A few of the Shoals area’s top girls basketball players continue to pile up scholarship offers during the busy summer season.
The summer is a critical time for recruiting as college coaches can easily watch large groups of players at travel ball showcases.
• Sara Puckett, a 6-1 rising junior who plays forward for Muscle Shoals, added offers this week from Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina, Penn State and Oregon. That brings her total of Division I scholarship offers to 30.
Puckett was named the TimesDaily’s female athlete of the year for 2018-19 after a solid season in volleyball preceded another standout basketball season. She helped Muscle Shoals advance to the Northwest Regional in Hanceville for the first time since before any of the current players were on the team.
Puckett plays travel ball with the AL Southern Starz.
Her other offers include Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, North Alabama, North Carolina State, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, Purdue, South Alabama, South Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
• Karly Weathers, a 5-9 rising sophomore who plays guard at Loretto, picked up offers this past week from Kentucky and Georgia Tech.
Weathers was named the TimesDaily’s small school girls basketball player of the year for 2018-19. She led the Mustangs to the Class A state championship game and was named the tournament’s most valuable player. She was also a finalist for Tennessee’s Class A Miss Basketball award.
Weathers, who also plays summer ball with the AL Southern Starz, already had offers from Alabama, Belmont, Florida State, Indiana, Iowa State, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, South Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Her teammate, Victoria Chadwell, recently got an offer from NAIA Blue Mountain College in Mississippi.
• Rogers rising sophomore Madie Krieger earned offers earlier this offseason from North Alabama, Jacksonville State and UAH. The 5-6 guard was a Class 4A state player of the year finalist and led the Pirates to the Class 4A state championship.
Krieger figures to draw continued interest going forward. Krieger plays travel ball with the All Alabama Road Runners.
Parrish commits to UNA baseball
Wilson's Brycen Parrish, a rising senior, committed last Friday to play baseball at North Alabama.
Parrish said head coach Mike Keehn and pitching coach Anthony DeCicco started contacting him early last basketball season, and he appreciated the interest from his hometown school.
“It means the world,” Parrish said. “When they sat down and told me they wanted me to play for them, it was real eye-opening and humbling.”
Parrish also had an offer from Martin Methodist and said he had some interest from SEC schools but no offers.
A standout athlete in multiple sports at Wilson, the 6-5 Parrish throws a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. He helped Wilson to the second round of the Class 4A baseball tournament this spring. The Warriors dominated West Limestone before falling to eventual semifinalist Hokes Bluff.
“Having a curveball that’s not slow or loopy with a hard cut to it is able to make my fastball look that much better,” the right-hander said.
Parrish posted nearly identical numbers this spring to fellow Wilson starter Luke Daniel, who is committed to Auburn. He was named second-team all-state after going 6-3 with a 0.50 ERA and allowing opponents a batting average of .167 against him. He struck out 83 batters and walked only 16.
“Coach DeCicco and Coach Keehn are just great guys and it’s awesome to have people like that to be around,” Parrish said. “ … Of course I want to go and win ballgames, but it’s about where I’ll be comfortable and where I want to be.”
Parrish said he’s interested in possibly entering the medical field one day.
He plays travel baseball for Team Georgia, and he has one more year to lead a Wilson team that appears set for another solid season.
“I think we have a really good shot to be special. It’s going to be a great group of guys,” he said.
Lexington’s Thaxton bound for Lawson State
Lexington High School graduate Daniel Thaxton is set to play baseball at Lawson State Community College.
Thaxton batted .356 with four doubles and a triple and also pitched this year after focusing on hitting as a junior due to injury.
The Bears advanced to the first round of the Class 3A playoffs before falling to Sylvania.
Lawson State was Thaxton’s lone offer, though he did have limited contact with Alabama A&M. He was impressed with Coach Ryan Sadler’s faith and professionalism.
“He came off as the type of guy you’d want to play for, you’d want to win for,” Thaxton said.
Lawson State became aware of Thaxton at a showcase in Montgomery earlier this summer.
Thaxton said he’ll have an opportunity to try out at both pitcher and outfielder. He’s open to either and thinks he might be further along as a pitcher after some improvement on his command and maturity over the last couple years. He said he doesn’t get frustrated as easily as he once did.
“When I start getting frustrated with myself, I start walking people. I start giving up hits,” the right-hander said.
Thaxton throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, changeup and curveball. He regularly throws the fastball between 83 and 85 miles per hour and said the two-seam is his strongest pitch.
“I can work on my mechanics a lot. I’ve been told by a couple scouts and college coaches that my mechanics can be vastly improved,” he said. He wants to work on “getting more balanced on my back side and using my legs more.”
Thaxton wants to study chemistry and eventually be a diagnostic radiologist, a position he learned about through his injury as a junior.
He appreciates coach Cole Mitchell for helping him play college baseball, and Thaxton hopes he was a good leader for his younger Lexington teammates.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Lexington,” he said. “The community was always supportive.”