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Rose Summer Classic notebook: Medgar Evers’ Small taking big steps

Shakila Small has heard about all the early college interest she is garnering. Many coaches have been in Lady X-Men coach Jahar Vann’s ear about the Medgar Evers rising 6-foot-1 sophomore forward.

“It just shows me that I have to go harder,” Smalls said.

That’s because she knows there is plenty of work yet to be done.

College coaches are interested in the talented underclassman because of the vast potential she is trying to realize. Vann, who will be the JV coach at Bishop Loughlin next year, believes the biggest thing Small needs to work on is her footwork and catching the ball more consistently in the post.

Assistant Mike Moore, who coaches at Midwood, was working with her on pivoting to face the basket in between quarters at the Rose Summer Classic at Fordham University last Wednesday. She has a solid touch around the basket and is active on the glass with her long arms.

“It’s the little things that she hasn’t learned that she is learning now and doing much better,” Vann said.

Small averaged 5.6 points and seven rebounds per game during the regular season and upped her rebounds to 9.0 per contest in the playoffs, helping Medgar Evers claim the PSAL Class A title. This year she wants to score more, by being more aggressive and making mid-range jump shots.

“I think I need to improve on looking more to score and attacking the basket,” Small said. “I’ve gotten better since the summer started.”

Kennedy getting North Carolina transfer: Cherokee Hart will be taking her solid 6-foot frame to John F. Kennedy next season. The junior, playing for Harlem USA, said she was looking for more exposure and decided to leave Northern Durham HS in North Carolina.

“They were not really helping me to get noticed,” she said.

Hart, a Newark, N.J. native, said she felt comfortable with Knights coach O’Neil Glenn. She is a strong rebounder with a soft touch around the basket who will need to improve her conditioning, something that should not be a problem with Glenn pushing her.

“I’m staying up here for good,” Hart said.

Hickman progressing after injury-shortened season: St. Francis Prep’s Katherine Hickman missed the majority of her sophomore season recovering from a torn ACL in her left knee that she sufferred in April 2009. The 6-foot-3 center has spent most of this summer getting back in shape and learning to be more aggressive.

“She is playing against girls that are the same size as her and now instead of shying away from them she is hitting them back, boxing out,” NYC Lady Warriors coach Joe DeLuca said. “She is a project, but she is going to [get] there because she has the work ethic.”

Hickman has been running stairs and staying after practices to work on her game. She looked mobile chasing after a loose ball and scoring on a putback. DeLuca said her post moves have also improved.

“This summer is more learning to come back and try to get better,” Hickman said. “I’m still a sophomore so next season will be my summer.”

DeLuca also confirmed he will be coaching girls basketball at Christ the King next season, but does not know in what capacity yet. He left Bishop Ford after a season as Mike Toro’s varsity assistant.

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