Tina Charles, Jacki Gemelos, Amber Harris and Brittainey Raven top the Scout.com / Full Court Press Preseason All-Americans for the Class of 2006. Six more seniors join them as the cream of the crop for this year’s graduates, and those four also are on the Scout Super Six, which comprises the top players of the year regardless of year of graduation.
Jayne Appel of Concord, Calif. (Carondelet High School), Jessica Breland of Windsor, N.C. (Bertie), Jordan Murphree of Brock, Texas (Brock), Dymond Simon of Avondale, Ariz. (St. Mary's), Amanda Thompson of Chicago (Whitney Young) and Monica Wright of Woodbridge, Va. (Forest Park) round out the team, which was selected by a panel of Scout.com girls’ basketball analysts.
Charles of Jamaica, N.Y. (Christ the King High School), Gemelos of Stockton, Calif. (St. Mary's), Harris of Indianapolis, Ind. (North Central) and Raven of Fort Worth, Texas (North Crowley) are considered the elite of the Class of ‘06, but Appel and Breland are close behind. The other four are also outstanding players, and all 10 are clearly deserving of the title ‘All-American.
There are, of course, many other superb players who could have been included on this list, but the Scout.com analysts felt that this group has the best chance to shine at the next level due to the right combination of talent and attitude.
(The top ten in our class rankings (the full ‘06 list will be out next week) are designated All-Americans.)
Jayne Appel (Carondelet): A legit 6-4, Appel can go either way with her back to the basket, can bury an open three and is comfortable handling the ball on the break, but perhaps her most outstanding attribute is superb hands. She will catch anything thrown near her, and has the skills to convert once she gets the ball. College commitment: Stanford.
Jessica Breland (Bertie): Breland is long and athletic, and at 6-3, will be a fine power forward. She hasn’t yet needed to develop an outside game because of her quickness and finesse, but the increased strength of college posts may force her to work more on her jump shot. It may take some time for Breland to break into a talented North Carolina lineup, but once there, she will be an ACC star.College commitment: North Carolina.
Tina Charles (Christ the King): Charles’ presence will quickly make UConn fans forget that Jacki Gemelos had ever thought of coming to Storrs, as the 6-3 Charles is a long and athletic power forward who combines strength and skill. She should step right in for the Huskies and be an immediate contributor, but first she and her Christ the King teammates will try to repeat as national champions. College commitment: UConn.
Jacki Gemelos (St. Mary’s - Calif.): Gemelos made the biggest splash in the summer recruiting season by de-committing from UConn, but that can’t detract from her sterling all-around game. The 6-0 guard now will choose from Cal, UCLA and USC, and will give whichever program she selects a serious boost in the constant Pac-10 pursuit of Stanford. College commitment: Undecided.
Amber Harris (North Central): A fairly unique, 6-6 bundle of ability, the only question about Harris is whether she will be able to learn to play hard all the time. Otherwise, there’s not a shred of doubt about her ability to play, and perhaps dominate, at the collegiate level. College commitment: Purdue.
Jordan Murphree (Brock): At 5-11, Murphree can play either the one or the two, she’s an all-out hustler who sees the floor and can hit the open jumper. Defense might be an issue, but Murphree works so hard on the court, it’s likely she can make up any quickness deficits. College commitment: Texas Tech.
Brittainey Raven (North Crowley): The super-smooth Raven is a 6-0 wing who can shoot, handle, penetrate and defend. She is slender, and must adjust to the physical play of the Big 12, but the depth of talent at Texas should give her the chance to make a smooth transition. College commitment: Texas.
Dymond Simon (St. Mary's - Ariz.): Simon's penchant for the spectacular not only makes her fun to watch, it helps her team rise to the occasion. Her quickness allows her to penetrate at will, and she doesn't back down in the lane, regardless of the size of opposing defenders. Her speed and intelligence are added dimensions to an already strong game College commitment: Arizona State.
Amanda Thompson (Whitney Young): Another player who can do just about everything, but won’t necessarily make the fans go ‘ooh and ‘aah’, the 6-1 wing does whatever’s necessary to help her team win. She can shoot, penetrate, defend and rebound, and has plenty of size and strength for the perimeter. College commitment: Undecided.
Monica Wright (Forest Park): A quick defender who could wind up leading the ACC in steals before she graduates, Wright also can run the floor and hit the J. At 5-11, she’ll be fine at the two, and can even slide over the three if needed because of her leaping ability. College commitment: Virginia.