I crown thee, "Queen of Basketball"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Deb Remmerde may be the greatest female basketball player I've ever seen.

When it comes to dedication, she may be the greatest basketball player period.

On Monday, the Rock Valley native's hard work paid off as she picked up a NAIA Division II National Women's Championship, leading the Northwestern College Red Raiders of Orange City to the title in Sioux City's Tyson Events Center. It was her first collegiate championship in her final collegiate game, to go along with three high school championships at Rock Valley.

I had the pleasure, and I do mean pleasure, of covering this legendary young lady throughout her high school career.

As a matter of fact, she I believe she had at least one huge regional final game right here in the Spencer Fieldhouse a few years back.

She holds the state high school girls scoring record. She holds the state free throw percentage record. She holds the state three-point record. I don't think there's a scoring record outside of the 6-on-6 realm that she doesn't own. And I can't imagine how big her scoring numbers would have been if she would played on the end of a floor with just three girls to beat.

During her junior year of college, she set a national mark for basketball at any level, connecting on over 130 straight free throws to set a mark well beyond anyone else at any level. NBA included. No chance Shaq's going to get this one!

And all of the records she holds, she's earned. And her reputation is not hype. This lady is the real deal.

But what makes Deb even more special is the fact that as good and competitive as she is - there is no ego. What you see is what you get. She lives for her faith, family and basketball. And no man, or woman, shall come between her and those three things.

While Deb's dedication to basketball comes from within - even God took the seventh day off, Deb would never dream of it - it's the support system she's had at home that has led her to become the fine person that she is.

She comes from very good stock as they say here in the Midwest. They were always there for her. Not riding her celebrity star or pushing her to do something she really didn't want to do, but they played the role of supportive parents and siblings to a tee. Cheering in her victory, consoling her in defeat, and always supporting her decision to get back up and go after it again.

This year, Deb set the NAIA scoring record. It wasn't a surprise. It was just sitting their waiting - another record tumbling under the drop dead accurate shooting of the floor master.

But as with all of her other achievements, Deb deflected the personal praise. When the media wanted to talk about her, she pointed to the other four ladies on the floor who set the screens and made the passes to give her good clean looks at the basket.

In this year's women's NAIA Division II tournament, Deb scored over 30 points in each game, and 40 or more twice. And while some might regard that as stealing the show, her teammates talked about her play inspiring them to raise their game to the next level.

And that's what Deb does. She's always been surrounded by other quality players. Regardless of how good she is, take the other four players out of the game and she's not going to beat five other players by herself (the exclusion being if they are five players with my speed and shooting accuracy). But Deb has always expected much from her teammates and she believed in them until they believed enough in themselves to meet that standard.

That's the definition of a winner in my book.

Congratulations Ms. Remmerde.

If you need a reference letter for the WNBA, I'd be glad to write one for you - but I'm sure your highlight film will suffice.

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