The gold standard for centers coming out of girls’ basketball programs in Miami remains 6-6 Sylvia Fowles, who led Edison High to state titles in 2001 and ’02 and is currently a WNBA All-Star for the Chicago Sky.
Now, a decade later, comes 6-4 sophomore Beatrice Mompremier, who plays for Miami High (15-4), which will host Norland (22-2) on Friday for the GMAC title.
Mompremier, who is of Haitian descent and speaks Creole in addition to English, is a long way from being in Fowles’ stratosphere, but there are days when the Stingarees’ young giant shows that kind of potential. In late December, for example, the Stingarees went to Myrtle Beach, S.C., where Mompremier set a tournament single-game record with 13 blocked shots.
It’s no wonder she is being recruited by Miami, Florida State, Florida, North Carolina and many other schools, according to Stings coach Sam Baumgarten.
“College coaches are impressed with how active she is, and they know she has only been playing two years,” Baumgarten said. “They love what she can do on defense and are waiting to see where she goes offensively if she gets that turnaround jumper.”
Unfortunately for Mompremier and the Stings, there are also days like last Saturday, when she was suspended by Baumgarten for what he considered not giving full effort in practice. That suspension cost the Stings in a 53-41 loss to Lourdes.
Baumgarten said it was not Mompremier’s first “lack-of-effort” offense, but, in fairness, it must be difficult for her to get amped up for practice when the next-tallest post player is eight or nine inches shorter and has little hope of giving her any real competition.
Mompremier said it was a misunderstanding.
“I felt like I was giving it my all,” she said. “But I guess [the coaches] didn’t feel the same way. People have different perspectives.”
Baumgarten insists that to reach her full potential, Mompremier has to give maximum effort at all times.
“She is very intense in games,” Baumgarten said. “But she has to bring that to practice as well.”
Still, it’s amazing how far Mompremier has come since she joined the Stings in August of 2011.
At the time, she had little experience in organized basketball, learning most of what she knew from brother Wadley Mompremier, a 6-9 senior for the Stings’ boys’ team who has signed to play for Ohio University. They also have a brother Claude, a 6-9 junior who plays for North Miami.
Beatrice Mompremier showed a glimpse of what she could do as a freshman, when she averaged eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. She has improved those numbers this season to 14.2 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.1 blocks, all team highs.
But she really made her mark this past summer with the Miami Suns AAU team. Among other stars, the Suns had a 6-5 senior center from West Palm Beach Dwyer, Kai James, who has signed with Florida State. James, who is older and has more post moves, gave Mompremier the competition she has been wanting.
“Beatrice had to develop a jump hook,” Baumgarten said. “It wasn’t easy getting her shot off against James in practice.”
Baumgarten said Mompremier is more than just big. She has improved as a ballhandler to the extent that she is now the Stings’ press-breaker in the middle.
While she lived off of put-backs as a freshman, she now has a little spin move in the post and, for a right-hander, shows good use of her left hand.
Mompremier arrived as a skinny freshman but has grown two inches and gotten stronger.
“She has an appetite,” Baumgarten said.
Now all she needs is consistency.