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Girls' Prep Player of the Week : On-Court Ability Makes McDaniel a Tough Cookie

December 29, 1987|BARBIE LUDOVISE | Times Staff Writer

What does Mark Trakh, Brea-Olinda High School girls' basketball coach, see when he looks at Wildcat guard Aimee McDaniel?

"Just a sweet, little girl with a big smile," Trakh said. "Aimee's small (5-foot 5-inches) and not very muscular-looking. She does not look like a basketball player."

That impression, however, is based entirely on McDaniel's off-the-court appearance. In action, McDaniel is something else.

"Our assistant, John Hattrup, calls her the Baby Face Assassin," Trakh said. "She's got a sweet and innocent face, but the instinct of a killer."

Especially when McDaniel's faced with tougher competition.

"She's the type of player that just refuses to lose ball games," Trakh said. "No one can intimidate her."

McDaniel, The Times' player of the week, averaged 21 points in the prestigious Tournament of Champions at Santa Barbara last week.

McDaniel scored 24 points in a 73-48 quarterfinal victory over Louisville Doss Monday.

Tuesday, McDaniel scored 25 points in a 76-65 semifinal loss to Santa Barbara, ranked No. 1 in the state by Cal-High Sports magazine.

Wednesday, McDaniel scored 15 points to lead Brea-Olinda to a 63-48 victory over Thousand Oaks in the third-place game.

"I was playing kind of conservative this week," McDaniel said. "I didn't know what those teams were made of."

If anyone is wondering about McDaniel's makeup, competitively speaking, they might check with those who witnessed her play at the Watts Summer tournament last August.

There, McDaniel scored a career-high 28 points in a 64-63 semifinal loss to Morningside.

"That's when we first saw her heart," Trakh said. "Aimee was guarding Carla Gladden, a very, very tough player.

"Carla was doing everything to intimidate Aimee. She was calling her every name in the book. But Aimee handled it all.

"Every time Aimee would get a shot over Carla, she'd look Carla straight in the eye. She showed she wasn't going to be intimidated by anyone."

This season, McDaniel is averaging 20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals a game for the Wildcats (11-1). She is shooting 60% from the field, and is 5 of 6 on three-point shots.

Is McDaniel surprised?

"Yeah, I never thought I'd be doing this well so soon," she said. "But I'm just a normal kid. I don't think there's anything real special about me. I get lucky sometimes, I guess."

Aimee McDaniel

Brea-Olinda High School

Position: Point guard.

Height, Class: 5-5, Soph.

Last Week: McDaniel averaged 21 points in the Tournament of Champions in Santa Barbara, and helped lead Brea-Olinda to a third-place finish.

Season: McDaniel is averaging 20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals a game for the Wildcats (11-1). She is shooting 60% from the field, and is 5 for 6 on three-point shots.

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