Superior prep girls basketball standout Lindstrom commits to Green BaySuperior's Jessica Lindstrom is the first girls basketball player in school history to commit to an NCAA Division I university on Wednesday by making an oral commitment to attend Wisconsin-Green Bay.
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
After traveling about 3,000 miles and visiting four college campuses in the past two weeks, Jessica Lindstrom headed to St. Croix Falls, Wis., for some much-needed R&R on Wednesday.
The Superior High School senior-to-be finally could relax, secure in the knowledge that she had become the first Spartans girls basketball player in school history to commit to an NCAA Division I university.
Lindstrom made an oral commitment to attend Wisconsin-Green Bay, a team that went 29-3 last season and appeared in its fifth consecutive NCAA tournament.
“They have a really good program and I want to be a part of it,” said Lindstrom, who toured the Phoenix campus in the spring. “I fell in love with it right when I got there because they made you feel like you were home. In my heart, I know it’s the right place.”
Lindstrom, a two-time News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year, averaged 21 points and 16.7 rebounds a game in leading the Spartans to a school-record 23 victories and their first WIAA Division 1 state tournament appearance in 18 years.
The 6-foot forward chose Green Bay over the other three in-state Division I schools — Wisconsin, Marquette and
Wisconsin-Milwaukee — all of which had offered her scholarships. Drake, Northern Illinois and North Dakota had tendered offers as well. In the past week, Lindstrom made unofficial visits to campuses in Des Moines, Iowa; DeKalb, Ill.; and Milwaukee and capped off the tour Tuesday with a trip to Madison.
The allure of playing in the Big Ten, however, didn’t influence her.
“People say, ‘Wisconsin is in the Big Ten, why wouldn’t you go there?’” she said. “But if it doesn’t feel right and I’m not going to enjoy it as much as I would enjoy Green Bay, why would I go there? That’s my logic.”
Green Bay reached the NCAA tournament’s Sweet Sixteen in 2011 and Kevin Borseth has continued the program’s progression after returning to coach the team last year. Borseth is 245-65 (79 percent winning percentage) in 10 years as head coach.
“She’s really impressed with the coaching staff and had a chance to meet all the players. It’s a really good fit for her,” Superior coach Phil Roe said. “It’s a competitive program and one that she is going to be able to compete in right away.”
That was key to Lindstrom’s decision-making. She wants to vie for a starting role as a freshman and wasn’t keen on altering her playing style to fit the program.
“(Borseth) said I would play right away … and that he would adapt to how I play,” she said. “I don’t have to change my game and all of a sudden become a shooting guard; I can still post up sometimes, I can be a forward. For me, that was huge.
“I like where my game is at right now. Obviously I’m not satisfied — I’m going to keep getting better every day — but why get to college and change my whole game that I’ve been working on for years? It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Lindstrom called the decision “a huge weight off my shoulders.”
“She got to a point where Green Bay felt like the best fit for her, and she wanted to commit before this basketball season. She didn’t want it to be a distraction to herself or her teammates,” Roe said.
The only distractions she has this week are activities such as tubing, fishing, four-wheeling and tanning at a friend’s cabin.
“I’m going to do all the things I’ve been missing,” she said by phone Wednesday after an afternoon of jet-skiing.