Usually it is college basketball coaches who make the first contact with high school prospects.
But Jen Dumiak, a graduate of La Costa Canyon, made the first contact with the coaching staff at Division I American University in the nation’s capital.
“I reached out to AU. I sent them a highlight film and they contacted me to send more highlights,” said Dumiak, now a sophomore guard for the Eagles. “After that they watched me at an AAU tournament and then they offered me a scholarship.”
Dumiak, the daughter of Keli and Peter Dumiak of Carlsbad, made official visits to the University of Portland in Oregon and the University of the Pacific before deciding to attend AU.
She committed to the Eagles prior to her senior year at La Costa, where she was a four-year varsity player who averaged 22.1 points per game as a senior and was an All-State Division I player.
“I like the team and the coaches. I just like the city. I like what American had to offer,” said Dumiak, who is majoring in mathematics and economics, which is one major at AU. “I like the history here and the whole atmosphere. We went down to the White House last year at Christmas and that was a lot of fun.”
American head coach Matt Corkery said his staff does not normally recruit in California. But that may change now that Dumiak is on the team.
“We were able to get some video. We were impressed with that obviously and then we saw her grades. She is a great student,” he said.
Last year as a freshman at American she averaged 7.1 points per game and was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team as she played in all 31 games, with three starts. The Patriot League is among the top academic leagues at the Division I level in the country.
Dumiak started the first two games this season and averaged 20.5 points per outing, by far the best mark on the team. She averaged 32 minutes and five rebounds per contest and was named Patriot League player of the week and AU student-athlete of the week on Nov. 19.
Dumiak had 20 points at Oakland in Michigan on Nov. 12 as the Eagles lost and fell to 0-2 overall and she then had seven of her nine points in the second half on Nov. 21 as American lost, 94-54, at Maryland, ranked No. 10 in the country at the time.
"Jen played a better second half. She found her stride in the second half a little bit," Corkery said after the game at Maryland. "It is just a tough matchup for her" against a bigger Maryland team.
Dumiak knew much would be expected from her going into this season.
“I think my expectations have expanded. We graduated players who put up a lot of points. This year I have to contribute more offensively and defensively,” she said.
“Her focus and her work ethic is very good,” Corkery said. “She is someone that is very self motivated. She is a very high achiever in everything she does. She knows how to work hard. She is a tremendous competitor and she hates to lose.”
“In conference play at the end of last season she was consistently scoring in double figures. She takes good shots and hits a high percentage,” he added.
Dumiak, who ran cross country three years in high school, said it is a challenge to combine academics and athletics at the Division I level. “It is not easy. Most of my day is spent going to practice, going to class, studying and hanging out with roommates,” she said. “It is not that much of free time. We do the same thing over and over each day. You look forward to the days off.”
Sports is a big part of the Dumiak family. Her mother was a swimmer at Michigan State and her grandfather, Tom Emerson, played football at Oklahoma. She lived in Orange County with her family while in elementary school and then attended middle school in New Jersey before the family moved to Carlsbad prior to her freshman year at La Costa Canyon.
Her older sister, Danielle, played basketball at La Costa and their sister, Rachel, is a sophomore playing hoops at the school this season.