Photo by USA Today Sports.
Swish Appeal had the opportunity to interview former USC guard Jacki Gemelos, who was drafted in the third round of the 2012 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx. As she continues to prepare herself for Lynx training camp, she discussed her emotions after injuring her ACL for a fifth time, her career at USC, and the advice she got about how to approach training camp.
What has Jacki Gemelos been up to these days?
"I am currently training to prepare for training camp with Minnesota in May. I’m doing a lot of rehab, strength and conditioning, and basketball workouts. I started working for a company named Prep Star recruiting. We help get high school basketball players college scholarships. It has been a great opportunity for me in terms of getting on the phone and getting people to believe in our services. All in all, my life is training and working!"
How is your recovery from your last ACL injury coming along?
"My recovery from my last tear is going well. I am really focusing on rehab even though it’s been a year since surgery because I want to make sure my knee is better then ever come time for training camp."
After five ACL surgeries, what gives you the strength to continue playing basketball?
"I am lucky to have a passion. A lot of people don’t get to experience what it is like to have a passion for something. Mine has been the same since I was 7 years old: basketball. My childhood has brought nothing but happiness to my life. The countless hours in the gym with my dad, my parents rushing me from practice to practice, weekend tournaments all over California, the best memories I could ever ask for come from basketball.
"That is what keeps me going. The thought of not playing brings fear to my heart. I feel like I was born to play basketball and that is what has kept me on the floor after five ACL tears."
What are your professional basketball plans?
"I’m hoping to be able to go to Minnesota a little bit in advance to start doing workouts and stuff with the trainers, and being able to work with the doctors for my knee. That would be ideal. Then my plan is to make the roster! It would be a dream come true for me to make this team. I couldn’t be more happy that a team selected me in the draft. I would like to go overseas and do WNBA for the next upcoming years of my life."
How much are you looking forward to training camp in Minnesota?
"Training camp is a nerve-racking word. One of my close friends Jayne Appel (San Antonio) told me to focus on doing ONE thing well. Not to go in there with a mind-set of trying to do it all. That was the best advice I could have got. I am more than excited to get their and participate in training camp!"
Have you been in contact with Cheryl Reeve, if so, what has she said to you?
"Yes I have. She called me not too long ago to catch up and see where I was at in my recovery process. She told me they are rooting for me, and they are very aware of my situation in terms of my five ACL injuries. It would obviously benefit me going into training camp with some overseas experience if possible. We had a nice talk. If that wasn’t motivation, I don’t know what is."
What are your dreams, goals and aspirations?
"My dream, my only dream is to play in the WNBA. That’s all I care about. That’s all I want."
Can you talk about your emotions after you tore your ACL for the fifth time?
"Depressed, confused, sad, shocked, denial, anger. All these different emotions I felt haunted me. Each tear was something different. As in, one emotion outweighed the rest, always. This one I was more so depressed then anything. I was just a few months away from the WNBA draft and training camp. I was finally almost there. And then I went down again. I couldn’t do much for a solid 5 days."
What was your experience like playing at USC?
"My experience playing for USC was extremely short. 57 games wasn't nearly the amount of games I was supposed to play in with USC on my chest. But the feeling I got representing us in those 57 games was an indescribable feeling. As a little girl...you wait your whole life to play college basketball. Athletically, academically, and socially I had the best experience possible. I think I chose the perfect school for me."
And what is a message that you would like to say to the USC family that supported you throughout our career?
"USC supported me through the good times and the bad. ot every school will tolerate a kid who's torn their ACL five times. That shows people a little something about the class in my University."
For more on the Lynx, visit our offseason storystream.