Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR; NAPHEESA COLLIER; PRODIGY: Incarnate Word Sophomore Collier Already Compared to Area Greats; ALL-METRO; GIRLS BASKETBALL; SOLID GOLD

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR; NAPHEESA COLLIER; PRODIGY: Incarnate Word Sophomore Collier Already Compared to Area Greats; ALL-METRO; GIRLS BASKETBALL; SOLID GOLD

Article excerpt

Metro coach Gary Glasscock, the dean of area girls basketball coaches, is as tuned into area high school girls basketball history as anybody.

And when the subject about the top-tier players to come along in these parts the past few decades has come up, he used to always have a very short list that included St. Joseph's great Kristen Folkl- Kaburakis and Niele Ivey, who played for him at Cor Jesu.

Now, Glasscock is comfortable adding a new name to that list: Incarnate Word's Napheesa Collier.

"She's definitely in that category," he said of the 6-foot-1 standout who recently led the Red Knights to a Class 4 state championship and first undefeated season. "She's going to get more accolades because she's doing things as a sophomore that they did as seniors. She's like a combination of Niele and Kristen."

In other words, less than a year after transferring to Incarnate from Jefferson City, Collier is on pace to become the best player in area history. We realize that's a lot to stack upon a sophomore. At this point, she's that good.

Despite her status as a sophomore, Collier is a clear choice to be the Post-Dispatch All-Metro player of the year.

"It would be hard not to pick her," Incarnate coach Dan Rolfes said. "There are so many things she can do on the floor and so many ways I can play her. For opponents, she presents huge matchup problems."

Collier is the ulimate weapon. Not only did she lead the area in scoring at 24.6 per game, but she was ninth in rebounding (11.9), 13th in steals (4.0) and 18th in blocks (2.4). When crafty point guard and teammate Nakiah Bell graduates next year, Collier, who averaged 2.0 assists, might become a standout playmaker, too.

She averaged 4.7 assists as the point guard for Jefferson City as a freshman, so there's no arguing that she's a five-tool basketball player, which comes along about as often as Halley's Comet.

Collier improved dramatically in all the other statistical categories over her first year. She tallied 17.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 1.7 blocks for the Jays.

"Napheesa is a gifted athlete, and she will only get better," St. Joseph's coach Julie Matheny said. …

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