Northern Illinois Signs Dixon Consensus All-State Guard Tara Michels To National Letter of Intent


April 27, 2004

Northern Illinois Signs Dixon Consensus All-State Guard Tara Michels To National Letter of Intent

DeKALB, IL --- One old-school word immediately comes to mind when describing new Northern Illinois University women’s basketball recruit and Dixon High School consensus All-State guard Tara Michels.


“If you give her a look, she’ll put it down,” seventh-year Huskie women’s cage boss Carol Hammerle said about her latest National Letter of Intent signee Tuesday (April 27). “Tara can nail it from beyond 20 feet.”

Michel’s impressive hardwood credentials only amplify her marksmanship and shooting eye.

“She’s more than a one-dimensional player. She can put the ball on the floor and drive, too,” Hammerle said. “We feel we can run her at the one (point guard) or two (shooting guard). In our offense, Tara will get her looks with all our ball screens. She’s seen it all---double teams and box and ones, you name it. She’s strong, she keeps it (ball) high, and she has a quick release. Her shooting style is similar to Charbea Haller (NIU letter-winner in 1996-97 through 1999-2000).”

First of all, the 5-foot-8 backcourt standout made five All-State units---(1) Second-Team Champaign News-Gazette All-State, (2) Third-Team Associated Press Class AA All-State, (3) Third-Team Chicago Sun-Times All-State, (4) Fourth-Team Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class AA All-State, and (5) Honorable Mention Chicago Tribune All-State.

In addition, the DHS three-sport standout has been selected to participate for the Class AA South Squad in the 2004 IBCA All-Star Game on June 19 at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Best of all, Michels ruled the 2004 Illinois High School Association’s Queen of the Hill three-point basket competition with 10 treys in the final 60-second competition downstate last March. During the 2003-04 campaign, Michels canned an IHSA record 39 consecutive free throws, produced a school-record 84 treys, and converted 184-of-206 free throws (89.3 percent) for a 20-9 Duchess quintet that placed second in the North Central Illinois Conference.

Ironically, Michels attended Hammerle’s Northern Illinois summer basketball camp as a junior high player. “Tara won the MVP or best offensive player one year,” Hammerle said. “We started following her. She really started improving as a junior and then we really went after her this past season.”

During her four-season varsity career at Dixon, Michel accumulated 2,006 career points---including 276 three-pointers (fifth-best total in IHSA girls’ basketball history), 511 free throws (seventh-best in IHSA annals), and 102 double-figure scoring appearances for head coach Gary Morrison. In three of her four campaigns, Michels made at least one All-State list (Honorable Mention All-State as a frosh and a soph). As a senior, Michel averaged 22.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game, plus made the all-tourney squads at the DeKalb Thanksgiving, Harlem Christmas, and Dixon Holiday tournaments and served as team captain.

A two-time Dixon Telegraph Area Player of the Year, she earned All-NCIC honors four times in basketball (First-Team as a junior and a senior, Second-Team as a soph and a frosh). The accolades didn’t stop with basketball. Michels earned First-Team All-Area and Second-Team All-NCIC notice as a senior and a sophomore in volleyball, plus NCIC All-Academic recognition in both volleyball and basketball. Overall, she won 12 varsity DHS letters---basketball (4), volleyball (4), and track (4)---and started four years in basketball and volleyball.

Michels has also played three years of Amateur Athletic Union basketball for the Illinois Pacesetters and head coach John Waring. “She has great leadership qualities,” Hammerle added. “Tara is constantly talking to her teammates and giving positive reinforcement. That’s huge.”

At Northern Illinois, Michels will enroll in the Honor Program---possibly with a double major in business and criminology. In the classroom at DHS, she was a member of the National Honor Society, will graduate ninth in her class with a 4.10 cumulative grade point average, scored a 30 on the ACT, and participated in several extracurricular activities---such as senior class president, student council, school newspaper, school yearbook, prom committee, etc. Michels won the “Young Woman of Tomorrow” Award from the Sauk Valley YWCA, plus was a finalist for Illinois State Scholar and the national Wendy’s Heisman Award.