Commentary

Prospect Watch: Orekhova's ACL

Originally Published: June 6, 2008
By Chris Hansen and Clay Kallam | ESPN HoopGurlz

They might be the most hated three letters in the alphabet for female athletes - A.C.L. One of the most promising young wing prospects, Inga Orekhova, (La Jolla, Calif./Bishop's School) tore her left anterior cruciate ligament on February 15, during a home game against Horizon.

Orekhova's recovery from her March 18, surgery has been incredibly fast. She was spotted at the NCAA Final Four in Tampa, Fla., walking with no issues. She has been dedicated to her rehab and has been teamed up with the same specialist that works with the San Diego Chargers according to her high school coach, Marlon Wells.

"Her recovery is going really well," Wells said. "She's running and working out right now."

Orekhova has healed and regained enough strength to being cutting in her workouts. She is currently in her native home of Austria visiting her parents. She will return to the U.S. next week.

[+] EnlargeInga Orekhova
Glenn Nelson, ESPN HoopGurlzInga Orekhova's injury hasn't hampered her recruitment.
The current timeline for Orekhova to be cleared is July 25, according to Wells. If this holds up she will be ready to play in the Phenom Camp held in San Diego in late July and join her club team EBO Black for their last tournament in July, the adidas Womanhood Championships in Las Vegas.

Throughout the injury and recovery Orekhova never got down on herself and found an even better focus on her academics.

"(Orekhova's spirit) is really high," Wells said. "Her main focus was academics coming here and she's done well."

Wells sees the injury as almost a blessing in disguise as transferring foreign credits and sustaining good grades in such a challenging academic institution such as Bishop's isn't easy. In many cases foreign exchange students are forced into junior colleges as they can't meet the NCAA Clearinghouse requirements to be eligible. Wells doesn't see any problems with Orekhova and much of the success is due to her renewed focus following what could have been an emotionally crushing injury.

Orekhova has a current schools list that includes Duke, George Washington, Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, Miami, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, San Diego, SDSU, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, Virginia and Washington.

_ Chris Hansen


SARA ENGLISH EVAL


Sara English may turn out to be a superior high school player, and an above-average college one -- but like so many tall slender posts, the 6-foot-5 New York Elite U15 center has some obstacles to overcome.

It's interesting, really, how many tall girls seem to fall into the same patterns. It makes sense, of course, that they're lean, because they've grown so much they have more height than width. That means their center of gravity is relatively high, and it's hard for them to hold position against smaller, stronger girls -- and it's true of English.

But English doesn't need great position to score (she has a nice touch) or to block shots (she has a good feel for where the shot is coming from) or to rebound (6-5 is, after all, 6-5). And, like so many young posts, she's playing with wings whose ability to get the ball to her is, kindly, inconsistent, which means even when she does get position, she's often not rewarded.

And English also has the common tall girl trait of not really getting after it physically. Maybe it's because tall girls are warned from an early age not to play too rough (one of the posts I coached told me that, and it seems to be true), and so they have an almost inbred fear of using their size to their advantage.

Finally, growing so fast means coordination sometimes comes more slowly, and tall, slender 6-5 girls need time to put everything together.

English, a rising sophomore at Smithtown West High School in New York, embodies the strengths and weaknesses of the young post trying to learn the game -- and monitoring her progress over the next few years will tell an interesting tale.

_ Clay Kallam

RIM SHOTS

Sophomore guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) made an unofficial visit to Bowling Green State University last weekend and came away with an offer according to her high school athletic director, Doug Chuzie. The Falcons join Duke, Providence, St. Joseph's and USC on her list of schools she's considering.

Michala Johnson (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) is one of the fastest rising 2010 prospects in the country and her recruitment is starting to heat up. She has 20 offers to date, most of which are in the Big Ten Conference but she also received offers from Gerogia, Maryland and Vanderbilt. She is also considering Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State, Rutgers and Texas after recent communication and join DePaul, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Tennessee to complete her current list.

For more in-depth coverage of girl's high-school basketball and women's college-basketball prospects, visit HoopGurlz.com

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