HOUGHTON The passion for basketball manifested every time Elisa Jurmu wore her Houghton basketball jersey to bed the night before every single varsity game wasn't going to be extinguished by something like graduation.
The competitive fire Jurmu displayed for the Gremlins got noticed down the road at Michigan Tech, for whom she signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
"It really is a dream come true. This is something I've imagined every day, every time I stepped into the gym. It's something I've wanted, and it feels good," Jurmu said.
Elisa Jurmu, center, signs a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Michigan Tech alongside, from left, JV coach Mark Nolan, varsity coach Julie Filpus, and parents Christine and Mike Jurmu.
Yes, Jurmu slept in her uniform before all 59 of her varsity games.
"The first varsity game I got to play, I was just excited, and wearing my uniform and then pretty much just I was thinking I'll sleep in it and it turned into a superstition ever since to get into game mode the night before," she said.
Though her superstition and her on-court success might have made Jurmu feel comfortable, the thing she wore that got the Huskies' attention was intensity and an attitude for improvement.
"She came to a camp last summer and she did everything harder than everybody else. From that point forward she made herself stand out so much that we were forced to watch her. We immediately liked her because of her work ethic," Tech head coach Kim Cameron said.
"How hard she did everything even when nobody was watching - we would watch her from the windows during open gym - she always stood out. It was dribbling drills, footwork stuff, not just shooting. We realized that is the kind of kid that can be successful."
Jurmu, a 5-9 forward, totaled 1,048 career points and averaged 20 per game in her senior season afer racking up nearly the same total the year before.
With size, tenacious man-to-man defense, and the ability to finish both on the run and in traffic, Jurmu proved a nearly perfect fit for coach Julie Filpus's system.
"Obviously, I'm very happy for Elisa. I've been able to watch her for the last four years put a lot of time into the game of basketball. Elisa's a great student, a great person, she's gonna be a great fit there," Filpus said.
"The bottom line is, she is a competitor. When she steps out on the floor and we need a score, she's always doing whatever she can to get it done."
Cameron said, at the college level, Jurmu projects closer to the perimeter. With success, Jurmu can be the first Gremlin to letter with the Tech women since Megan Schaller in 2004.
"I think it is an exciting opportunity. We have known her for a lot of years, if you get an opportunity to come together, I think that's great," Cameron said.
Jurmu, the daughter of Mike and Christine Jurmu, said she's interested in Tech's biomedical engineering program.
"It's so close to home. I grew up watching them, went to all their games, just a perfect fit, pretty much," she said.
DMG?Sports Writer Michael Bleach contributed reporting for this article.