W. Basketball: Gillian Yamasaki earns Academic All-State honors

Gillian Yamasaki earns Academic All-State honors
Gillian Yamasaki earns Academic All-State honors

Cerritos College sophomore guard Gillian Yamasaki (South Torrance HS) has been named as a 2018-19 CCCWBCA Academic All-State selection based on her excellence in the classroom. Yamasaki, who has appeared in 19 games this season and started 17 times, has a 3.76 GPA while majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Japanese. She is also considering a double-major with Sociology when she transfers to a four-year school.

"Gillian is one of the smartest and hard-working players on our team," said head coach Trisha Kozlowski. "She is coachable and has been vital in giving us consistency, especially on the defensive end. Gill understands the game, our game planning and really has stepped up as one of our go-to defenders. I think her effort with our team the last two seasons has been invaluable. She also received our "Margie Prindle for the Love of the Game" award last year for her passion for the game, her willingness to be a great teammate, and her efforts with academics.

Yamasaki, who aspires to be a field user experience/data analysis for a sports company such as Nike or Under Armour and is currently waiting on acceptance letters from USC, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and Cal State Long Beach.

"When I came to Cerritos, my goal was to be the best STUDENT athlete I could be," said Yamasaki. "I needed to mature and grow, not only in knowledge, but also in understanding appreciation, thankfulness, kindness and perseverance. Being a student at Cerritos, academically, I've found what it is truly important to me as well as the confidence to excel in the classroom - a feeling in which I couldn't even dream of in high school.

"Athletically, although at the end of season my future is uncertain and it may be my time to finally hang up that sweaty number fifteen jersey," added Yamasaki. "What basketball has given me is more than I could've ever asked for. College basketball provided me with relationships with people whom I care about, camaraderie, how to face adversity, success and failure, discipline, selflessness, and lastly, the mentality that, "There is no substitute for hard work" (Thomas A. Edison). All of these life skills that I've obtained during my athletic career at Cerritos can be used not only in the next chapter of my life, but rather for the rest of my life.

On the court, Yamasaki, who just returned after missing six games due to an injury, is averaging 2.4 points, 18 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. She posted a season-high eight points, including a pair of three-pointers against Irvine Valley College and had four rebounds in her return to action against Los Angeles Harbor College. As a freshman, Yamasaki averaged 3.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. She scored a career-high 18 points against El Camino College last season, which included four three-pointers.