Six feet four. Good handle. Passing skills. Great in the open floor. At least the foundation to shoot the three with consistency.
Hmmm. Within the past decade, this used to be the profile of a viable small forward, then shooting guard, then point guard.
In the NBA.
Now it describes a somewhat unknown, guard-forward out of Sacramento, Callif. Her name is Vicki Baugh. And she still has a year of high-school basketball to go.
Of course, Tennessee's Candace Parker winning the dunk contest at the McDonald's All-American game, Lisa Leslie dunking in a WNBA game and the likes of Tina Charles, of Jamaica, N.Y., dunking in a high school game, have been telltale signs that the female version of basketball is undergoing a tremendous and tantilizing transformation. Baugh and compatriots such as Kayla Pedersen, another 6-feet-4 swing player in the Class of 2007, and Elena DelleDonne, a 6-4 guard in the Class of 2008 widely considered one of the best shooting female high schoolers in the country, provide further proof.
And not because they're dunker, but because they combine NBA-level size with perimeter skills.
"We're going to take this game to an extremely high level," Baugh says. And, after you watch her play, you don't doubt her one bit.
That's because, if asked, Baugh will do the slam dance on the blocks, fight for position, pass out of double teams - all of that. But, given her druthers, she'd prefer to get the ball on the wings or in the high post, negotiate past her defender and into the thick of opposing defenses to attack the rim. She's most exhilarating - and exhilara-ted - in the open court, where she can transport the ball as quickly and reliably as an elite point guard, find open teammates or dare defenders to stop her, a 6-4 freight train which lefts its brakeman at the last station.
Baugh has the leverage, of course, and the form, to be a decent wing shooter. But often it's just too easy to go right by people. After all, she works out with the boys at Cordova High School and they have trouble stopping her.
Vicki Baugh is scintillating in the open court
"I know I'd be a lot better player if I shot the three," said Baugh, who averaged 19.7 points during her junior season. "But at the level I usually play, sometimes I an drive every time. I'm going to just start shooting the three more."
It's a chilling thought for opponents, but a thrilling one for Division I coaches. Baugh has a long list of schools of interest, including California, Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt and Washington. She also previously has mentioned Baylor and LSU and cautions not to eliminate any of them just yet.
Baugh says she plans to take unofficial visits to as many of those schools as she can and that she will wait "until the last minute I can" to make a commitment.
"I want to find a good school with a good (basketball) program," Baugh said. "I want to know how I'd like living in the area. It's not necessarily going to matter how close or far away the school is."
Hers is probably a good strategy. After all, Baugh is far better known on the West Coast than the rest of the country because her select team doesn't travel extensively.
Baugh was well enough known to earn an invite to the USA Basketball U18 trials and showed more than enough to make the team that will represent the U.S. in the FIBA Americas World Championship Qualifying Tournament that starts in Colorado Springs, Colo., on June 28. With that honor as a launching pad, it's likely that Baugh will blow up, as they say, as a prospect this summer.
"I'll prove it on the court," Baugh said, referring to her basketball Q Factor. "I don't care about being famous or being known. I'll be happy if I get what I want in basketball."
Short term, that's developing a three-point stroke. If Baugh even gets close, she'll indeed reach her longterm endgame - influencing the nature and level of women's basketball.
Jasmine Thomas, of Vienna, Va., may have been a surprising cut at the USA Basketball U18 trials, but she remains one of the top point guards and top five players in the Class of 2007, has added LSU and Virginia to her final list of prospective schools. Thomas said she will choose from those two schools, plus Connecticut, Duke and Maryland - after she makes an unofficial visit to each. She already has made visits to Duke and Maryland. Though many girls are starting to commit early - before the traditional summer viewing circuit - Thomas said she will take as much time as necessary. "I can see why a lot of girls are committing early," she said. "It gets stressful. But I want to be comfortable with whatever school I choose, so I want to make sure I visit them all before I choose one." ... Khadijah Rushdan, who arguably was the one who beat out Thomas for a USA slot, is down to four schools - LSU, Maryland, Rutgers and USC. LSU and USC are additions to lists Rushdan previously has provided, while Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State and Tennessee are subtractions. The strong, super-quick point guard out of Wilmington, Del., said she will take her time in making a final decision. She said she expects to make her choice in September.
We keep saying the girls are starting to commit earlier and earlier like the boys. To wit, Brittany Carter, a nice finisher and creator off the dribble, has committed to Georgia. The 5-9 guard out of Covington, Ga., is a 2008 prospect. ... The college list for Amy Jaeschke, a 6-4 post out of Winnetka, Ill., includes Duke, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Stanford. Jaeschke plans to take her official visits before making any choices. ... Gonzaga, which struggled at the point-guard position last season, received a commitment from one of the best in the West - Courtney Vandersloot of Kentwood in Kent, Wash. Vandersloot rarely misses her threes by much, if she misses, and is great at finding open teammates during penetrations. It's actually too bad Vandersloot has one more year left at Kentwood. The Zags could use her this coming year. ... As we pointed out in a previous Prospect Watch, we believe that Jeanette Pohlen, a 5-11, all-purpose '07 prospect out of Brea, Calif., has been largely overlooked. She is the epitomy of "solid" - an unspectacular winner. Fortuitously, she may be getting her due. Because the USA Basketball U18 team claimed several headliners, spots have opened up in the Nike Skills Acaemy, which opens next week in Beaverton, Ore. Pohlen has accepted an invitation to attend.
Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached
the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girls basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle
Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He can be reached at email@example.com.