Letting her guard down

How UB women’s basketball player Jessica Schiffer ‘recruited’ her coach and herself

jessica

Head women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack is used to recruiting her players. 

But freshman point guard Jessika Schiffer was different. In Legette-Jack’s words, “Jessika recruited me.”

Schiffer, who grew up in Iserlohn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, is one of the newest additions to the Bulls this year and has dedicated the last 11 years of her life to the sport. Schiffer comes to UB after playing for the German U19 national team over the summer in Thailand for the FIBA World Cup. Schiffer had an average of 25.1 minutes played, 7.1 points and 2.1 assists per game in helping Germany to a 2-5 record and a 13th place finish. Now the 19 year old hopes to help the Bulls repeat as MAC champions. 

Legette-Jack remembers the recruitment trip when she met Schiffer. She already had a recruit in mind, but Schiffer had other plans for Legette-Jack to consider. Schiffer approached Legette-Jack and told her she wanted to come play for UB, and for her specifically. 

“The mission [Legette-Jack] has, the things she wants to teach the players, it impressed me,” Schiffer said.

Legette-Jack told Schiffer to visit UB, and after an impressive tryout, offered her a spot on the team.

“She came up here [and I thought] ‘My goodness, this kid is better than what we saw on film,’” Legette-Jack said. “… She may very well be a person that was going to play for a country in the Olympics one day.” 

Before coming to UB, Schiffer also played on the German U20 team for the European Championship in the Czech Republic. In the five games she played, she averaged 20.4 minutes, 6.2 points and 1.4 assists. 

Schiffer feels her experience playing internationally will help her at UB. 

“I think I [have] collected a lot of experience playing internationally,” Schiffer said. “I will have to adapt here, but I have seen a lot of different styles of basketball, so I think [that] makes it easier.” 

Schiffer said her transition to life in the U.S. has been easier than she expected, especially since her teammates are “like family.”

“I think it’s [been] pretty good. I thought it would be harder,” Schiffer said. “It was hard, but I thought that going to college would be way more difficult than it is.”

Schiffer said playing in Alumni Arena is “way better” than Deutschhaus Gymnasium –– the gym where she played in Germany. At home, Schiffer played in front of an average of 150 people. 

She will play in front of thousands when she takes the court at Alumni. 

“I’m really excited. I played in front of a lot of people at the European Championships and [other international tournaments] and it was always really, really amazing,” Schiffer said. “I’m really looking forward to [playing at UB].” 

Sports desk can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com.