Lames El Gammal knows all the angles.
That’s how she developed into an elite rebounder. That’s how she excelled in complex classes like AP calculus. And that’s how she became an Ivy League athlete.
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El Gammal, a 6-2 senior center who spent five seasons on the Baldwin girls basketball team, made her intention to attend Brown University official on Friday during a ceremonial signing at Sportime in Lynbrook. It marked the culmination of an immensely successful high school tenure both on the court and in the classroom.See alsoLI Class of 2016 college commitmentsSee alsoLike Newsday High School Sports on Facebook
“Balancing basketball and academics is an accomplishment in itself because a lot of people have a hard time balancing one on its own,” El Gammal said. “For me to learn that skill now, and be able to balance those hard classes and a rigorous basketball schedule will help me moving forward.”
El Gammal jokes that her biggest strength on the court is her actual strength. A strong inside presence who thrives with her back to the basket and can finish with both hands, she averaged 9.1 points and just over 10 rebounds and two blocks per game this season.
“In the seven years I’ve been the head coach,” Baldwin coach Tom Catapano said, “I would say she has been the best rebounder that we’ve had come through the program.”
El Gammal, who was brought up to varsity in eighth grade, says she first learned how to control the boards as a freshman after she was taught to read the angles and the trajectory of the ball.
“When you see a shot go up, you figure out if it’s either going to bounce this way or that way depending on where it’s shot from,” she said. “I do a quick analyzation of how the ball is going to bounce and then I know where to go to get it.”
Her rebounding ability and maneuverability in the post helped Baldwin capture a fourth straight county championship this past season. And her four years in the classroom were just as successful. A member of the National Honor Society, she says her weighted average in high school is 105.
She’s also a violinist in the school’s honors orchestra program. Which does she play better, basketball or the violin?
“Some would debate,” she said with a laugh. “I can’t pick one.”
El Gammal selected Brown over Princeton, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University and Quinnipiac. She says she’s interested in veterinary sciences and wants to be a zoo veterinarian.
“I’d like to help big game animals like elephants,” she said.
Catapano described El Gammal as a “program kid” — someone who improves each year, sets an example on and off the court, and as a result, leaves the program in a better place.
“She made the coaching staff, her teammates, and the community extremely proud,” Catapano said. “We know she’s going to go on to do great things. Not only on the court, but more importantly, later on in life.”