ALPENA — North Arkansas College Lady Pioneers basketball team added another local player to the roster.
Alpena senior Abby Dean signed a national letter-of-intent to play basketball next season at the Harrison college.
The choice of Northark was an easy one.
“They reason I chose Northark is because it is close to home and since I come from a small school, I think that Northark is a great place to start college with smaller classrooms and a smaller campus,” she said. “Plus it helps to know so many of the faculty and other students to help transition to college life.”
She continued. “Plus I really like Coach (Bobby) Howard and there were several girls from my summer travel team that will be playing at Northark as well. I am excited to be on the floor with those girls again.”
Dean hasn’t settled on a major when she gets to Northark, but she knows about her career choice.
“I am undecided on my major, however I am leaning toward a teaching degree or possibly going into pediatric nursing,” she said. “I have always had an interest in being a teacher since I was young, but over the past couple of years I have become interested in the medical field specifically pediatric nursing or a neonatal nurse. I just know I want to work in the public and with people especially children. I love kids and just want to help people.”
Basketball has been an important part of Dean’s life. She really likes the game.
“I love the “we” aspect of the game,” she said. “Being a part of a team and how much opportunities it has give me.”
The sport has also been a teaching tool for which Dean has learned.
“Basketball has taught me how to rely on my teammates and the true value of hard work,” she said. “It has taught me that nothing is given and to never give up.”
Dean is also a member of the Lady Leopard volleyball team.
She has received honors in both sports. She was All-State this season and made the All-State Tournament team her sophomore and junior year.
She has also been All-Conference several years in basketball and volleyball. She was All-State this season in volleyball.
Dean pointed to things that she will miss about leaving high school.
“I am definitely going to miss all of my teachers and my friends the most,” she said.
Having played several positions in high school hopes to lead Dean to success on the college court. She knows that she will have to work to make improvements.
“I have never played college basketball, but I am ready for the new experience,” she said. “Playing in college will be different and I will need to adjust some old habits and improve tremendously. I need to work on becoming more consistent on the outside and being quicker on my feet. I will also need to get use to the shot clock.”
The daughter of Tammy and Dustin Dean is the big sister to Eli Dean.
Realizing that an accomplishment of this magnitude is not accomplished by herself, Dean had people to recognize for their help.
“I would like to thank my mom for always being there and pushing me to be the absolute best player and person I could be,” she said. “I would also like to thank my coaches, teammates and the Leopard basketball community for all of their support and memories.”