WESTFIELD, IN –Ralph Gesualdo Wanted to End the Weekend on a Positive Note.
The Midwest Elite coach and club basketball legend thought his team had played well so far at the Nike Elite Youth League (EYBL) Indianapolis Girls Session. They were 3-1 on the weekend, with the sole loss coming to an Iowa Attack team that shot 75 percent from the three-point line.
“These kids are young, they’re hungry and they get after it,” Gesualdo said. “I thought they played really well together.”
That play continued into the last game of the session Saturday, with Midwest Elite closing out the weekend with a 55-45 victory over the Fairfax Stars. Elite’s offensive spacing helped them retain a solid lead throughout the game.
Many of Gesualdo’s up-and-coming players had a positive weekend as well.
Jordan King nearly averaged double-digit points on the weekend. Annie Stritzel shot 38 percent from the three-point line. Both sophomores are part of Gesualdo’s recent youth movement.
“Most of the other girls are pretty recognized, because even when they were playing at the sophomore level they got recognition,” Gesualdo said.
Midwest Elite restructured its roster after going 2-3 at Boo Williams early this season. Gesualdo sent down a number of juniors and brought up a number of sophomores, including King, who has been a big part of the team’s recent surge.
“Jordan had a big tournament,” Gesualdo said. “I think she’s going to blow up a little bit.”
The team played with a lot of discipline throughout the session. Midwest only committed two fouls in the second half against Fairfax, allowing them to control the clock and the tempo. Gesualdo said these intangibles are something college coaches recognize that don’t appear on the state sheets.
“I tell my girls, ‘College coaches don’t know the score,’” Gesualdo said. “Typically, their backs are to the scoreboard. But what they watch is how you are as teammates. How you are with coaching. Can you be coached? How are you reacting to defenses? Because they want to know that they’re coachable. So being disciplined is something that they look at.”
Those intangibles were on display for the remaining college coaches, who numbered over 100 throughout the weekend. Scouts from nearby Milwaukee, Marquette and Belmont, as well as VCU, were among those that watched on during Midwest Elite’s final game.
“My priority is to get these girls college scholarships,” Gesualdo said.
Also watching were younger players who were participating in the USJN tournament at the Indianapolis-area fieldhouse. Sitting on the stands along with the EYBL parents Saturday, they observed some of the nation’s best and most underrated while taking note of what it takes to play on a Gesualdo-coached team.
“What people needed to see is these sophomore that I brought up could compete at this level, Gesualdo said. “And I think now there’s no question. They’ll start getting a lot more offers.”
By Mike Shaw