GENEVA – Sidney Santos stuck with basketball through a dreary first couple years of high school in which the Geneva forward suffered a pair of ACL tears.
Her perseverance was rewarded this week after Santos accepted a scholarship offer to play Division I basketball at Oakland (Mich.).
“Looking back, I know I had more struggles than most athletes do but [fighting through] it is was worth it,” Santos said. “I’m thankful to be able to follow my dream and play Division I basketball, and just for all the people who supported me through it and everything like that. I’m so grateful and thankful for everything that has happened because it made me who I am today.”
Santos made her high school basketball debut last season as a junior, moving from the forward spot to point guard to help the Vikings cope with Michaela Loebel’s season-ending injury. Santos averaged 8.8 points a game while leading Geneva with 4.2 assists a game.
The 6-footer expects to move back to her niche as a versatile forward who can score both facing the basket and in the paint. She said she chose Oakland over TCU, East Carolina, Illinois-Chicago and Northern Kentucky.
Oakland is the newest member of the Horizon League. The Golden Grizzlies have a first-year coach, Jeff Tungate, who previously was associate head coach of Oakland’s men’s team.
“Oakland runs through his blood so he’s not really new to Oakland,” Santos said. “They were always there during recruiting. They were wonderful. I’ve really grown to love them. That was the place that was best for me education-wise, where I would fit in best playing-wise and I loved the staff and the campus and everything Oakland has to offer. It just ended up being the place I really wanted to go.”
Santos said she committed Monday night and upon arriving at school Tuesday, Vikings girls basketball coach Sarah Meadows already had a congratulatory Oakland poster in her office.
Santos’ older sister, Geneva graduate Ashley Santos, plays collegiately at Marquette, and Sidney Santos said Tungate already has mused about trying to get Marquette on Oakland’s schedule.