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By Stacy Clardie/JG
About 40 coaches lined the court to watch the Kentucky Premier team featuring several top-shelf prospects play the Cincinnati Heat, led by Ally Malott.

Special talent on display

College coaches struggled to find a spot with a clear view of Court 3 inside a practice complex at the University of Louisville earlier this week.

Chairs were at a premium, and many coaches were forced to stand, overflowing along the sidelines of the court instead of in the "coaches only" section underneath one basket.

But that's what can happen when two AAU teams with premier talent face off at a July tournament.

On Wednesday, that was case when the Kentucky Premier team played Cincinnati's Heat with phenom Ally Malott.

Ultimately, Premier pulled away in the final minutes and won.

But it was a highly competitive game with tons of talent on display. You can check out a bit of the action by clicking on the video post in the blog.

I caught up with Premier forward Sara Hammond afterward -- she is wearing No. 5 in black in the video, Malott is No. 11 in white -- to talk about the crazy month of July and their college intentions.

"We have four tournaments in July. We're going here (Louisville), to Tennessee, Indiana and Georgia, so we're going to be traveling the next four weeks right in a row," Hammond said. "But I love it. I enjoy it. Basketball is my life. Every game I try to make myself better, make my team better and show college coaches what I have to offer."

And it's plenty.

I went into the game knowing about Malott, a 6-foot-3 forward fresh off a stint with the U18 U.S. National team.

But it didn't take long for Hammond to shine.

She's about 6-1, a left-handed shooter, has nice athleticism, great hustle, runs the floor well, was an active defender, has decent length and a nice frame to add strength and a nice stroke. Didn't see her handle too much because I only saw the one game.

But it wasn't surprising, then, when I snagged her after the game to hear that Connecticut had called to tell her AAU coach that one of its coaches intended to come see her play this month.

Hammond said she'd like to get more offers as July progresses, but when we spoke, she said she had the list down to about five schools. She wouldn't name all of them but did say she's "really looking hard at Louisville" and is interested in Notre Dame and North Carolina.

"(Louisville) has been in the most contact with me," said Hammond, who attends Rockcastle County High School, about 130 miles from Louisville. "I've gotten to know the coaches. I've come for a visit. I've gotten to know the players. I feel comfortable around them. But I'm going to take visits -- up in Indiana, maybe into Texas, down to North Carolina, and I'll get to know the coaches and go from there."

With so much interest, it's no wonder Hammond was smiling and excitedly chatting about the recruiting process and this month, her final chance to showcase her abilities in this AAU setting.

"It's just a great opportunity right now because being from Kentucky many people don't go far. But it's really fun right now. I'm just enjoying it," she said.

For more on Malott, check back Saturday.

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