Heather McAdams, a four-year veteran of playground basketball, is ready to take the court at the Sports Arena tonight.
So what if it's only an all-star game between girls who were scouted at a clinic? She's only 12 years old. There's plenty of time left to make the USC women's team on her own.
McAdams, who says her idol is USC's Cheryl Miller, has been the only girl in a boys league at the Woodland Hills Recreation Center since she was nine. She's a 5-5 1/2 center, and swears she isn't intimidated by the boys.
"The boys don't try to push me around, because I'm bigger than they are," she said. "It's kind of tougher when you play against harder and bigger boys, but I can do the job."
McAdams was chosen to play on the all-star team tonight during the UCLA-USC women's basketball game after participating in a two-hour clinic at Birmingham High for fifth- and sixth-graders. It was run by USC women's basketball Coach Linda Sharp.
McAdams' personal coach for her entire career has been her grandfather, Ralph Caldwell, who coached the Valley College basketball team for 25 years.
"Her strong point is rebounding and defense," Caldwell said. "There are eight boys on her team, but on defense I assign her to the best boy on the other team."
McAdams does not know where she wants to play high school basketball, but she's certain that she wants to play college ball at USC. She said Miller is the kind of player she would like to become.
"She's feminine, she's loose, and she's enthusiastic," McAdams said. "And she played with guys. I believe that's how she became a good ball player."
Tonight, the pair will share the same floor.