Lilly Meister finally got to the point where she asked herself, “What am I waiting for?”
So on Sunday, she made the waiting stop. The Rochester John Marshall star girls basketball player got on the phone, dialed up Indiana University head coach Teri Moren, and told her that she wanted to be a Hoosier.
And did that verbal commitment ever feel right.
“I really like Indiana, and they were the one that had stuck with me the longest (in recruiting),” said the 6-feet-2
Meister, who’d also been offered by Minnesota but removed it from her list recently when a couple of players with similar skills committed there, had a group of four schools that she was considering: Kansas State, Illinois and Wisconsin the others.
Of that foursome, all but Kansas State are members of the Big Ten Conference, the Power 5 league that Meister is most familiar with and one dotted with such teams as Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin that are relatively close to home. Bloomington, Ind., is about an 8 1/2-hour drive from Rochester.
In picking the Hoosiers, Meister is going to an up-and-coming power. Indiana is favored to win the Big Ten this year and has had five straight 20-win seasons.
It also plays a style that befits Meister, with lanky players such as her allowed to drift away from the basket and shoot 3-pointers, as well as sink closer to the hoop.
Meister did plenty of both last season at JM, already her third as a starter. Meister averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the field. That included a lofty 39 percent from 3-point distance and 84 percent from the free-throw line.
The junior said she believes that Indiana will get the most out of her.
“They play a lot of players at more than just one position,” Meister said. “They’ve got ones who do some of everything. They also told me when they were recruiting me that they want players who want to be in the gym even after practice and who work hard. I like that. I consider myself a gym rat.”
Meister comes from a family of basketball standouts. Older brother Lincoln is a 6-8 center who’s beginning his freshman season at Minnesota Duluth. Eighth-grade sister Laynie is also a budding basketball player.
The genetics are certainly there for all three of them. Their mother, 6-2 Angie (Swenson) Meister, was an All-State player at John Marshall who went on to star at South Dakota State. Their father, 6-8 Kurt Meister, grew up in Illinois before becoming an All-American at South Dakota State, where he met Angie.
It was fairly early in Lilly’s basketball career that Angie came to believe that she could be special in basketball.. One move particularly stood out, Lilly getting it done in a varsity game as an eighth-grader.
“The way she attacked the basket there, it brought me out of my seat,” Angie said. “She didn’t make the shot, but I will always remember how strong that move was, doing it through a group of seniors. Lilly showed me then that she also had that physical side to her. When I saw it, for the first time I thought, ‘Ok, this girl really might be good.’ That was the turning point for me.”
Now, Angie and Kurt are left to consider what she might accomplish in college. Whatever success awaits her, Angie is sure that Indiana is the right choice.
“Indiana checked all the boxes for her,” Angie said. “Lilly loves that it is in the Big Ten and that it is a competitive team in the Big Ten. The fact that it is in a college town is also so neat. They’re not competing with pro sports and they’re not competing with hockey. They really support their basketball teams in general, the men and the women. I love that.”