Butler's Achesinski signs to play basketball at Division II Mercyhurst
Eagle Sports Editor
BUTLER TWP A full scholarship, a comfortable setting and the chance to get on the court early.
The senior center on
Achesinski also was recruited by a number of Division I schools, Bucknell, Emory (
"I decided to look at local Division IIschools and concentrate on them,"Achesinski said. "I never had my heart set on playing Division I basketball.
"Division I takes a lot more time. ... It's a different game."
Before deciding on Mercyhurst, Achesinski was consid
"Sam had verbally committed to Mercyhurst and told their coach about me," Achesinski said. "Coach (Karin)Nicholls figured I was going Division I, so she never really recruited me.
"Once she called and I went up there to visit, everything clicked. It was a good fit. I knew it was the place for me."
Achesinski will major in education at Mercyhurst.
"She will be a program changer,"
Nicholls is ent
In the year before Nicholls arrived, the Lakers finished 1-25. Their last winning season was in 1999-2000, when they finished 15-12. Since then, Mercyhurst has lost 121 of 159 games.
"I was never concerned or worried about whether my college team has been winning or losing,"Achesinski said. "As long as they're making the effort to recruit good players, they're working hard and trying to get better, I'm fine with it."
"I see her starting for us for four years with the potential to be a Division IIall-American,"Nicholls said of Achesinski. "She has Division I ability and it takes Division I-caliber players to turn around a Division IIprogram."
Nicholls previously coached at Division I University of Texas-Pan American and set the school's single-season record in wins there. She also turned around
"I'm in this for the long haul. Division I coaching didn't do it for me. I don't like the politics at that level. Mercyhurst is my last coaching stop. I plan to retire here."
Mercyhurst's roster this year features four seniors, two juniors, a sophomore and six freshmen.
"A lot of girls in
Achesinski said she didn't want to go to college too far from home, and she wanted a situation that would get her on the court right away.
"I'm used to getting on the court and contributing right away," she said. "Of course, I want to play. I've always played.
"Hopefully, Sam and I can be part of a conference title or two, maybe even a national championship. Being part of a building program will be fun."
Has recorded 1,075 points and 608 rebounds in three-year varsity career.
Averaged 16.6 points, 10 rebounds per game last year
Shot 75.2 percent from free throw line last year
Scored in double figures in 23 of 24 games last season
Best Offensive Player Award, 2004-06
First team all-section, 2006
Second team, all-section, 2005
Track and Field
Three-year letterwinner, shot put and discus
Most Improved Field Award, 2005