Player Spotlight: Michelle Brunker - 2008

We continue our girls basketball coverage with the spotlight on one of the top 2008 prospects in San Diego, Michelle Brunker, The Bishop's School...

Michelle Brunker, 5-8 2008 G San Diego (Calif.) The Bishops School, is one of the top 2008 prospects in San Diego.  Recently we had a chance to talk to her regarding her recruitment, the new coach at Bishops and her basketball future.

 

 

Name:  Michelle Brunker – (2008)

School:  The Bishop's School – La Jolla, CA

Position:  Combo Guard (1/2)        HT: 5:08       WT: 130

High School Coach:  Marlon Wells

 

Video Clips of Michelle Brunker

 

SDPrep: What were your stats from last season?

Brunker:  2005 Stats

 

SDPrep:  What is your official height and weight? 

Brunker: 5:08/130

 

SDPrep: What is your greatest basketball memory?

MB:  I've been around the game all of my life so it's not easy to pick one.  I attended my first AAU tournament at the age of four months when my father coached my sister Maria's team at the 11 & Under National Championship in Orlando.  Ever summer that would be our summer vacation.  I was always that little sister dribbling on the sideline hoping for a chance to jump on the court during breaks in the action.  I was ten playing on a 12 & under team when I finally played in my first tournament in New Haven, CT.  Our team caught the train to New York when we had time, to see the WNBA Liberty play in the Garden and the sights of New York.  This proved to be memorable because it was the summer before 9/11.  We have videotape of the Twin Towers so after being there two months earlier I knew exactly where everything was.  The next summer I played on an 11 & under team (SGV) in Los Angeles that won the silver medal at the National AAU Championship.

SDPrep: What are your goals for the upcoming season?

MB: Win.  Nobody is giving us a chance this season after losing two seniors that are playing in college from last year and only six players on our team.  If we can stay healthy and out of foul trouble, I think we could match or improve on last years 25 win season.

SDPrep:  What aspect of your game have you really worked hard to improve?

MB: With only six players on our team I know I am going to be asked to play a lot of minutes so I've been working hard on my speed, strength, and stamina to be in the best condition possible.  Our school has a great strength & conditioning program under the direction of Coach Charles Johnson and Trainer Jason Charlebois.  What area would you like to keep improving on? I need to work on staying out of foul trouble.  That means being under control while going to the hoop and not fouling outside the lane. 

SDPrep:  Who are some of your teammates that people need to watch out for?

MB: There are only five, but they all can play starting with senior Kathleen Roehrkasse who was all-CIF last season.  Sophomores Bianca Padilla and Madison Victor have been doing really good and freshman Elaina White might be one of the best ninth graders in San Diego.  Senior Megan Taele is a great three-point shooter.

SDPrep:  Name one teammate you really respect and why?

MB: That's easy.  Kathleen Roehrkasse might be the hardest working teammates I have ever known.  She will graduate number one in her class this year and has a 4.81 GPA and 2270 SAT.  After six games she has six double-doubles and three triple-doubles.  Kathleen is a very quiet player but I love passing to her because she always makes me feel the assist was appreciated.

 

SDPrep:  Tell us about Coach Wells.

MB: Coach Wells works very hard and pays close attention to team and individual details.  We are always doing something in practice.  There is not a lot of standing around.  He has me focused on taking advantage of my strengths and using those strengths to work on areas I need to improve.  I really like the way he talks to everyone in the program with respect and makes us all feel important.  He is also very funny, especially when we are watching videos of our games.

 

SDPrep:  How different are his practices compared to last years coach.

MB: Actually there are a lot of similarities.  Coach Farrell and Coach Wells are very structured and disciplined.  The difference is probably us.  This year's team is working a lot harder, paying closer attention, and understanding that we will play like we practice.  One thing that is a lot different is we are doing a lot more running than I have ever done at Bishop's.

SDPrep:  What are your goals regarding playing college basketball?

MB: I want to play at the highest level of competition, with an emphasis on play.

SDPrep:  Will you consider staying in state to play in college?

MB: Yes.

 

SDPrep:  What are your top 5 college choices?

MB: That's a tough question.  I have received mail and email from 90 schools since September 1st.  This week Georgetown, Kansas, Rice, and Notre Dame, and San Diego were added to the list.  Those would be five pretty good ones, but there are others that have been sending a lot of messages every day.  Right now I am wide open while trying to find out as much as I can about the schools I have heard from to determine who really needs a guard in 2008.

SDPrep:  What will be the top 3 reasons in selecting a college?

MB: I want to go to a college with a strong academic reputation, play for a coach that needs a guard in 2008 and has built a successful program that has a chance to compete for their conference championship and beyond during my time in school, and hopefully will have a community that supports women's basketball by going to the games.

