Milan Germany started her high-school basketball career at St. Michael Academy in Manhattan. But she wasn’t there this past winter when the Eagles won their first New York State Federation Class AA championship.
After her sophomore season, with the blessing of St. Mike’s coach Apache Paschall, Germany headed up to Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., and she doesn’t regret the decision.
Just the opposite, actually.
“I decided to leave, because it was in the best interest for me,” the Bronx native said. “I had to get my grades up, so I could qualify. If I would have stayed at St. Michael’s, I wouldn’t have qualified.”
Germany said the distractions of the city and waking up early to commute from the Bronx to Midtown Manhattan affected her grades. That’s not a problem any longer. Germany, a versatile, 5-foot-11 wing, signed with Marshall last month and that’s where she’ll play her basketball next year. She credits Notre Dame Prep for making it all possible.
Though she made it official with Marshall in July, Germany said she chose the Huntington, W.Va., school much earlier on. Her former coach at Notre Dame Prep, John McGraw, is an assistant with the Thundering Herd. McGraw was also an administrator with Paschall’s Exodus AAU program that Germany has been a part of since eighth grade.
And she gets her basketball acumen from her actual father, Dwayne, who played at Kansas and went on to have a solid professional career in Europe. That’s actually how Germany got her first name. Dwayne tore his Achilles tendon, effectively ending his basketball career, in Milan, Italy.
“Maybe that’s why I ended up playing basketball,” Germany said with a laugh.
Germany grew up in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx and found her way to Paschall, another major influence on her life, and Exodus through her best friend: current University of Maryland guard Anjale Barrett. The two, who have been playing basketball together since Barrett was 6 and Germany was 4, still talk every day, Germany said.
She could be a contributor at a Division I program next year. Germany, who is recovering from a leg injury she suffered this summer on the AAU circuit, can play shooting guard or small forward and is a match-up problem waiting to happen. She has the handle and jump shot of a guard, but the size and strength of a forward. The latter earned her the nickname “Chubbs” by Paschall.
She will join McGraw and Brooklyn natives Rashedah Henriques and Adrian Randall, both of whom also played for Exodus, at Marshall. Another Bronx native, John F. Kennedy graduate Veronica Ruiz, will also be on the roster this winter after a redshirt season. The Thundering Herd went 15-14, including 8-8 in Conference USA, in 2008-09.
Germany isn’t quite sure what position she’ll be playing, but she really doesn’t care. After all, it was only a few years ago that she was in danger of not even qualifying.