ATWATER — Jessica Silva said it was the Indiana Tech sales pitch that won her over.
Despite the fact the Buhach Colony basketball star was one of the most prolific high school shooters the area has seen in recent memory, Warriors head coach Jessie Biggs came talking about defense.
"The coach did a great job explaining about her philosophy for the team and the role she sees for me within it," Silva said. "Her main focus is improving the team's defense, and I love defense.
"She wants more ball pressure as it's coming up the court. She's seen my highlight video, and it's something she thinks I could really help the team with.
"The fact that I'm a shooter was really barely talked about."
Silva signed with Indiana Tech at the end of May, receiving a full-tuition scholarship.
Silva led Buhach Colony with 15.8 points per game in her senior year. Her 66 3-pointers ranked sixth in the Sac-Joaquin Section and she helped Buhach Colony win its first outright Central California Conference title.
Silva was named the CCC MVP and the Sun-Star Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
She hopes her skill set will lead to immediate success in the NAIA.
"The coach said I can come in and fight for a starting position right away," Silva said. "She basically wants me to come in and assume a leadership role, because the team's defense hasn't been what she wants.
"It's something I'm comfortable with. I was a leader all throughout high school and it's a challenge that I'm looking forward to."
Thunder coach Shane Gentry thinks Silva is up to the task.
"Since the season ended, I can't get rid of her," Gentry said. "She helped coach our youth teams. She shows up to every workout we have. She's the most dedicated player I've ever had, and I see her being able to contribute to (Indiana Tech) right away because of that.
"Her work ethic has allowed her to become the player she is, and she deserves every opportunity she's getting."
Silva said the toughest part of the decision was having never visited the campus.
Still, she did her due diligence, researching as much as she could on the school and the area.
"I looked at a ton of pictures of the campus and really researched the town and surrounding area," Silva said. "It's in Ft. Wayne, so it's not too big, but it's not too small either.
"I know I'm going to have to get used to snow, but more than anything else, I'm excited that Indiana is a basketball state."