Basketball: Southland grad finding her footing in Arkansas
Published 8:47 pm Thursday, November 26, 2015
It’s been a long, strange trip for Southland grad Jana Schammel. But she may have finally found her footing.
Since graduating from Southland High School in 2013, the basketball standout has had to deal with her first major injury and she’s transferred schools twice.
So it was more than just a typical breakout game when Schammel posted a career-high 29 points to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds in a big win for John Brown University, an NAIA school in Arkansas, last week.
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It was a game Schammel had been waiting on since she started her college basketball trek three years ago. Schammel is the all-time leading scorer at Southland with 1,822 career points and she is also the Rebels’ all-time leader in steals and three-pointers made. She had high hopes after high school when she headed to Upper Iowa University to play Division II basketball, but her season was cut short after she dislocated her knee cap in the second week of school.
Schammel underwent surgery and soon she found herself on crutches doing something she had never done before — being a spectator during her team’s basketball games.
“I couldn’t really do anything. That was really hard and not fun,” Schammel said. “I had to just sit and watch for the first time. I didn’t really know what to do.”
Schammel went through a rigorous and frustrating year of rehabilitation at Upper Iowa and when it was over, she ended up transferring to Kaskaskia Community College in Illinois, where one of the assistant coaches at Upper Iowa was taking over as head coach. Schammel got back on the court at Kaskaskia, which is an NJCAA Division I school, but she never felt like she ever got back to 100 percent last season. Schammel averaged 7.6 points per game that season as she struggled getting back to full strength.
With her mind on transferring to a four-year school, Schammel transferred to John Brown University, which is located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, this season and she said she finally feels like she’s playing at full strength again.
“I feel so much more confident playing,” she said. “Last year I was really timid and I didn’t look to drive. I feel like I’m way more confident this year. I don’t feel like I’m battling with my body anymore and I can do what I want.”
Schammel said the competition is good in the NAIA and she likes the free and open style that the team plays at John Brown University. Schammel has started all seven games and she’s averaging 9.7 points, five rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
Schammel has persevered with basketball even after having to move to three different states and schools in three years. She had moments during her rehab where she had doubts about her recovery, but she was able to keep at it.
Now Schammel is adjusting to southern accents and warmer weather, along with being 589 miles from Adams.
“It’s been kind of rough I guess. I’m planning on staying [in Arkansas] for at least two more years after this year,” Schammel said. “It’ll be nice to call this home. It’s been weird being away from my family, but they’ve been super supportive. They’ve come to my games and they watch me play on line.”
Schammel’s injury ordeal also gave her an inside view on what she wants to do as a career. She is majoring in kinesiology and sports medicine and she’s hoping to be a physical therapist after college.
“I think when I first went into Upper Iowa I had it in the back of my mind and when I had to go through it, it made me realize it was something I wanted to do,” Schammel said.