Ever since he was a little kid Manitowoc Lincoln senior basketball standout Austin Mecca had dreamt of play collegiately. He fulfilled that dream by signing a national letter of intent to play for Division II’s Upper Iowa University on Thursday afternoon.
“I am happy that I finally got here,” Mecca said moments after completing the signing. “My goals are to leave my footprint on their campus like I did (at Lincoln).”
Up until last week Mecca wasn’t sure where he would be continuing his basketball career. Having been looked at by UW-Oshkosh and other South Dakota schools, Upper Iowa began recruiting Mecca last summer, first contacting him after the Neenah Tournament and also attending some of his summer league games as well as the Sun Prairie Tournament.
Mecca visited Upper Iowa, located in Fayette, last week Thursday and Friday with the intention of making his decision days after thinking it over. But after meeting with the coaching staff, playing a 45-minute scrimmage with the team and meeting with professors, he knew the member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference was the right fit.
“Their schooling, you have more contact with your teachers,” Mecca said, noting that education was also a major factor in his choice in addition to the constant interest Upper Iowa showed in him. “It’s only 13 or 14 kids in the class and you can get as much help as you need and you don’t have to wait. Just a lot more comfortable there.”
Mecca hopes to play basketball overseas after graduating college but is looking into business-related majors that would allow him to work in the medical field and in a hospital.
Lincoln coach Brian Gallagher said that, after four years of starting for the Ships and playing in the Fox River Classic Conference, Mecca will continue to play basketball at a really high level.
“First of all, I am very happy for him and his family. .. It sounds like a really nice place to be,” Gallagher said. “What he was able to accomplish in Manitowoc a lot of guys don’t touch. Four year starter, all-conference performer for four years, really somebody you had to account for every time he was on the court. … I am really proud of the accomplishment for him and being able to continue to play.”