NEW MADISON – Tri-Village senior Danika Mann will be a multi-sport athlete in college as she committed on Wednesday to play basketball and softball at Ohio Christian University.
Mann, the daughter of Rodney and Annette Mann and Christy and Robbie Hager, said she’s excited to have an opportunity to continuing playing two sports that she loves at a school that feels like home.
“I went on a visit there, and I got that feeling that it was home. I’m really excited to be there for the next four years,” Mann said. “I’m very blessed to be able to have that opportunity to be able to play two sports that I love.”
Ohio Christian is located in Circleville, south of Columbus. The Trailblazers compete in the NAIA River States Conference, which has schools in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia: Alice Lloyd College, Asbury University, Brescia University, Carlow University, Cincinnati Christian University, Indiana University East, Indiana University Kokomo, Indiana University Southeast, Midway University, Point Park University, the University of Rio Grande and the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
Ohio Christian women’s basketball coach Jamey Batten said he sees Mann contributing immediately on the court for the Trailblazers.
“We feel like even as a freshman she’s going to be a big contributor for us this year,” he said. “We already have her kind of in our plans to be in our main rotation.
“We like how she is very active on the inside but has good vision and can pass and can score inside or mid-range and understands team basketball and she just has a natural degree of toughness about her and physicality that we really like.”
Mann was named first team all-Cross County Conference this past girls basketball season. She averaged 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, helping lead the Patriots to a third consecutive conference championship.
“You always want to get kids from winning programs because they understand what it takes,” Batten said. “We play team basketball. We won 22 games this past year, we had a record-breaking season, and you’re successful when you have people that understand team basketball and put the team before their own personal accolades.”
This past season the Ohio Christian women’s basketball team finished 22-11 overall, reaching the semifinals of the River States Conference tournament and the regional finals of the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament. In softball Ohio Christian is currently 10-26 this season.
“I think Ohio Christian is getting a blue-collar kid,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “I think that’s her strength that she’s going to work her tail off. You’re not going to find many people who are going to outwork her. Her want-to is very high and definitely is a competitive kid and wants to win and wants to perform well.
“She’s great around the basket, too. Can finish with both hands. True back-to-the-basket player who can also step out and shoot it pretty consistently from 15 feet, can pass it well from there as well, can play the high-low game. They’re getting a complete post player.”
Mann is undecided about what she’ll study in college, but she’s considering psychology and counseling with a minor in coaching. Her top goal in college is top help the Trailblazers win.
“Just help the team be the best it can be and we’ll see where that takes us,” Mann said.
Playing multiple sports in college will be a challenge, but Gray thinks Mann is the type of person who can handle it.
“If anybody has the drive to do that I think she does,” he said.
“Especially over the last year and a half I thought she worked really hard to get herself ready to play college basketball. Obviously it’s nice to see her get rewarded for that.”
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.