Moving on: GCCC's Chinn, Jacobs ink with NCAA schools

4/18/2013

Moving on: GCCC's Chinn, Jacobs ink with NCAA schools

Moving on: GCCC's Chinn, Jacobs ink with NCAA schools

By ADAM HOLT

aholt@gctelegram.com

It's been a long journey for Mikell Chinn and Deni Jacobs, but the two are finally going to play NCAA basketball.

The two Garden City Community College sophomores signed their letters-of-intent Wednesday, Chinn with Division I Kent State, in Kent, Ohio, and Jacobs with Division II Metro State College in Denver.

"I am so proud," GCCC women's basketball coach Alaura Sharp said. "I'm happy for the coaches that they're gonna go play for. They're getting two of some of Garden City's finest. They have impacted our program on the floor, off the floor. They've increased our fan base, they are both fan favorites. The community loves them; they really have wrapped their arms around these two players. They are good basketball players, they're good students and they're really good people."

Chinn played her freshman year at Chipola College (Fla.) before transferring to Garden City for the 2011-12 season, but suffered a torn ACL before the season began. Chinn recovered and helped to guide the Broncbusters to a 29-4 season in 2013.

Confidence and toughness are two of Chinn's best attributes, and the Cincinnati area-native also brings plenty of experience as a proven winner to the Golden Flashes. Sharp said the toughness that helped her fight through pain and long minutes this season will serve her well at Kent State, and the 5-foot-5 Chinn said her grittiness is a necessity.

"Especially being my size, my height, you can't go in there to a Division-I program and be weak, because you're gonna get shut down," Chinn said. "And this lady, coach Sharp, taught me you have to be tough, you've gotta demand it. You can't let anybody push you off your heels; you've gotta stand up, no matter what."

"I think it's exactly who she is," Sharp said. "She gives too much of the credit to myself. She naturally is that kind of a person, that kind of a kid. Her mentality through her ACL was very, it's not about what I can't do, but what I can do. She worked on her shot, she worked on her handle, she worked on her decision-making, watched a lot of film. Put a lot of time and energy into that season, and she really reaped the benefits this year."

The added bonus is being close to home, after stays in Florida and Kansas. Kent State is about 250 miles from home for Chinn.

"It's gonna be awesome," she said. "My mom's really happy right now. As long my mom's happy, I'm happy, and everyone around me's happy. It's great right now. It's a great feeling."

Jacobs was a second-team all-KJCCC selection as a sophomore, averaging 12.2 points per game.

Metro State has been to the D-II NCAA tournament the past three years, and Jacobs said she's more than ready to join the Roadrunners.

"I am pumped," she said. "I'm actually ready to start practicing and everything, but you can't really do that yet. I'm excited."

For Jacobs, signing is a point of pride after a badly broken leg suffered her senior year at Southwestern Heights.

"It was hard, because a lot of the schools that were recruiting me before dropped out," she said. "It kind of wears on you, like, can I really come back? But with all the support I had at physical therapy and with coach Sharp, it helped me really bounce back and prove to people that one injury's not going to keep me from playing, because I love the game. It's been even greater that I keep going on and on, and am not gonna stop."

Sharp said she thought Jacobs could be a good player, even though she didn't get to see much of the Plains native due to injures in high school, but that she's exceeded expectations.

The 6-foot Jacobs said she'll likely play some guard for MSU coach Tanya Haave, due to her size, taking her out of the post position she played for the Busters. But she showed more of an outside stroke as a sophomore, and Sharp said she thinks Jacobs will do just fine whatever position she plays.

"I remember telling her last spring, 'You're gonna shoot threes next year,' and she looked at me like I was crazy. Then she makes two in the first game of the season this year," Sharp said. "I don't think she knew what she was really capable of doing. I think her best basketball by far is yet to be played."

Fellow GCCC sophomore and NJCAA All-American Tamara Jones has yet to make a decision about where she'll play next.

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