Pickerington Times-Sun

Women's Basketball

Harmon making most of chance overseas


As a three-time all-state girls basketball player at Pickerington High School Central who went on to play for Ohio State, Emilee Harmon didn't picture herself working an office job right out of college.

Yet Harmon found herself doing exactly that last year, serving as a medical record technician at Mount Carmel East Hospital. It wasn't as much that she disliked her job as she felt out of place.

"I remember one day I was just sitting at my desk and I just started crying," the 2009 Central graduate said. "My other teammates from Ohio State were getting ready to continue their playing careers on to the professional level and here I was working in an office just wishing someone would give me the chance."

So Harmon forced the issue. From a nearby hallway, she called the agent of one of her former teammates, and within a month she was off to begin what would become a championship season in Ireland and an overseas odyssey that has yet to end.

Harmon helped Team Montenotte of the Glanmire Ladies Club in Cork, Ireland, to the Women's Premier League championship this past season, and she currently is wrapping up her first season with the Albury-Wodonga Bandits of the South East Australia Basketball League.

Entering a Saturday, Aug. 9, game against Nunawading, Harmon led the SEABL in rebounds per game (11.5), points (419), rebounds (241) and offensive rebounds (90), and was second in points per game (20.0).

The downside is that the Bandits are 1-21 overall, losers of 19 consecutive games with two games remaining.

"I have continued to grow as a player and statistic-wise things are great, but winning as a team is more important to me," Harmon said from Australia. "I hate losing, but I also know how to pull everything you can from the experience of losing and turn it into fuel."

Bandits coach James Ballinger knew what his team was getting when it signed Harmon while she still was playing in Ireland. Harmon missed the beginning of Albury-Wodonga's season.

"Emilee is as comfortable at the 3-point arc as she is inside and she doesn't make many mistakes," Ballinger told the (Albury-Wodonga) Border Mail this spring.

"She's a great rebounder (and) a very good talker."

Harmon averaged 15.8 points and 15.3 rebounds for Team Montenotte, including a 16-point performance in an 81-71 upset of the three-time defending champion Limerick Huskies on March 23.

"I was the person that signed Emilee so the buck stops with me, but when other people were doubting her ability, I genuinely knew we had acquired a very talented player," coach Paul Kelleher told the Irish Examiner in January.

As a senior at Central, Harmon averaged 19.2 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals and shared Division I state Player of the Year honors with Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame's Kendall Hackney. Harmon finished her prep career with 1,236 points and 877 rebounds, shooting almost 60 percent from the floor. She was first-team all-state as a sophomore, junior and senior.

Harmon chose Ohio State over Duke, Notre Dame, Purdue and Stanford.

She was a four-year letterwinner with the Buckeyes, but usually came off the bench. Her best statistical season came in her junior year of 2011-12, when she averaged 2.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 20 games.

Harmon earned a bachelor's degree in criminology, but is unsure of her next career move, citing difficulties in obtaining a visa and weighing a handful of options.

"I'd love to go back to Ireland and win another national cup ... (and) I may also come back here to Australia," Harmon said.

"I'm for sure not done yet. This journey is mine, but I'm not doing it for me. I'm doing it for every little kid with a ball and a dream -- for the ones who have been told no, who have had all the doors slammed shut. I'm doing it for the underdog who has something to prove. After all, I'm just some small-town kid from Pickerington, Ohio, who refused no as an answer."