Topping the list of prospects in any Class is no easy feat. To do so one must be dominant, skilled and have tremendous future upside. And of course, do so better than anyone else among their graduating peers.
Mael Gilles of Montreal, QC is a long 6’1″ Wing that meets that criteria… and then some. Having only played organized basketball for 3 years, and possessing a very strong work ethic, it appears as though this 2016’s potential has only scratched the surface.
“I like to get rebounds. I like to play with a lot of energy. I really like being that impact player in the game,” said Gilles, highlighting her hunger for the game through an admiration for hustle plays.
“Whatever the Coach asks of me, I will do it. No questions asked, I just go for it and do it,” she concluded with humility.
Prior to transferring to Ecole Secondaire St Laurent (high school), she played at Ecole Secondiare Henri-Bourassa. And after picking up a Most Improved Player award there, a spark was lit and hasn’t been extinguished since.
“It has been my motivation,” said Gilles about winning that pivotal award. “My Coach in that last year of Midget (Grade 8), gave me the Most Improved Player award at the year end banquet,” she said of the honour that at the time, took her by surprise. “It really touched me. I then wanted to really show even more that I deserved that award, and have been working hard ever since.”
Now dawning the St Laurent blue and gold under Head Coach Daniel Lacasse, she has used her athleticism to unlock a beast within. Gilles has climbed to the heights of representing Canada, her place of birth, on the Canadian Cadette National Team last summer that won Silver at FIBA Americas.
When her high school career is done, Gilles has her mind set on playing NCAA and possesses many of the tools to do so. And while this Francophone sports an accent that will raise some doubt as to whether that will be possible, rest assured she is working on it and improving all the time. Plus, she is a charismatic enough people person that will enable her to transition into any of the programs amongst try many options she will undoubtedly end up with come selection time.
“I think that in making the change I will be a bit nervous, but I think that I will be able to adapt. Being in a new city, having a new circle of friends, new coach, I think that I will be capable of adapting.”
On the court, she sport a very long wingspan and demonstrates that she is extremely athletic in her leaping ability, speed and how nimble she is. She has very good 3-pt shooting ability and can mix it up by putting the ball on the floor and take it to the hole from the perimeter.
What is encouraging about her is that with all of the upside she does have, she recognizes her shortcomings and uses them as fuel and areas to focus on in her training.
“I want to continue to work hard,” she said about her defensive game Each time I get beaten, I want to use that and get better the next time to prevent that from happening again, so there are a couple of things I would like to improve on there.”
Gilles said that she is also working on her mental aspect of her game. She is trying to get to a point where she remains as even-keeled throughout any game that has either high highs, or low lows, allowing her to stay focused on the task at hand. Being the best she can be and at this point, representing the Class of 2016.
Update: Approaching the age when Quebecers are forced to make a choice between high school and CÉGEP, Mael has made her decision to start attending Montmorency College to join the Nomades in CÉGEP Division 1 beginning in the Fall of 2014.