VERSAILLES — Versailles senior Emily Harman signed her letter of intent Wednesday to play for the Wilmington College women’s basketball team, something she didn’t anticipate when she chose to attend the college.
Harman, the daughter of John and Krista Harman, chose Wilmington to pursue studies in agronomy, which is a plant science major.
After Harman told her high school basketball coach, Jacki Stonebraker, about her college decision, Stonebraker thought about how Versailles graduate Bethany Ahrens was completing her senior season with the Quakers and the team might need a post player to replace her.
Stonebraker contacted Wilmington to let the coaches know about Harman, and that quickly led to the Versailles senior joining the Quaker program.
“I was already planning on going to Wilmington, and then the coach kind of contacted me afterwards, and he was like, ‘Hey, I heard you want to come here. Do you want to play for us, too?’ And so that was kind of a really quick, two-week decision where I met him and went and visited him and told him, ‘Sure, I’ll come and play for you,’” Harman said.
It wasn’t until after the high school season ended that Harman visited with the Wilmington coaches and made her decision to pursue college basketball.
“It was kind of a different situation where usually you pick a school based on playing or basketball reasons or athletics, and she actually picked to go there because of the major that they had, and then she got the opportunity to play on top of it,” Stonebraker said.
“Just that opportunity that she has that lies ahead of her just to play at that next level and do something that she loves to do is a great opportunity for here.”
Education drew Harman to Wilmington, she said, but having the opportunity to play basketball as well makes it the perfect opportunity for her.
“They have a really good concentration in (agronomy) over there,” Harman said. “Then with being able to play basketball on the side, I think that’s just really what topped it all off and made it the perfect fit for me.”
She also feels really comfortable at Wilmington, she said.
“It’s a really nice campus,” Harman said. “It’s nice and small. It will be kind of like Versailles.”
Harman really showed her skills as a senior for the Division III state runner up Versailles girls basketball team. She earned a starting role for the Tigers and led the team with nine points in the state championship game.
“It really helped that she had a great senior year this year,” Stonebraker said. “She had a great postseason. She was a great leader for us on and off the court. She really came out of her shell this year.”
Harman averaged 6.6 points and 3.6 rebounds a game to earn second team all-Midwest Athletic Conference honors as a senior. But the little things are what make her a great player and will help her excel at the college level, Stonebraker said.
“She does the little things well: rebounding, boxing out, getting loose balls, steals, screening for somebody else to get open and then she happens to get open herself, just hitting the open shot when she’s open,” the Versailles coach said. “She’s going to be the dirty player who gets all the little things that nobody else wants to do.”
Harman said she anticipates it will take awhile to adapt to the college game, but she feels confident that she will be ready for the competition. She could contribute to the Quakers early in her college career, she said.
“They don’t really have a true post right now that came there to play post,” Harman said. “I think they’re pretty excited, and they’re hoping to maybe build in the next few years and improve.”
Wilmington, which competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference, finished the 2013-14 season with a 13-14 record.
Harman joins fellow Versailles senior Katie Heckman, who is committed to Mercyhurst University, as members of the Versailles state runner up basketball team who are continuing their basketball careers in college. She looks forward to continuing her basketball career and wants to enjoy the experience.
“I just think it will be really great,” Harman said. “It will be a lot of fun to continue to compete. It’s only Division III, but I think I’ll really enjoy just being able to play and just having fun with it.”