Jade Vegas’s break out high school season was cut short with a broken arm in February, but it didn’t stop her from picking up where she left off once she got out on the court.
The rising senior guard established herself as a consistent double-digit scorer, who could get points in bunches, and Spellman’s top defender. None of that has changed as Vegas played on the summer travel ball circuit with the New York Gauchos Elite team. With a plethora of stars around her she has focused on becoming a better point guard, creating for other and leader. It’s the biggest growth Gauchos coach Earl Elliotte has seen in her game.
“I think she is able to lead the team a little better,” he said. “She takes her time a lot more. She is seeing the floor. She has developed her point guard skills.”
The step up in competition has brought out the best in her and allowed Vega to build off the confidence she gained at Spellman. She is also working on knowing when to take a pull up jumper or a floater in the lane instead challenging bigger players near the basket on drives.
“I think it showed her she can fit in with the top players,” Elliotte said.
Her play has garnered college scholarship interest from the likes of Tennessee State, Marshall, San Jose, Lamar, Brown and Marist among others. The Gauchos play in the top brackets in each of their tournaments, which means Gibson is competing against some of the nation’s best guards every time she stepped on the floor.
“It gives me a lot of confidence because I feel the competition we play are tougher in the summer AAU,” Vegas said. “I feel like going back to school it will be easier.”
It’s all in preparation for taking on a bigger role this winter at Cardinal Spellman, the defending CHSAA Archdiocesan champions. The Pilots lost Michigan-bound star Maria Backman and Felician-commit Danelle Gibson to graduation. Vega said watching Backman lead has prepared her for taking on that responsibly herself this season. Succeeding with the Gauchos has her confidant the best is still ahead of her.
“I think I’ll be alright,” Vegas said. “I do it here so if I go there I’ll be alright.”