Ypsilanti – Damiya Hagemann had offers from national powers Ohio State, Michigan and DePaul before she ever started high school at Detroit Edison.
Hagemann doesn’t feel pressure of being one of the top freshmen in the country as a standout guard for Edison, the defending Class C state champion and No. 1 team in The Detroit News preseason rankings regardless of class.
Instead, Hagemann is just a happy-go-lucky 14-year-old with an unmatched love for the game.
The 5-foot-7 Hagemann has the ability to cause havoc defensively with her quick feet and hands, getting in the face of ball-handlers to create turnovers in Edison’s trapping and pressure defense.
Hagemann is definitely a pass-first and even a pass-second guard, knowing she has multiple weapons to work with in 6-3 junior Rickea Jackson and sophomore guard Gabrielle Elliott, along with a strong supporting cast.
But Hagemann can also score, using her trademark spin move to get to the basket, along with the ability to knock down the 3-pointer.
Hagemann has reached an elite level by playing the last five years for the Michigan Crossover in AAU ball, always playing up in age to get the best competition possible.
“I played five years for the Michigan Crossover and we played the best players in the country,” Hagemann said. “We go hard in practice. It’s just skill, skill, skill. I’ve played up last year with 15- and 16-year-olds. It’s all about going out and playing hard every game and every practice.”
Hagemann is now competing against players two or three years older and holding her own at the high school level.
“I’ve learned that you just have to slow it down and make better decisions,” said Hagemann of playing high school basketball. “I feel my strengths are finding my open teammates and driving. I play unselfish, try to look for my teammates. I feel I’m at my best when I break down my defender and get to the rack. I’ve been working on my shot a lot.”
Edison had six straight one-sided wins before losing at Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 54-49 Thursday night. Arbor Prep won the Class C state championship in 2016, then lost to Detroit Country Day in last year’s Class B state title game. Edison could face Arbor Prep in the Class C state title game in March at the Breslin Center.
Edison came back from a 12-point deficit to pull even at 38 with the use of its pressure defense, but Arbor Prep answered with a 7-0 run and went on to earn the victory.
While Jackson had a sub-par night, being held scoreless during the first half while guarded by Bradley-bound guard Lasha Petree and finishing with eight, Hagemann had 11 points, six assists and six steals, but missed numerous layups after aggressively attacking the basket and not getting calls.
“You have to blame it on ourselves – we could have come out harder – you can’t blame it on the refs,” Hagemann said.
Hagemann loves playing defense, knowing Edison can make the turnovers transition baskets.
“We have big, long players so it’s easy to trap and get the ball all tangled up and then outlet to score,” Hagemann said.
Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine was impressed with Hagemann: “She’s legit, can handle the ball, causes problems defensively, just is a very good player. Really, they (Edison) have the top junior (Jackson) in the state, the top sophomore (Elliott) in the state and the top freshman (Hagemann) in the state.”
Edison coach Monique Brown says Hagemann is well grounded.
“She has a very strong family background that’s not going to let her think that she’s bigger than what she is,” Brown said. “She has a lot of maturity. She’s still trying to figure out her role, being a combo guard, and we’ve got some scorers around her. She’s trying to figure out when can she go and at times she’s passing up opportunities.
“No doubt, her strength is getting to the basket and her vision, because she can really set up her teammates. She has good anticipation skills defensively, knows how to read the next pass and anticipate, like a cornerback in football. And she’s a really good on-ball defender as well.”
Area fans can watch Hagemann and Edison in action in Saturday’s Horatio Williams Invitational at Warren Fitzgerald, when Edison faces Wayne Memorial and Clemson-bound Camree Clegg at 1:30 p.m.