WBB Recruiting: First Take From TOC

On the first day of the tournament featuring the best high school teams from around the country, Jacki Gemelos of Stockton, Calif., revealed herself as a serious national player of the year candidate.

CHANDLER, Ariz., Dec. 20 - Blink and you miss her magic. Look away and miss the future. Either way, it's hard to take your eyes off Jacki Gemelos of St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif.

Gemelos is so good, she's already committed, as a junior, to Geno Aueriemma and the University of Connecticut. And on the first day of competition at the Nike Tournament of Champions, the 6-foot point guard may have shown herself to be the best player in the tournament.

Maybe the country?

Jacki Gemelos doesn't look
That latter fact was not lost on the crowd, which included former UConn luminary, Diana Taurasi. What the Phoenix Mercury saw was, well, glimpses of herself.

Gemelos, who scored 27 points during St. Mary's 65-55 victory over Hampton, is the real deal - big with handle and vision. She is creative and acrobatic on penetrations, has a great stop-and-pop game, a hair-trigger release from the three-point arc and gets after it on defense. Her presence is perhaps the only reason an otherwise mediocre team from Stockton, Calif., is in the second round of the country's most prestigious tournament for high-school girls.

Gemelos delivers again
The closest to Gemelos in talent and hoops maturity were seniors Marissa Coleman of St. John's (Washington, D.C.), Abby Waner of Thunder Ridge (Colo.) and Courtney Paris of Piedmont.

Coleman, a Maryland signee who scored 22 points during an upset loss to Hart (Newall, Calif.) is a ferocious competitor, strong inside and a nice, smooth stroke from deep. Waner, a Duke signee who scored 28 points during a loss to Long Beach Poly, is long, strong off the dribble and light's out from the perimeter. Paris, who dropped 19 against Thunderbay, is ranked by many as the country's top player and is preceding Gemelos at Duke.

Other standouts from the day included Waner's Thunder Ridge teammate, Emily Fox, who is headed to Minnesota; Cal signees Alexis Gray-Lawson and Delanei Hampton of Oakland Tech, and UCLA-bound Ashlee Trebilcock, who scored 28 points to lead Hart's overtime upset of St. John's.

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