 

SDPrep: Do you know what you will major in at the next level? 

MB: Not decided yet, but have an interest in medicine, law, and business.

SDPrep:  Who is the best player you ever played against?

MB: My brothers Michael and Mario.  I was six years old when my sister Maria graduated from high school in 1996 and went on to play at the University of New Orleans.  I was always chasing my older brothers and they would let me play with them in the cul-de-sac and at the rec center.  When Michael went to college to play football at the University of New Mexico, it was Mario playing one-on-one with me and swatting my shot down the street.  When it comes to girls, while playing on my father's Jackie Robinson YMCA Monarchs team in middle school with Jerica Williams (UCLA), we would always run up against Jasmine Dixon (Long Beach Poly) who played for the Long Beach Lady Warriors.  Last year's Windward team with Erica Latimer (UCLA) and Hailey Dunham (USC) was very good.

SDPrep:  Name one opponent who you really respect and why?

MB: La Jolla Country Day because we are 0-6 against them over the past two years.  I am friends with most of their players and Coach Bamford.  Janae Fulcher and Dominique Conners played with me for the Jackie Robinson YMCA Monarchs.  One player on their team I really respect is Dominique Conners.  She and her family relocated to Oceanside when her father transferred to the Camp Pendleton Marine Base while in seventh grade.  We met each other then and have been close friends ever since.  Dominique is recovering from a pretty bad knee surgery after sitting out most of last year while her father was overseas in Iraq.  He is back now and she appears to be at full strength.  I always look forward to playing Country Day.

SDPrep:  What Club Basketball team do you play for in the Spring and Summer?

MB: I will play for EBO and Coach Wells during the club season, however during the spring; I will play softball for The Bishop's School.  Just like basketball, softball barely has enough players to field a team each year.  I was the MVP last season and look forward to playing for Coach Thomas Abeyta.  Hopefully if the schedule will allow, I can make some of the spring basketball activities too.

SDPrep:  How do you think your coach would describe you as a player?

MB: This is what he wrote in his preseason report: "Smooth-operator has offensive firepower. Combo-guard has a nice handle and plays solid defense. Brunker is already receiving attention from high major DI programs."  After six games he might add that I am a hard worker and an excellent passer (I like to pass)!

SDPrep:  What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?

MB: I play hard and try to do a lot of things on the court to help my team be successful.  Sometimes I may need to score, other times I might need to handle the ball or play good defense or rebound, so I guess you can say I do a lot of things.  I need to keep working on staying out of foul trouble.

 

SDPrep:  Who is your favorite athlete and why?

MB: Michael Jordan will always be my favorite but since he is retired Dwayne Wade is the one.  I really admire an athlete in any sport that gives their all every time they play – especially when they are sick or injured.  Since winning the NBA Championship there have been a lot of stories done about Dwayne Wade that showed how much adversity he had to overcome outside of basketball.  The TV commercial where he pulls out a hoop, balls, and then rides away on the bike after throwing the coach keys to an SUV was nice.

SDPrep:  What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

MB: With a father who coached in college and the NBA and siblings that played college sports, I have been getting advice all my life.  The best might be anything that sounds like - work hard, but have fun.  There is more to life than playing games.

SDPrep:  Tell us what can we expect from your team this season?

MB: We will work hard and have fun every time we practice and play games.  If we can continue to improve every time we come to the gym we will be tough to beat.

SDPrep:  What position do you think you will play at the next level?

MB:I will play in someone's backcourt as a combo (1/2) guard.

SDPrep:  What can a basketball program expect from you as a player?

MB: You can count on getting a player that knows the game and has been trained by some good coaches.  I hate to lose and want to join a program that works hard towards being the best.  I want play and will work hard to make it happen.

 

SDPrep:  Tell us about your day to day workouts during the off-season.   

MB: In addition to the year round strength & conditioning program at The Bishop's School, I have worked out with my older sister and brothers who are all fitness fanatics.  I do a lot of running, lifting, in addition to basketball skill drills – especially ball handling and shooting.

 

SDPrep: What was the last book you read?  

MB: The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

 

SDPrep:   What was the latest movie you saw?

MB: Goal! (I've become a soccer fan since the last world cup)!

 

SDPrep:  What is your all time favorite movie?

MB: Love & Basketball

 

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Athletic directors, coaches or fans who would like to suggest a player to be featured may contact Publisher Gary Trousdale at trous@cox.net

 

Thanks to Michelle and her family for giving us the opportunity to conduct this interview!

 

Gary Trousdale

Publisher

trous@cox.net


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