When Lake Erie College women's basketball coach Bob Booher looks for players to recruit, he looks for players who fly under the radar and can fill important roles for his team.
Alpena High's Dana Salesman turned out to be just the type of player Booher was looking for.
Salesman, a 5-6 guard who was a four-year varsity player for Alpena, will join Booher's squad next season after she signed her letter of intent to Lake Erie last month.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena High guard Dana Salesman, center, sits with her mother Julie Salesman, left and Alpena girls basketball coach Jenny Poli on Monday. Salesman, who was a two-time team captain for the Wildcats and set the school record for career three-pointers with 84, signed her Letter of Intent to play with Lake Erie College next season.
"It feels really good, kind of intimidating, but I know that I have the work ethic to be able to do it," Salesman said.
Salesman will join an 11-player freshman class for the Storm and has a good chance to earn playing time right away. The Storm went 16-11 last season and qualified for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time, but loses eight players to graduation, several of whom are guards.
A two-time All-Alpena News team selection who set the school record for career three-pointers with 84, Salesman's desire to play college basketball led her to visit Lake Erie's campus in Painesville, Ohio, last summer. She met with Booher and told him of her desire to play there. After Booher showed interest, Salesman emailed him later in the season and reassured him of her desire to play with the Storm at which point he offered her the chance to sign in the spring.
"When I look at an athlete from a school, academic and personality standpoint, I look at their ability to fit into the type of player (mold) I like to recruit," Booher said. "I think she felt we were the right size campus and when she visited, we hit it off."
In Salesman, who averaged 6.2 points, 1.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game for the Wildcats, the Storm will get a player who puts defense first and uses her quickness to create offensive opportunities for herself and teammates.
"I feel like she has really good court awareness and she understands her defensive responsibility," Booher said. "Dana did a lot of things defensively that we thought were good."
Salesman said she plans to major in pre-med and going to Lake Erie offers the added benefit of being halfway between Alpena and Washington, D.C., where her parents Kevin and Julie are moving.
Three of the Storm's graduating players from this season are guards, which means Salesman could have a shot at a starting spot next season. It's a challenge Salesman said she's up for.
"Everyone starts in the same place every season. If a freshman is better than a senior, the freshman will start. So as long as I work in the summer, I can possibly be in a starting position," Salesman said.
Alpena girls basketball coach Jenny Poli, who had Salesman as one of her starting guards for three seasons and a team captain for two years, will watch Salesman with great interest after seeing her strong worth ethic for the Wildcats.
"I think it's great. I knew Dana came in wanting to play college ball," Poli said. "She put in all the effort in the offseason with showcases and sold herself to the coach, so it'll be nice to see what she does."