Mady Draak Commits to Michigan Tech

December 27, 2018

Mady Draak decided to chase the fit instead of the level.

The Bay Port girls basketball player announced Wednesday night that she has verbally committed to Michigan Tech University, an NCAA Division II school in Houghton.

Draak, a 6-foot-1 junior forward, had a Division I offer from Northern Illinois and a DII one from Truman State. She also had visited Yale University, but felt the Connecticut school was a bit too far from home.

“I always loved the school,” Draak said of Michigan Tech. “I’ve visited there twice, so I always loved it. I just thought it was the perfect fit. It was the school that was going to cater to my needs both academically and for basketball.

“It was way more about academics than a division. I didn’t really take Division I or Division II into account in my decision. It didn’t really matter to me.”

MTU is 7-5 this season, but perhaps its biggest win came in exhibition play when it pulled off a 66-61 upset against DI Eastern Michigan.

The Huskies have gone to the NCAA DII tournament 19 times and have won at least 19 games in each of the past 14 seasons. They have not had a losing record since going 10-17 in 1987-88.

Draak hopes to study engineering in college, which made MTU a natural choice. Her decision to pass up a DI offer to attend the school didn’t shock those who know her.

“In eighth grade, Mady told me that she would need to miss the first game of a tournament to attend a robotics competition,” said Cordero Barkley, who has coached Draak during the AAU season. “So, I wasn’t surprised when she shared she wanted to pursue a degree in engineering as we got further along in her recruiting process.

“We believe Michigan Tech is a great fit for Mady. Coach (Sam) Hoyt is a great coach and mentor to the young women in her program. Mady fits the system from a basketball standpoint and Mady immediately felt embraced by the family culture that the team and Houghton community has. Most importantly, she will earn an engineering degree from one of the top-rated STEM schools in the country.”

Draak rapidly has improved as a player during the past three years. She was stuck deep on the bench in AAU for the Purple Aces in eighth grade but earned praise from her coaches for her work ethic.

She had a breakout season at the high school level as a sophomore last season, when she averaged 9.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and shot 61.5 percent while also finishing with 27 steals and 24 blocks. She was a big reason Bay Port won the Fox River Classic Conference title and advanced to a WIAA Division I sectional championship.

The Pirates are tied with Green Bay Preble at 6-0 atop the FRCC standings this season. Entering the Middleton Holiday Shootout this week, Draak was second on the team in scoring behind Emma Nagel with 9.6 points a contest.

She started her junior campaign with 16 points against Luxemburg-Casco and 12 against Sheboygan South.

With her college plans set, it should help ease any pressure Draak felt during the recruiting process.

“I think it’s really relaxing just knowing I can go out and play,” Draak said. “Play for fun. Not having any stress on my shoulders.”

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