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Lindstrom’s college coach likes what he sees

Superior High School's Jessica Lindstrom gets fouled during the WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament championship game Saturday night at the Resch Center in Green Bay. (Jed Carlson/

By Louie St. George

GREEN BAY — In his second stint at Wisconsin-Green Bay, Kevin Borseth knows exactly what type of player he wants to recruit.

And when the Phoenix coach stumbled upon Superior’s Jessica Lindstrom, he knew the fiery up-and-comer fit the bill.

The first thing that stood out?

“Energy — she’s got a motor,” Borseth said Friday evening at the Resch Center in Green Bay. “You try to recruit kids that have motors, and Jessica has one. She just competes every second that she’s out there. I’m real excited to get the opportunity to coach her.”

Borseth will get that opportunity next year when Lindstrom, a 6-foot-1 senior, arrives on the Green Bay campus. She’s already there this weekend with the Spartans, who qualified for their second consecutive state tournament. Borseth was in attendance Friday to watch Lindstrom and her teammates beat Mukwonago in the Division 1 semifinals. The coach, who has sandwiched two stops with the Phoenix around one at the University of Michigan, primarily has watched his future pupil play with her summer team.

Friday, he watched her play for Superior for the second time — the first was a regular-season game against Hayward last year — and Lindstrom was a monster with 20 points, 18 rebounds and four blocked shots while going against future Green Bay teammate, Indians sophomore Bre Cera. She also made two free throws with less than a second on the clock to send the Spartans to a 51-49 victory and into Saturday’s title game.

Borseth, who knew seemingly every person at the Resch Center, likes what he sees.

“Talk about Jekyll and Hyde,” the affable coach said. “You meet her as a person, and (she’s) just the sweetest person you ever met. But, boy, when she steps in between them lines, she just really gets after it.”

Lindstrom is part of a four-player recruiting class for the Phoenix, perennial NCAA tournament participants and heavyweights of the Horizon League — they have won each of the past 16 regular-season titles. Borseth had fulfilled a longtime dream when the Wolverines of the Big Ten beckoned. And he led Michigan to unprecedented success, but he never was happy away from Green Bay. After five seasons in Ann Arbor, he resigned and returned to the Phoenix ahead of the 2012-13 campaign.

Borseth promptly reached out to Lindstrom, who signed her national letter of intent last summer.

Lindstrom, who nearly set a single-game state-tournament rebounding record when she recorded 22 a year ago against Milwaukee Riverside, plays much bigger than the 6-1 she’s listed at. Quick and athletic, she always seems to be around the ball — a trait she said comes naturally. Her five offensive rebounds on Friday keyed a 21-6 advantage for Superior in second-chance points. Despite giving up plenty of height against Mukwonago, the Spartans held a 42-27 edge in rebounding.

“When we see the ball, it’s ours,” Lindstrom said after the game. “If you get in the way, nice try, but it’s going to be ours. I think if you have that mindset, you can go get it.”

Aside from talent, Borseth said some of the things he looks for in potential recruits are grades, excitement about playing for the Phoenix and whether he and the player hit it off. With Lindstrom, he was able to check all those items off his list, and quickly.

“In Jessica’s case and the way she approaches the game, she’s kind of a dream player,” he said.