Good thing Maumelle senior Morgan Fimpel didn’t stick to her first impression of her basketball skills.
The 6-foot-3 center signed a letter-of-intent last Friday to continue her basketball career at Central Baptist College in Conway. Although she plays inside, what makes Fimpel attractive is she can also shoot the 3-pointer. However, as a seventh grader, Fimpel didn’t think much of her talent.
"I thought I was horrible," she said. "I shoot the ball up at my head like a guy and was told I have natural talent."
Fimpel chose CBC after she clicked with Coach Lyle Middleton, and it just felt right at the NAIA school. A co-captain for the Lady Hornets, she averages 18 points a game in addition to 14 rebounds, seven blocks and five assists.
"Everybody wants an athlete who gives it her all," Maumelle Coach Rodney Gilmore said. "She has a great inside game. She can post up, drive penetrate and dribble to the basket and shoot the three-point well. She is three to four dimensional."
Gilmore said opponents like to double team Fimpel, but that can be dangerous. For her height, Fimpel can move, and she can also light it up from the outside. It’s a good thing Gilmore came to Maumelle last season as an assistant coach and now is the head coach. Otherwise, Fimpel might not be playing basketball after her sophomore and junior seasons were spent dealing with coaches with off the-court issues.
"Nobody really believed in her," Fimpel’s father, Paul, said. "Last year, Coach Gilmore kept telling her she had talent and to go forward."
Fimpel played AAU ball with the Arkansas Mavericks and was also encouraged by Coach Steve Elkins. She also received help from Scott McRae from Elite Fitness and Performance. He allowed the basketball team to use the facility free of charge which helped Fimpel maintain her fitness.
Not only does Gilmore like Fimpel’s leadership on the court but also enjoys and appreciates what she brings off the court. He says she is a normal, giddy senior looking forward to playing at the next level.
"She gets on my nerves but that is what you are supposed to do when you are graduating," Gilmore said. "She will be missed."
Gilmore also said Fimpel has the respect of her teammates and can dish out constructive criticism as well as take it. He added she is confident on and off the court and is a role model to her teammates.
"I thank God," Fimpel said. "I couldn’t do anything without him and am highly blessed."