Mt. Blue’s Lexi Mittelstadt (24) puts up a shot over Messalonskee’s Gabrielle Wener, left, and Brianne Benecke in Oakland in January 2018. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

 

Lexi Mittelstadt, senior-to-be at Mt. Blue High School, will be continuing her basketball career at the University of Maine at Orono.

Mittelstadt’s AAU team, Blue Wave Basketball, announce on Twitter that she will be playing at UMaine, and Mittelstadt confirmed it in a phone call with the Sun Journal on Monday evening.

Mt. Blue guard Lexi Mittelstadt (24) dribbles teh ball around a screen against Skowhegan in Farmington in 2018. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

Mittelstadt will be joining the team as a walk-on, but she said a spot has been promised to her and she has the opportunity to earn a scholarship in the future.

Mittelstadt finished her junior season averaging 19.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game for the Cougars.

While schools such as Bowdoin College, St. Joe’s and Southern New Hampshire University were on her list, NCAA Division-I Maine was always at the top.

“Maine came about when I was there at a basketball camp last summer,” Mittelstadt said. “I went to that camp and then a couple days later on Sept. 1, basically (Maine assistant coach Courtney England) messaged me, we talked on the phone and then we went on an unofficial visit. I got to watch a whole practice, meet the players and the coaching staff. That really got me in because I connected with the coaches and players.”

NCAA rules prohibit Maine coaches from commenting on recruits before they have signed their letter of intent.

Mittelstadt first joined Blue Wave last fall, and coach Shawn Legassey knew from the start that Mittelstadt was special.

“She’s a tremendous teammate, and the work ethic is all there,” Legassey said. “I know she will do very well up there. (Maine coach Amy Vachon) is getting a really good player and really good person.”

Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue has coached Mittelstadt for all three of her varsity basketball seasons and has noticed an incredible improvement, thanks to a work ethic that both Conlogue and Legassey isn’t matched by many.

“She’s almost like a pro athlete in terms of what she does in the offseason,” Conlogue said. “Her last two offseasons have been enormous growth. When she was a freshman she was just a good outside shooter, but she’s added an inside game, loves contact. The level she’s put herself in, I’m really proud of her.”

Mittelstadt said she was surprised when the UMaine coaching staff first reached out to her.

“They messaged me the first day they were allowed to,” Mittelstadt said. “I wasn’t expecting it. They all followed me on social media the day before, and I was like, ‘Hmm, this is interesting.’”

Both Conlogue and Legassey helped consult the Mt. Blue senior on her decision.

“She constantly talks about all the schools that are interested in her and we have spent some time discussing pros and cons for most of the moves,” Conlogue said. “I coach her for two varsity sports (basketball and soccer), so I have a lot of communication with her. Her dad has a lot of knowledge with AAU and that stuff, and she’s put herself in a good position to be seen in that environment and by those coaches.”

Legassey knew Maine was Mittelstadt’s goal but didn’t know for sure until he received a phone call on Monday.

“She called me today and said, ‘I talked to Amy and I’m going to go there,’” Legassey said. “I told her I think it’s such a great opportunity for her, just knowing her work ethic, she works her butt of all the time. I’ve known her over the years. I told her this: ‘I wish I had the opportunity to coach you over the last few years because it’s been such a pleasure.’”

The Cougars will be receiving a stress-free Mittelstadt this winter for her senior year now that her college plans are set.

“I’m excited going into this year because I have that all squared away,” Mittelstadt said. “Going into it, it’s going to be a stress-free season and I’m hoping to make playoffs, for sure, and have fun.”

Mt. Blue graduated six seniors, but Conlogue said he expects others to step up to help free space up for Mittelstadt and reach the playoffs for the first time in her career.

“Lexi is one of those type of players and she helps us stay in games,” Cologue said. “Even though we lost games, we were competitive. We are excited to return what we think is the best player in the league.

“She’s a player of a lifetime for a coach, I would say.”