UCLA in On Top Girls Prospect

The girls basketball recruiting season just got a lot more interesting as top-ranked guard Jacki Gemelos, who committed to Connecticut when she was 15, just de-committed from the Huskies and is now looking at some Pac-10 programs...

Jacki Gemelos, one of the nation's top 2006 prospects, likely is leaning toward the University of California after a recent unofficial visit there this past weekend, a source close to Gemelos told HoopGurlz.com.

Gemelos, of Stockton, Calif., has de-committed from Connecticut, to whom she verballed when she was 15, and also is considering UCLA and USC, the source said. Gemelos met Cal head women's basketball Coach Joanne Boyle as well as head football Coach Jeff Tedford this past weekend, according to the source.

The 6-foot guard likely would still be UConn-bound had her club teammate and friend, Jayne Appel, also committed to the Huskies, the source said. Appel, who played with Gemelos for the East Bay Xplosion, has verballed to Stanford.

Mark Anger, head coach of the East Bay Xplosion, confirmed that a desire to play closer to home was the main reason behind Gemelos' de-commitment from Connecticut. Gemelos could not be reached for comment. She told the recruiting newsletter, All-Star Girls Report, that she informed the UConn staff of her decision last week.

"That conversation was pretty final," Gemelos told ASGR. "It was very difficult. I never wanted to break my commitment, and I didn't want to disappoint the Connecticut coaches or fans. I feel horrible about it, but I felt like it was something I had to do. I want to be happy, so I needed to do what was best for me, and I think I'll be a lot happier in California."

Interesting enough, Cal was a late but serious entrant in the sweepstakes for the highly recruited Appel. The Bears got involved in the recruitment of Appel after hiring the highly regarded Boyle.

The Pac-10's seemingly imminent commitment from Gemelos sets up a banner recruiting year for the conference. In addition to Stanford landing Appel, considered one of the country's top five prospects, Arizona State has landed a commitment from top point-guard prospect Dymond Simon of Phoenix, Ariz. HoopGurlz.com also is reporting that Aarika Hughes, a highly regarded wing at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Ore., has committed to USC. Hughes' Southridge teammate, JJ Hones, will join Appel at Stanford.

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