What do you do after you are named the West Coast Conference Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year as a junior? You redshirt your senior year so that you can focus on playing Basketball. At least that’s what you do if you are Jennifer Hamson and are equally good at both sports.
Jennifer Hamson’s life as an athlete began at five when her mother signed her up for gymnastics. But gymnastics is not a sport typically known for tall people, and Jennifer Hamson is a tall person. So in the eighth grade Hamson switched to playing volleyball.
It wasn’t until the ninth grade that Jennifer really tried basketball – a sport that she excelled at almost immediately, and the one that everyone expected her to play in the first place. Jennifer’s mother, Tresa Spaulding Hamson, was a four-time All-American basketball player at Brigham Young in the mid-80’s, and still holds the school records for field goal percentage (64.7 season, 60.9 career) and blocked shots (144 season, 494 career).
Liking and excelling in both sports, Jennifer’s successful high school career at Pleasant Grove yielded three letters in volleyball, three letters in basketball, a pair of MVPs and a 4.0 grade point average. But if playing the two sports in high school is difficult, doing so successfully at the collegiate level is nearly impossible. Both basketball and volleyball end their seasons about the time that the other starts post-season play. Then there are the scholarship issues, as well as restrictions on the amount of hours she is allowed to practice.
Difficulties aside, Hamson managed to play both sports for the Cougars simultaneously. Imagine playing a basketball game in Arizona in the morning, then flying home to play volleyball in Provo later that night. How does she do it? According to her mom, "She has a drive to be successful and she can do whatever she puts her mind to do."
This year Hamson decided to redshirt the volleyball season and concentrate her efforts on basketball – and so far, the decision seems to have been a good one. The 6-7 senior from Lindon, Utah, currently leads the cougars in field goals (65.5%), rebounds (102) and points per game (18). She also has an amazing 42 blocks, raking her at No. 3 nationally.
The season is not yet half over, but the Cougars are looking good so far – and where Jennifer Hamson goes, success seems to follow.
Come watch Jennifer Hamson and the rest of the Cougars (9-1) as they host Utah State (5-3) this afternoon (12/21) in the Marriott Center at 2pm.
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