VERSAILLES – Clair Schmitmeyer will continue her basketball career close to home as the Versailles senior committed to play for Edison State Community College on Thursday afternoon.
Schmitmeyer, the daughter of Doug and Brenda Schmitmeyer, said she never considered playing college ball until Edison started recruiting her prior to her senior season. Once the Chargers showed interest, she quickly found her future home.
“I never really thought I would play college basketball,” she said. “I thought I would just end it after high school, but after our first our second scrimmage when (Edison women’s basketball coach Tim McMahon) contacted me I guess it kind of popped into my head that I would play. Then after the first game I really knew I was going to play for Edison then.”
Schmitmeyer, who plans to study agricultural business in college, said being close to home attracted her to Edison.
“It’s close to home so I can stay at home and help on the family farm,” she said. “I just really didn’t think about moving away from home for college.”
Schmitmeyer never was a starter for Versailles, but she was a key player off the bench for the Tigers’ Division III state runner up team this year. She averaged 4.59 points and 2.41 rebounds per game as a senior.
“She’s had some really big minutes for us,” Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “Starter or non-starter, she (had) an important role. She’s going to make a big impact at Edison, too.”
McMahon knew he wanted Schmitmeyer on his team the first time he saw her play.
“I like her enthusiasm for the game,” he said. “She runs up and down the court. She plays great defense. Very athletic. That’s what I like about her. She’s just a great person, and I think she’s a big asset for our program.”
At Edison, McMahon envisions Schmitmeyer playing forward or possibly off-guard.
“In our system with play a lot of four-guard offense,” he said. “So she’ll fit right into that package.”
One of Schmitmeyer’s greatest assets is her versatility and ability to play multiple roles, Stonebraker said.
“Just being able to guard anybody,” the Versailles coach said. “She can guard a guard. She can guard a post. She’s going to push people around. She’s going to make that other player, the offensive player, struggle. She’s just a gritty player. She gets after it, and it doesn’t matter if it’s offensively or defensively, she’s going to get after it.
“Edison is getting a crazy hard worker. She is an extremely, extremely hard worker. She’s going to do great things for them.”
In college Schmitmeyer will reconnect with a former high school teammate, Lauren Monnin.
“I know Lauren and (Fort Loramie graduate) Holly Frey, also, so they will really help me really connect with the game there,” Schmitmeyer said. “To get to play with Lauren one more year is one thing that I’m really happy about.”
McMahon loves that he’s adding another Versailles player to his program and wishes he could have even more.
“They’re always well-coached,” he said. “They know how to win. I’ll take one every year or two or three if they would let me.”
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.