Summer AAU basketball team prepares local girls for the next level

TNBA West Elite U16 Penn State Invitational Champions

FRONT- Lacy Leduc (Avon Lake), Steph Haas (Magnificat), Megan Barilla (Magnificat), Morgan Dziak Amherst

BACK- Coach Kevin McNamara, Katie McNally (Rocky River), Katie Carroll (Westlake), Brittney McNamara (Elyria Catholic), Alex Harris (Lorain), Emily Julius (Avon)

The National Basketball Academy (TNBA) West is located in Avon, Ohio at the All-Pro Construction facility. They are an AAU team that is affiliated with Adidas and gives some of the best high school girls basketball players in the area a chance to play tournaments all summer long. These tournaments are viewed by a multitude of college scouts. They also give the girls much more exposure for recruiting than just the winter regular season.

          The under 16 West Elite team included Steph Haas and Megan Barilla from Magnificat High School, Katie McNally from Rocky River High School, Katie Carroll from Westlake High School, and other girls from the surrounding area.

          The team won three national events including the 2011 USA Invitational at Penn State, the 2011 Nike Midwest Showdown (in Cincinnati), and the 2011 Adidas Summer Slam. They were 30-5 overall for their summer schedule.

          Head coach Kevin McNamara has been involved in the program for six years, acting as head coach for the last three.

          “We want those girls that have the desire to take it [their skills] to the next level,” said McNamara. “We want hard workers. With our help, the sponsorship by Adidas and all that comes along with that, we hope to parlay this into some college scholarships. All four girls (Haas, Barilla, McNally, and Carroll) will play college basketball.”

          The type of basketball played in AAU differs from the high school game. It is a faster, up and down the court, style of play.

          McNamara said, “Some of the tournaments implement a shot clock, which the girls are definitely not used to. Our girls play against teams from all over the world, and they get to play together all year round. The OHSAA really hamstrings us by only letting two girls from each school on our teams. There is a huge advantage to those other teams that have up to five girls from the same school. They don’t have to go through the chemistry issues that we go through.”

          He also had glowing remarks about the girls. He said about Haas, “She’s who I rely on the most. I call her a coach on the floor. She’s an A student, and her intelligence transfers to the floor during the games.”

          Haas said, “It was awesome. It was probably the best team I have ever played on. We had such great chemistry and we got along so well that it really showed on the court.”

          On Barilla, McNamara said, “She’s the glue that holds the team together. She does everything great. She can pass, defend, run, and shoot. Her only downside is that she does everything great and sometimes we didn’t need her to score.”

          Barilla said, “It was great. We were able to see a lot of colleges and we were exposed to a lot of college coaches. Each tournament our team became better and individually each player became better with those guys [TNBA]. Coach McNamara did his job by getting us into all of these tournaments where college scouts were able to see us.”

                    When talking about Carroll, McNamara said, “Katie is six foot tall and a deadly shooter from the outside. The colleges are salivating over her because of the versatility in her game. She’s not only a shooter, she can defend, rebound, and put the ball on the floor.”

          Finally, he praises McNally. He said, “She’s a three point shooter with great range and accuracy. She has a great pedigree. Her sisters were All-Ohio players for Rocky River.”



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