ARCANUM – Arcanum senior Rebecca Deao fulfilled a lifelong dream on Friday afternoon when she committed to play college basketball for Ohio Northern University.
Deao, the daughter of David and Karen Deao, wasn’t sure she would get an opportunity to play collegiately until Ohio Northern started to recruit her during her senior season of basketball.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play college basketball,” she said. “I’ve dreamed of it since I was young, and I actually didn’t think I was going to get to play. Ohio Northern contacted me – contacted Coach (Matt Grote), actually – and he asked if I would like it, and we checked it out, and I actually fell in love with the school and the team so I’m really excited.”
Deao, who plans to study education in college, attended multiple games at Ohio Northern this season and went on an overnight visit. She felt at home with the team and fell in love with the school, which is located in Ada.
“The people in the education department really laid out what I was going to have to do, and I really liked how they ran their program,” Deao said. “The campus is just so beautiful, and it’s a small town so I felt really at home there.”
It was great for Deao and the Arcanum girls basketball program that she was able to commit to Ohio Northern in front of her high school teammates, Grote said.
“There’s a few colleges that actually showed interest in her so I wasn’t surprised when they did,” Grote said of Ohio Northern’s recruitment of Deao. “She’s a good player, a good post player. I know schools are always looking for solid post players, and she’ll come in and work hard. I think they saw that, especially with her playing AAU; that helped, too.”
Deao, who earned second team all-Cross County Conference honors as a senior, averaged 6.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
“She’s really a team player,” Grote said. “She gets after it. She’ll do whatever you ask, and I think that’s a big thing. That’s probably her biggest attribute. She’s going to come in; she’s going to work hard. She’s going to rebound. She might not score a whole lot, but you know what she’ll put the ball in the basket when she gets an opportunity. She’ll just make everybody around her better.”
By working hard Deao hopes to find a role on and off the court while at Ohio Northern.
“I hope to go in there and make an impact some way or another,” she said. “Maybe not being the top leading scorer but just being a part of a family I guess is what I’m excited about and having an impact on maybe more than basketball.”
This past season Ohio Northern finished 23-5 overall and won the Ohio Athletic Conference championship with a 17-1 record. The Polar Bears, who finished the season ranked 14th in the nation, advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament, losing by three points to Carnegie Mellon University in the second round.
“I think it’s going to be very exciting,” Deao said. “I hope that I can help continue success with them. They did a great job this year, and I was happy to watch them and see their success.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.