Kolleen Bouchard wanted a first-class education as well as to play for a top-notch basketball program.
So the three-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl basketball selection from Houlton High School has verbally committed to join her brother Kyle Bouchard at NCAA Division II Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, beginning in the fall of 2018.
Bouchard, who will be a senior at Houlton High this year, is getting a full scholarship to join a Bentley program that has gone 55-12 over the past two seasons and won the NCAA Division II title in 2013-14 when the Falcons went 35-0. Bentley reached the national semifinals two years ago but lost in the first round this past season.
“The education there is awesome. My first priority was getting a good education. Playing for a successful team help me put the decision over the top. That made my decision easier,” said the 6-foot Bouchard, who averaged 24.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.8 blocked shots and 2.1 steals per game this past season to lead Houlton to its third straight regional championship.
Houlton won state championships her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Her brother will be a junior at Bentley this fall. He played in 26 of their 27 games this past season and averaged 21.5 minutes per game.
Kyle and Kolleen also have two uncles who live in the area. Scott Spurling lives in Waltham and Mark Spurling resides in Natick.
“My brother being there was very helpful and having my uncles nearby was a huge factor. I’ll already have a built-in support system,” said Bouchard.
She mentioned that she is “very familiar with the area” because her uncles live there.
“I’ve been going down there ever since I was young. I know all the restaurants,” she quipped.
She went on her official visit on Tuesday and committed that day.
“Part of me always felt I wanted to go there,” said Bouchard who also enjoyed meeting her new teammates.
Houlton High School head girls basketball coach Shawn Graham said Bentley is a “good fit” for Bouchard.
“I had an inclination that’s where she would go,” said Graham. “Kyle is there and her uncles live down there. It makes perfect sense.”
He feels she will be an instant contributor.
“I can see her stepping in there and being an asset right off quick,” said Graham. “There isn’t a lot she doesn’t do well.
“Her strength is her versatility. She is able to play multiple positions which would be an asset for any college coach,” said Graham. “She really does everything well. She plays both ends of the court, she plays inside and outside, she can shoot free throws well, she can rebound.
“She runs the fast break off a rebound better than any high school kid I’ve ever seen. She’s long, she’s a great team player and she comes from a family with a high basketball skill set,” added the Shiretowners coach.
Bouchard next has to be accepted into the school and meet NCAA eligibility requirements.