MONTEREY PARK, CA — JaeLynn Curley, a freshman transfer from Ganado High School located in the Navajo Nation Tribe/Reservation in northeastern Arizona fit right in the East Los Angeles College women’s basketball team.
The Huskies basketball team freshman became the South Coast Conference’s No. 1 three-point shooter, 22nd best in the state from more than 700 women, connecting 67 of 188 shots at 35 percent. Other stats include 11.2 points per game, 96 rebounds, 75 assists and 39 steals. “The transition from high school basketball to community college was not an easy one,” said Curley.
Curley had to adjust her play from being a star player and team leader to working with a community college team that featured five equal players on the floor at all times.
Curley was one of the most recognized high school girls’ basketball players in the state of Arizona from the 2017 graduating class. The All-American was named the Arizona Division 3A North Player of the Year and the Northland Player of the Year. She was named to the Arizona All-State Team for four straight years. She played in the Arizona vs. New Mexico High School All-Star Game, the Arizona North vs. South All-Star Game and the Northland All-Star Game.
During ELAC’s first five weeks of play in four statewide tournaments. ELAC played the No. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the state, was 8-4 overall and No. 8 statewide ranked. Curley scored eight three-pointers against Santa Rosa Junior College in a tournament in San Francisco in a last second 63-61 ELAC win. “That was my most (inspirational) experience of the year,” said Curley. “Winning against a good team and contributing the eight three-point shots.”
“All three ELAC coaches worked with me to help adjust my game,” said Curley. “One that had me playing a stronger role on defense and getting open on offense and shooting instead of bringing down the ball and doing everything,” Curley also transitioned into a fast-paced team whose play was just effective when they slowed down the ball.
“Coach Turner liked me as a shooter, gave me encouragement and honest feedback about how to improve and fix things,” said Curley.”
“Assistant coach Sarai Trinidad helped me get through my initial transition to this new experience and is the team rock,” said Curley.” “She’s always there for everyone on the team, whether on or off the court, whether school or basketball, which makes your college experience a better one.”
Curley was recruited from four-year universities as well as Arizona community colleges after her high school career ended.
“I chose ELAC because ELAC Assistant Coach Wilbert Knight recruited me differently from other coaches,” said Curley. “He showed genuine interest and checked in with me as much as all the others combined.”
“Coach ‘Wil’ stressed getting an education at ELAC and being part of a women’s basketball program that works on 100 percent transfer rate and he was right.” Curley’s major is Business Management with emphasis in Sports Management. She is an ELAC Dean’s List recipient with a 3.9 GPA.
“I am grateful for my family encouraging my decision then helping me to make this move to come so far,” said Curly. Her family, including her two grandmothers, have made many long trips to support Curley at ELAC basketball games. “I think they only missed two games from sixth grade through high school,” said Curley. “It is very inspiring when they attend ELAC games.”
“We are happy to make the nine-hour plus drive to come to our daughter’s games,” said her father Jason Curley. “I think she will do pretty good next year because of her new experience and excitement to return.”
Curley has received offers from four-year universities but will wait to think about that after next season at ELAC. Currently, she is back at home in Arizona and gives thanks to her parents, brother, each grandmother and her boyfriend for believing in her and for always being just a phone call away.
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index or on Facebook at ELAC Huskies Athletics (@elachuskiesathletics).
submitted by Tadzio Garcia