplayer. Now standing six feet tall, with plenty of length and athleticism, she’s certainly got what it takes. The William Fleming (Va.) rising junior is adept at getting to the basket and is a versatile defender who can block shots and play passing lanes equally well; she’s already racking up college offers, with Boston College, Radford, High Point, North Carolina A&T and others already extending scholarships. She’s currently working on her ball-handling and outside shooting, wanting to become more of a ‘2’ and ‘3’ by the time she gets to college.

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