'DJ' signs with Iowa Wesleyan

Tom Batters
Richwoods senior Danielle DesJardins signs a letter of intent to play basketball at Iowa Wesleyan College, as her father, Paul looks on.

Danielle DesJardins, the point guard and captain of the state-champion Richwoods Lady Knights basketball team, signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball for Iowa Wesleyan College.

At a signing ceremony Thursday, Iowa Wesleyan coach Steve Williamson called DesJardins “the heart and soul” of the Lady Knights.

Williamson said he has scouted DesJardins for a couple years.

“The first time I saw her play, I knew right away that she would be a great fit for our program,” he said. “She’s a tough-minded player who doesn’t get a lot of the glory, but she does a lot of great things on the court.”

DesJardins, known as “DJ” to her coaches and teammates, said she hopes to make a significant contribution as a freshman next year.

“If I work hard, I think I can help the team right away,” she said.

Iowa Wesleyan, an NAIA school in Mt. Pleasant (about 125 miles west of Peoria), missed out on its third straight Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament title, losing 63-60 to top-seeded St. Ambrose University in the conference tournament final last year. The Lady Tigers finished with a 20-9 overall record, the program’s third straight 20-win season.

The Tigers will lose five seniors from that team.

“Like all freshman, Danielle will have to make the adjustment to the college game and to our system,” Williamson said. “But, we believe she is capable of doing that. I can see her coming in right away and helping us win.”

DesJardins, an all-conference athlete in track, said she would like to run track next year, also. She plans to major in education.

“I’d really like to become a coach someday,” she said.