As senior Jen Gemma returns to the halls of next week, she’ll do so with future plans for both education and her basketball career.
The accomplished center will attend Bentley University in the fall of 2013, where she’ll play Division II basketball for Barbara Stevens, the winningest women’s coach in the division with 852 victories in her 35-year career.
Gemma will bring her career average 12.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game to the perennial playoff power in Waltham, located just 19 miles from Gemma’s hometown of Milton.
While the six-foot-tall Gemma looked at a long list of schools, Bentley offered the perfect fit.
The academics at Bentley enticed the honor roll student who is involved in the Spanish Honor Society and Fontbonne’s school mentor program. The fact that the impressive basketball team was nearby sealed the selection.
“It means a lot to me that my family can come see me play,” said Gemma.
Gemma attended a basketball camp at the university last summer and visited again, a few weeks later.
“Bentley was always there from the beginning,” said Fontbonne basketball coach Clare Murphy.
Murphy said Bentley will fit Gemma’s style of play. The team-first Falcons will also offer the first-year college player some guidance from their two All-American bigs, who will be in their senior years next season.
Gemma has interacted with several of her future teammates and plans to attend some games this season.
“They seem like really great people,” Gemma said. “I’m excited.”
For now, Gemma’s commitment to Bentley University is just verbal. On October 15, she’ll sign her letter of intent to accept the scholarship.
In the fall, Gemma will be on another court with her volleyball teammates as a returning captain.
For her senior basketball season, she has expectations to finish her career with success.
“I hope we have a good season,” Gemma said. “I hope we finish strong.”
The Ducks ended last season 15-8, with a loss in the South Semifinals to eventual east champions, Scituate.
The junior tri-captain led the 13th ranked Fontbonne team to a first round upset of fourth-seeded Oliver Ames in the MIAA Division 2 South girls basketball tournament in early 2012.
Gemma netted 19 of the Ducks’ 41 points to go along with her 16 rebounds in the victory.
The playoff performance against Oliver Ames was an exclamation point on a stellar junior season. In 23 games, Gemma notched 18 double-doubles. Over the season, she averaged 17 points and14 rebounds per game.
Throughout her first three years at Fontbonne, Gemma has improved. She’s translated her athletic prowess under the hoop into a more well-rounded offensive game.
Gemma has also grown as a leader.
“I’m a lot more comfortable talking to my teammates on the court,” said Gemma.
This season, Gemma will return to her roll as a captain. She also has two major milestones in her sights.
Murphy said Gemma will likely score her 1,000th point and collect her 1,000th rebound during the 2012-2013 campaign.
This season, the Ducks will return seven players, including four seniors.
Murphy said she joked with her scholarship athlete about finishing her senior season strong.
“We have great things to do here before you go to college to do great things,” Murphy said she told Gemma.