Lady Tiger all-stater going to Mineral Area
St. James High School all-state girls' basketball player M.J. Buschmann heard from both NCAA Division II schools as well as some mid-major Division I programs.
She's not sure where she will fit in the best, so she's going the junior college route to find out.
Buschmann, a 5-10 forward who led the Lady Tigers to the Missouri Class 3 Final Four this past season, on Tuesday signed to attend Mineral Area Junior College in Park Hills, Mo.
Before deciding upon Mineral Area, Buschmann also considered Three Rivers Community College as well as several "Small Division Is and big Division IIs."
"I chose Mineral Area mainly for that reason," Buschmann said the uncertainty of what level she should play at. "I know I need to work on my dribbling and my shot selection. And after my knee injury I felt like I am just now getting back to where I was."
Buschmann said she eventually wants to major in the geological engineering field.
The Mineral Area women's squad finished 21-8 this past season, reaching the quarterfinals of the regional tournament.
As a freshman Buschmann made the varsity rotation and helped St. James reach the state tournament quarterfinals. After starting as a sophomore, Buschmann suffered a season-ending knee injury which required surgery early in her junior season and was sidelined the rest of the campaign.
As a senior she returned to average 16.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.8 steals to help the Lady Tigers finish 26-5 and take third place in the Class 3 State Tournament.
"I think it's a great fit," said St. James head coach Terry Wells on Buschmann's decision to attend Mineral Area. "I think she can come in and play right away. Both financially and in the player development area, going there for two years will be great for her."
"She's got the good length that we're going to utilize her as one of the three guards," said Gary Koch, who recently completed his seventh season as Mineral Area women's basketball head coach, of Buschmann. "I like that length – she can shoot it and take it to the basket.
"In the second half of the state tournament semifinals I thought she really showed her competitive drive. I really like that part of it, so I'm glad we went to that game to see it. That second half she showed me she's got the 'it.'"
A left-hander, Buschmann was one of the most feared three-point shooters in the area last season. And as a senior she also displayed improved inside strength.
"(Koch) said I'll probably be a (wing player), and of the post gets in foul trouble a (power forward)," Buschmann said. "That's where I like to be. I like to be on the outside. I felt my game really stepped up at district and the playoffs."
"M.J.'s strengths are obvious strengths and they're not going to change," Wells said. "She needs to work on her right hand and have time to adjust to how the college game is going to work."
"Defense is definitely one thing I need to work on, since I'll be moving out to guard," Buschmann said. "And my shot was a little off this year."