HOUGHTON -The Michigan Tech women's basketball team had four of the five players on the 2010 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division all-conference team.
The only player that didn't spend her season in Houghton was sophomore Emma Veach of the Grand Valley State Lakers, but starting next season, Veach will be a Husky.
After a second half full of struggles by the Lakers, Veach decided going back to finish her final two years of eligibility wasn't right for her, leaving her open to go where she wanted to for the upcoming season.
Emma Veach of Grand Valley State puts up a shot against the defense of Michigan Tech’s Sarah Stream (2)?and Lindsey Lindstrom in their game last winter at the SDC?Gym. Veach will be transferring to Michigan Tech and will be eligible to play with the Huskies in fall 2011. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
"We had to get the release from Grand Valley, and then I just called and asked her what the through process was," said former head coach John Barnes, who took an assistant job with the University of Wisconsin in June. "She said she was still open to playing, so I just tried to recruit her.
"The visit went well, and the next thing you know, she decided to go."
Michigan Tech won out on what basically was a lottery for one of the most talented players in the GLIAC, beating out schools all over the Midwest, including Northern Kentucky, Lewis, Northwood and Hillsdale, all schools that compete regularly in the regional tournament.
"It was pretty exciting knowing that I had options, a little overwhelming at times, but it was a nice experience to get the whole recruiting process over again," Veach said. "I was impressed with how committed and how involved with the community the program is at Michigan Tech, it was very unique with the schools that I visited."
Veach said the program's success on the court and a great academic program aided her in her decision.
"It is a good fit, a great balance between academics and basketball," Veach said.
Barnes, who will be remembered for leading the Huskies to a 155-56 record over seven seasons, is also noted for his all-star recruiting including three all Americans and now, Veach.
"I'm excited she's coming, obviously I was still on staff at the time, and I think she's a perfect fit for us, because we're going to be fairly inexperienced," Barnes said. "We have very good players coming back, and not a lot of experience, and she has a ton of it."
During the 2008-09 season, Veach was named the GLIAC Freshman of the Year, and this season she averaged 11.4 points per game while taking in 5.7 rebounds, which led the team.
"She's a very versatile player, she can shoot the three and she can drive to the basket and she handles the ball really well," new Tech head coach Kim Cameron said. "Our kids really liked her too, and that was very important to us, they are excited to play with such a well-known and talented player."
Veach will sit out the 2010-11 season due to GLIAC transfer rules before using her final two years of eligibility during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, when the Huskies will hopefully be right back amongst the tops in the GLIAC.
"I'm glad she's coming in, and I wish only the best for her and Michigan Tech," Barnes said. "I'd love to see Tech go on to win more conference titles, and go get that elusive national championship, I'd be the happiest guy around if that happened."
Even with Barnes out of the picture, Veach's decision was still confidently made.
"The bulk of the program is going to stay the same, and it's still the same school, the same environment that I committed to," Veach said.
Michael H. Babcock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.