Girls Basketball: Niles West loses Dashae Shumate to Evanston

Story Image Deerfield Saturday 11/19/11Evanson's#32 Alecia Cooley and #24 Sierra Clayborn look on as Niles West's#13 Dashae Shumate tries to gather in a loose ball. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media

Dashae Shumate will enroll at Evanston later this year, and Eliot Whitefield can’t wait to find out what the rising junior will bring to the Wildkits basketball team.

Shumate played two seasons at Niles West with superstar Jewell Loyd, and the rising junior surely learned a thing or two from the incoming Notre Dame freshman.

“It would be great if she can come in here and establish that competitiveness of having played with Jewell,” said Whitefield, who will be in his second season as Evanston’s head coach. “That’s what I am expecting her to do, to push the kids on our team to compete at all times. She’s played in some big games over there.”

The Wolves, who finished 22-9, lost to Glenbrook South in the sectional semifinals in February. Loyd scored 31 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter.

An athletic 5-foot-9 guard, Shumate won regional titles in both seasons and played in a sectional final as a freshman. Meanwhile, the Wildkits last won a regional title in 2008.

“Hopefully, some of that experience will rub off on our girls,” said Whitefield, whose club went 16-13. “But talking to Dashae, she needs to also understand she’s coming into a new situation, and we have a lot of players coming back. We want her to battle and get the best out of each other.”

Evanston and many other area teams started their summer camp Monday. The Wildkits will play games at Niles West’s league on Mondays. They also are entered in Loyola University’s shootout June 23 and will play New Trier on June 27 at Allstate Arena after a Chicago Sky WBNA game.

Shumate is the second impact player to transfer to Evanston in the past two years. A year ago, 6-1 Sinclair Cunningham moved in from Young.

Alecia Cooley is the biggest piece of the puzzle back for Evanston. The 6-foot-2 forward showed she can be a major contributor last year as a junior, especially during the team’s victory over New Trier in Winnetka.

“We have to establish her as our No. 1 option for next year,” Whitefield said. “She has to be our first and second look.”

Also with the Wildkits this summer are junior twins Sierra and Seara Clayborn. They’ve been on varsity since they were freshmen.

Seara Clayborn hasn’t played a full season because of knee problems. Whitefield said the Wildkits definitely missed her last season.

“She’s our best shooter by far,” he said. “That was one of the areas where we struggled last year.”

Parker English also is out this summer. The junior has been a track standout at Evanston. At the state meet in the spring, she was third in the 400-meter dash and fourth in the long jump.

“A lot of people are expecting big things from us,” Whitefield said. “We have to be willing to put in the time now to get there.”

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