Jacki Gemelos has exhibited perseverance her entire basketball career. Before she became a professional player, the six-foot guard suffered five knee injuries between high school and college. Gemelos missed two seasons at the University of Southern California before she made her collegiate debut as a Trojan. She competed in two seasons at USC before suffering a season-ending injury in her third and final season in 2011.
Despite her injuries, Gemelos was selected by the Minnesota Lynx in the third round of the 2012 WNBA draft but was released prior to the season. The point guard continued her career in Europe, playing Italy, Greece, and Spain. In 2015, she got another chance to play in the league with Chicago, where she played in 17 games before returning to Europe. Her next chance was in 2018 when she signed with the Las Vegas Aces but was cut from the final roster.
Prior to signing a contract to play with the Connecticut Sun, the 31-year-old played for Olympiacos in Greece, averaging 13.5 points per game. Gemelos appeared in six games for the Sun before being waived on Aug. 17. Two days later, the Washington Mystics signed her to a seven-day contract and within five days she signed for the remainder of the season.
In 12 games with the Mystics, Gemelos averaged 3.2 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. In terms of shooting, Gemelos averaged 4 field goal attempts per game, making 31-percent. Her best performance was against the Seattle Storm in early September when she put up a season-high 10 points in 15 minutes on the floor.
Despite being waived while in the bubble and having to find her way with the Mystics, Gemelos should have her head high after this season. She had the opportunity to play a season in the WNBA and played her first league playoff game.
In an early September interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe, Gemelos discussed how “amazing” it was to experience her first WNBA start. “I finally got my start, my opportunity and it was just a dream come true,” Gemelos said.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she continued when asked if being in the bubble was worth it after all of her injuries. “I feel so blessed to be here and I’m just soaking in every moment.”
This woman never gave up. Never quit. And was rewarded tonight with first career start for @WashMystics @JackiG_23 pic.twitter.com/J410CtKywq— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) September 9, 2020
Off of the court, she made friends and developed relationships while in Bradenton. Coach Mike Thibault even nicknamed her “The Mayor of the Bubble.”
While it’s difficult to see a future with her on a healthy and full Mystics roster, it’s too early to write her off in the WNBA as a whole. The veteran player was able to play a full season this past summer (with two teams). There’s no doubt it will fuel her going into her overseas and beyond.