Christianson commits to DrakeThe Cardinal senior guard takes the Division I scholarship offered by the Bulldogs
By: By Eric Morken, Sports Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
Alexandria’s Angela Christianson has stood out in the Central Lakes Conference for her ability to put up points in a hurry for the Cardinal girls’ basketball team.
As a 6’0” two guard, her fluid stroke that extends past the three-point line has caught the attention of a lot of college coaches through the years. Her play earned her Division I scholarship offers from North Dakota State, Colorado State and Drake University, as well as interest from the University of Missouri.
But when it came to choosing a school, the deciding factor came down to one thing. Christianson gave a verbal commitment to attend Drake in Des Moines, Iowa earlier this month because it offered a chance for her friends and family to see her play on a consistent basis. The coaching staff from Drake was on her in the early stages of her recruitment and their persistence paid off with the commitment.
“They have recruited me from the beginning,” Christianson said. “They were the second school to offer me, and I could tell they really wanted me. Their coaches are really great. They sent me a lot of letters, and have been to games and watched me play all summer.”
Christianson’s natural scoring ability is evident every time she steps on the court. She averaged 25 points per game as a junior for the Cardinals. Twice she went for more than 40 last season after having a 54-point game her sophomore year.
Her long frame will likely make it easier for her to adjust to playing shooting guard at the Division I level. But Christianson knows the overall adjustment will not come right away.
“Playing hardnosed defense and never giving up on a play on defense is the main thing,” she said. “They think that I’ll fit in fine with the whole defensive scheme. It will be about working hard all the time because the girls are going to be at another level. They’re going to be faster, so I have to be quick on my feet.
“I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to do it. Maybe not right away, maybe not within the first couple weeks, but I will be able to adjust pretty well to their style of play.”
Five summers of playing with the North Tartan AAU program has shown her that. Christianson became the 341st player with North Tartan ties to take their game to the college level. The program has consistently been one of the top programs on the AAU circuit, even being named the AAU program of the year in 2008 by Girls’ Basketball Recruit.
Through AAU, Christianson has gone up against many of the best players in the country. It is also where college coaches do most of their homework on recruits.
“[Drake] watched me a ton in AAU,” Christianson said. “I probably wouldn’t have had near as much interest if it weren’t for AAU. We play all over the country against the best of the best in big tournaments. It’s a big confidence boost, knowing I’m right up there with them.”
The attention she has earned through the recruiting process came with its ups and downs. Answering e-mails and phone calls and having to tell other coaches who invested a lot of energy into getting her on campus that she would not be accepting their offer made it difficult at times. It’s a process that she is grateful for, but one she is glad to be done with.
“It’s really nice to be done with it,” Christianson said. “It feels like there’s a big weight lifted of my shoulders. The whole recruiting process, it was stressful at times but at the same time, it was really cool and really a big privilege. It was fun but stressful at the same time.”
Now she can turn her focus back to school and finishing out her senior year. She hopes to end her high school career on a high note with the teammates she said have played a key role in helping her standout as one of the top scorers in the state.
“They have helped so much,” she said. “I love playing with the girls in Alex. They have all been so supportive of me. They look for me all the time and have helped my game a lot.”
It is a team that she feels can do good things this winter. She did not shy away from placing high expectations on a Cardinal team that she feels should make strides on their 16-10 season from a year ago.
“We are going to be really athletic this year,” Christianson said. “A couple other girls played AAU out of St. Cloud. I think we should be really good. We’ll be quick and really athletic. We should be able to win the conference and hopefully make a run at state.”