Truman head coach Steve Cassity has a young team.
With the early departure of Kierra Collier to the University of Washington, he has no seniors and his starting five consisting of two juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.
The team is young and still has plenty of talent. That talent was on full display during the Patriots’ 83-20 pounding of Kansas City (Kan.) Wyandotte Monday in the first round of the Truman Tournament.
While junior guard Erin Davis led the team with 17 points, it was was a pair of freshmen who displayed addition reasons why Truman has a bright future.
“This team will be together for the rest of this year and next,” said Cassity, whose team led 57-16 at halftime and 70-20 at the end of the third. “I think the future is bright and has great upside potential.”
The freshman guard-forward combo of Deon Monroe and Jewell Hart flashed their potential with a pair of double-doubles. Hart finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and three seals while Monroe put up 16 points, 12 rebounds and two steals.
“I think Deon and Jewell both have high ceilings and their arrows are pointing up,” Cassity said. “They have a great deal of potential and you are seeing that the more minutes they get. They both got off to a slow start this season because Jewell had a health concern and Deon didn’t play our first few games.
“They are starting to find themselves at the varsity level. They are excellent freshmen.”
Hart, the younger sister of former volleyball and basketball standout Lexi Hart, is an athletic forward who has formed a formidable frontcourt duo with sophomore Rosie Braley. Both are taller than 6 feet and have the ability to dominate the paint.
“They are not only a good rebounding combination, they are a good scoring combination,” Cassity said. “You see flashes of it when they play high-low with each other. We’d love to see more of that. We see them as a two-headed monster – a twin towers so to speak.”
Hart said she gets quite a few pointers from her sister and is getting comfortable at the varsity level as she is getting more minutes each game.
“She basically just told me to play like myself and not let anything get into my head,” Hart said, referring to Lexi’s advice. “I feel really nervous before games sometimes, but I am getting used to it.”
Monroe is the first person to come off the bench and has provided instant offense. The quick-footed guard has made a knack for scoring on the fastbreak on a consistent basis and driving to the basket.
“She’s similar (to Kierra),” Cassity said. “The way she arrives for the rebounds is a little bit different. Deon has a great perimeter game and she can drive. She can shoot a lot better than people may speculate because she doesn’t shoot much because she gets to the rim so well.”
Even at 5-foot-8, Monroe likes to post up and rebound, something she said she’s been doing for a long time.
“I like being in the post. I am not really a guard-type,” Monroe said.
Monroe and Hart have played together since they were 5 years old, and now they are playing together on the varsity stage.
“It’s awesome! I love playing with Jewell,” Monroe said.
Others on the team contributed in a big way Monday too, as four out of five starters were in double figures. Braley finished with 10 points and five rebounds and sophomore Kaylie Simonds had 12 points and four steals.
“She took shots that came to her out of the offense,” Cassity said of Simonds. “Her drives were well-timed and under control. She is maturing.”