ORONO, Maine — Sigrid Koizar made an immediate and significant impact when she joined the Stearns High School basketball team as an exchange student in 2011.
University of Maine women’s basketball head coach Richard Barron is hoping she can provide a similar spark for his team during the next four years.
Austrian “Sigi” Koizar has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for UMaine starting in the fall, the university announced Tuesday.
The 5-foot-8 guard averaged 23.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.2 steals for coach Justin Page at Stearns High in Millinocket, sparking the Minutemen to a berth in the Eastern Maine Class C championship game in 2012.
“We are very excited to have Sigi join us,” Barron said in a press release. “We enjoyed seeing her play several times during her junior year with Stearns and have followed her progress with her national team for Austria.
“Sigi is an excellent passer, attacks the basket well, and has shooting range beyond the 3-point line. She was a fan favorite in Millinocket and I am sure she will be one at UMaine as well,” he added.
Koizar, a Bangor Daily News All-Maine first-team selection in 2012, joins two other players who committed to UMaine last spring, Sheraton Jones and Kiana Mayers, in this year’s recruiting class.
Last season, Koizar was a starting guard and captain on her U-18 team, which she helped lead to an Austrian championship. Barron, who recruited six players from overseas last year, kept in touch with Koizar after she returned to Europe, Page said.
Koizar spent 2011-12 at Stearns under the American Field Service student-exchange program. The 16-year-old was a difference-maker on the court for the Minutemen.
““She’s a down-to-earth girl with out-of-this-world skills,” Page said.
“Her humility does not take away from her confidence. She doesn’t ever step into that super-ego. If she wanted to score 40 [points], she could, but she focuses on other areas — assists, steals, rebounding.”
Page explained Koizar is a hard worker who is able to maintain her intensity and focus for the duration of a game and won’t succumb to pressure. He said her best attribute might well be her ability to make everyone around her better.
“I think you’ll see her make a great impact with her passing and dribbling ability,” he said. “She’s a true point guard, but she can score if you ask her to.”
Prior to her time at Stearns, Koizar played for the Austrian under-18 national team and formerly captained her U-16 and U-14 squads. Koizar also played club ball with Traiskirchen until 2009 before joining Vienna 87.
Page said Koizar should have a good comfort level at UMaine, already having established a network of friends and fans in the Millinocket area.
“It’s good for this whole eastern Maine region,” he said.
Koizar’s participation at UMaine is contingent upon admission to the university and compliance with all NCAA rules, including registration with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
‘Bears N Claws’ dinner set
The UMaine women’s basketball team is sponsoring a “Bears N Claws” lobster dinner on July 17 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the home of coach Barron in Bangor.
The cost is $50 per person with proceeds to benefit the Friends of Maine Women’s Basketball. The meal includes lobster or hamburger, potato salad, corn on the cob and dessert.
Children 10 and under can eat free from kids’ menu (hot dog). The event will include music, games and an auction. Contact Samantha Wheeler by email at Samantha.Wheeler@umit.maine.edu or by phone at 207-581-1075.