Mariah Chandler, the No. 9 ranked player in the HoopGurlz.com Super Sixty for 2009, has suffered an injury that will cost her the rest of her junior season and may limit her ability to play during this summer's NCAA evaluation period. The five-star rated forward for Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
The exact date of the surgery has not been determined, but Chandler told HoopGurlz.com that she believes it will be either late January or early February. Recovery and rehabilitation times vary but getting back out on the court, even for light workouts, is not likely for four to six months in most cases.
Chandler sustained the injury while playing pick up games against boys. She blocked a shot, pinning it on the backboard. She was hit while she was in the air and landed on her knee cap. She heard her knee pop while she was in the air which was in fact her ACL.
"Mentally I'm feeling fine," Chandler said. "I understand why God is putting me through this and the reason is to see how I can handle it. Will I fall or stand? I'm standing and I always will stand no matter what.
"I will admit I was extremely mad in the beginning because I felt he did it on purpose, but after a couple of weeks I felt better and was able to become a better leader on and off the court."
Chandler's talent is indisputable and her emerging leadership abilities have her on the national recruiting radar as well. The current list of schools she's considering is a long one including: Auburn, Baylor, UNC-Charlotte, Clemson, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Oklahoma, Purdue, Rutgers, Stanford, Tennessee and Texas.
"The schools that have offered are Auburn, UNC-Charlotte, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Maryland, Miami, and Rutgers," Chandler said. "I've been to all of those as well and plan on going to Baylor and Texas this spring, but it depends on my knee."
College coaches are not allowed to comment on players they are recruiting until the player has signed a letter of intent but it is still unlikely any of the schools offering will rescind their offers due to what is becoming a common injury in women's basketball.
Bay Area Battle
Two of the San Francisco Bay Area's top teams collided in a two-point thriller as St. Mary's (Berekely, Calif.) visited Piedmont in their BSAL league game this week. The home Highlanders of Piedmont overcame a late surge to take the win 51-49.
Senior guard Casey Morris, a Cal-Berkeley signee, scored 16 of her 25 points in the second half while grabbing seven rebounds, six steals and three assists. Morris' big game helped the team overcome more than 20 turnovers.
The win puts Piedmont in the driver's seat with a rematch with St. Mary's (4-2) looming Jan. 18, and a showdown for sole control of first place with St. Patrick/St. Vincent (6-0) the following week. St. Patrick/St. Vincent is tied with Piedmont and they too have a win over St. Mary's.
Perhaps the toughest Bay Area division is the WCAL in which the No. 5 team in the ESPN HIGH Elite 25, Sacred Heart Cathedral, sits atop with a 3-0 league record followed by Archbishop Mitty and Valley Christian, both at 2-0. Mitty may be the biggest threat remaining for Sacred Heart's run at an undefeated season and maybe a shot at the mythical national championship. There is still a chance Sacred Heart would face St. Mary's Stockton in the state playoffs who are also ranked nationally (No. 15 by ESPN). That game too could be a catalyst for the No. 1 spot, giving them four wins over nationally ranked opponents.
Mitty has the challenge of not looking past their league games against St. Francis and St. Ignatius to their Saturday battle with Sacred Heart. There is a lot riding on that game for two teams that not only see themselves as the class of the Bay Area but also see themselves as the class of the state despite being in a smaller classification than Long Beach Poly or Brea, two acclaimed Southern California powers.
No. 1/No. 2 Not So Kind
So it appears being ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the country early in the season has been the kiss of death, much like being ranked No. 2 in the college football polls this year. No matter whom you asked before the season, Long Beach Poly and Notre Dame Academy were the No.1 and No. 2 teams. ESPN.com had Poly ahead of NDA while FullCourt.com had them flip flopped.
Well, the new year has a new No. 1 and No. 2 and both teams now sit with two losses. Long Beach Poly lost to Sacred Heart in the Nike Northwest Invitation in early December then refocused and won the illustrious Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix two weeks later. In doing so they beat NDA in the championship game, giving them their first loss of the season.
Poly continued on to play in New Mexico, winning the two-game T-Mobile Invitational while Notre Dame won the Dell Curry Bojangles Shootout. Poly then decided to fly from Los Angeles to Minnesota Friday, took on St. Paul Central Saturday, flew home Sunday and played Millikan Monday and lost.
Even professional athletes get bogged down by the heavy travel, but two flights and two games in four days is unheard of and probably cost Poly a chance to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season.
Local high-school media, along with NCPreps.com, have released their rankings for the state of North Carolina as of Jan. 8. The biggest classification, 4A, has a close race with No. 1 Wakefield (14-0) and No. 2 Grimsley (13-0) both splitting the 14 first-place votes. Wakefield (Raleigh, N.C.) is coming of a holiday tournament win in Raleigh while the senior loaded Grimsley (Greensboro, N.C.) is keeping the pace. No. 3 Hillside (12-0) is the only other undefeated team in the rankings followed by South View (14-1), West Charlotte (12-2), Garner (12-1), Millbrook (13-1), Northwest Guilford (13-1), McDowell (9-3) and Westover (10-1).
In the 3A classification, 12-0 Beddingfield is tops with nine first-place votes, followed by 13-0 Forestview with two first-place votes and 9-0 Hickory with three. Completing the top 10 are South Central (12-0), T.C. Roberson (12-1), Statesville (12-1), Western Harnett (10-1), Concord (11-1), Hunter Huss (10-1) and Rockingham (11-1).
In 2A rankings, 9-0 Graham is No. 1 with all but one first place vote. For 1A schools 10-3 Bishop McGuinness is at the top with 11-0 East Bladen in a close second.
Kristi Kingma, a 5-foot-10 guard from Jackson High School (Mill Creek, Wash.), recorded a fantastic triple double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 steals. The Washington signee, ranked No. 44 in the 2008 class, is averaging 23.6 points per game and has her team at 9-1 and in first place in their division... Oregon City won the three-game Energy Hoop Classic this month in Wyoming. Sophomore Brittany Knighton made first team all-tournament while leading the Lady Pioneers in scoring in each game. Oregon City, the No. 3 team in Oregon, followed up this tournament championship with a 59-57 win over No. 4 Clakamas behind the a career high 32 points from Knighton. Purdue-bound junior wing Sam Ostarello scored 28 points in Stanley County's big win over Gettysburg. Behind Ostarello Stanley County is ranked No. 9 in South Dakota with an 8-2 record and is likely headed for the No. 1 seed in the North Bracket of the South Plains Conference Tournament that begins Jan. 17.
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