Pauley Pavilion, and the parking lot right outside, recently was a dream-come-true for Ashlee Trebilcock. There for the UCLA's mens basketball game against Michigan, she encountered all the Bruin luminaries on whom she'd kept tabs, albeit from afar, since childhood. Wooden was the one she knew best. Trebilcock has all his books and has read each more than once. She has memorized her favorite Wooden-isms.
Meeting the Wizard of Westwood had a profound effect on Ashlee Trebilock. She actually wept.
"I've been close to him, like across the floor from him, but never that close," said the senior from Hart High School in Newhall, Calif. "Meeting him like that just tripped me out. I just started bawling. He's, like, my hero.
"It's so cool, all the people who are around UCLA."
Next year, Trebilcock will be one of those people herself. The 5-foot-9 senior guard has been committed to playing basketball at UCLA since her sophomore year in high school.
"All the coaches flying in to watch practices and all my games, just to babysit - I didn't need all that," Trebilcock said. "I knew where I wanted to go. It's UCLA ... if I could go there, why not?"
|Trebilcock at Tournament of Champions.|
First up: St. John's Prep of Washington, D.C., ranked 10th in the country by Fullcourt Press (www.fullcourt.com). Trebilcock hit St. John's for 28 points and a Hart victory. Next: Piedmont (Calif.), then ranked No. 1. Trebilcock nearly took down the Highlanders single-handedly, scoring 33 points and pulling in nine boards, only to see victory slip away at the end. Next: St. Mary's of Stockton, Calif., ranked 15th in the nation by USA Today and featuring Jacki Gemelos, another early commit ( Connecticut) and considered by most the best junior in the country. Trebilcock toasted them for 35 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists and another Hart victory.
That last win advanced Hart, improbably, to the game for fifth place against Troy of Fullerton, Calif. But the miracles, and Trebilcock's health, had run their course. Trebilock had been back to action only three weeks after suffering two torn ligaments in her left ankle during the final practice in Colorado Springs with the U.S. Junior Olympic team last summer. Against Troy, she also suffered a groin pull, sat out the last quarter and a half and scored "only" 16 points during a loss.
Without Trebilcock, Hart is an average team that probably wouldn't even win its fairly mediocre league. With her, it touched elbows with the elite teams in the country.
"She's the best guard in this tournament, no doubt," Hart Coach Dave Munroe said. "She's the best guard in the country."
Most true basketball insiders wouldn't much debate Munroe's point of view, biased as it is. However, not much fanfare accompanied Trebilcock's arrival at the TOC last week. That may have been partly the product of her early commitment to UCLA, though an early commit doesn't seem to impact Gemelos the same way. It may be more because of the refusal of Trebilcock and her mother, Kim, to play kissy-kissy in the highly political select-team circuit, instead focusing on elevating her skillset and court awareness, and allowing results to speak for themselves.
Apparently for some, those results do not speak loudly enough. Incredibly, one fairly prominent recruiting service, All Game Sports, did not place Trebilcock on its 40-player, preseason All-American team and ranks her only No. 38 among all senior prospects. Eight of the top 14 players on that latter list were included in the Tournament of Champion field that Trebilcock just scorched.
As a junior, Trebilcock led Hart to the CIF-Southern Section Division I championship and the second round of the state tournament. Along the way, Trebilcock engineered a 73-61, first-round upset in the regionals of the state's top-ranked team, Lynwood, which featured Sade Wiley-Gatewood, ranked the top prospect in the country by All Game Sports, operated by her father, Jerry. Trebilock had 24 points and 12 rebounds on Lynwood's home floor.
In Trebilcock, the Lady Bruins are getting a player who has rock-solid core and leg strength, which gives her good lift on her jumper and enables her to get off all shots on balance, a unique trait among high-school players, especially female. She also has a jet-propelled first step and an extremely creative arsenal of moves and finishes in the paint. She gets after the boards and defense, has court savvy beyond her years, sees plays several passes in advance, is equally comfortable with and without the ball, calls all defenses and most offenses for Hart and often is seen leading discussions during timeouts.
"She is Dave's assistant on the floor," Kim Trebilcock said of her daughter.
Much of that capability comes courtesy of genes and general basketball osmosis from Kim Trebilcock, who played collegiately at Brigham Young. Ashlee fell in love with basketball watching her mother play in the "old lady leagues." Since, Kim Trebilcock, now a single mother of two, including Whitnee, a freshman at Hart, has been intimately involved in her oldest daughter's development.
The two work out 4-5 times a week, after Hart's practices, for about 30 minutes on specific items. According to Kim Trebilcock, "Ashlee is not a gym rat," which means she doesn't just spend hours at the gym playing pickup ball, but prefers focused workouts. At a younger age, when a court wasn't available, Ashlee would stick on some headphones and practice her ballhandling to music. Since Ashlee was young, she and Kim also watched and analyzed games at every level of play. Her select-team coach, Leon Wood, a former NBA player and official, also has been instrumental in developing Trebilcock's basketball I.Q.
Ashlee Trebilock began her basketball career playing on co-ed recreation teams. Even at a young age, "Ashlee was just different," Kim Trebilcock said. "You just knew she had something special. She is far superior now than I was, even in college."
This, of course, bodes well for Ashlee Trebilcok's collegiate career. There are other conquests to pursue between now and then, however. Tricks to add, titles to win. After all, John Wooden once said, "Be quick, but never hurry." And those words are etched in Ashlee Trebilcock's brain like a combination that will unlock her future.