BYU senior multi-sport star Jennifer Hamson has some options as she considers her future.
Basketball? Volleyball? Both?
Hamson has said she plans to return to BYU to play one more year of volleyball but her basketball future might be impacted by Monday's WNBA draft.
Two of ESPN’s women's basketball analysts — Carolyn Peck and LaChina Robinson — talked on a conference call Thursday about Hamson and her hoops potential.
“I saw Jennifer Hamson play firsthand,” Peck said. “She is 6-foot-7 and you can't stretch players and make them taller. She comes in with it at 6-7, and it's not just height. You have a 6-7 player who has the agility of a volleyball player, leaping ability, tremendous timing, shot blocking.”
Peck pointed to the fits Hamson gave the eventual national champions from Connecticut in the Sweet 16 matchup as an example of her abilities, saying the Cougar senior gave the Huskies fits and forced them to score from the perimeter.
Peck went on to say that the only area she thinks Hamson can improve on is with some extra work in the weight room.
“She proved against Connecticut she could hold her own,” Peck said. “She has tremendous timing. I think she had five or six blocks in that game and stayed out of foul trouble. I think that is a luxury in the WNBA. Because of the agility, the three second defensive rule, you can't stay in the paint. You have to move. I think she can do that. She has a great reach. If there were one aspect of her game for the WNBA, it would be just to increase her strength.”
But the question for both Peck and Robinson is how Hamson’s passion for volleyball — she was an All-American in 2012 — will affect her passion for basketball.
“She has said to us that she told her BYU coach she's coming back,” Peck said. “I don't know what these conversations have been since then. I also know that this young woman has an aspiration of playing volleyball in the Olympics. I don't know if her mindset of priorities has changed or would taking a summer to play basketball, how would that affect that.”
Robinson also explained that Hamson’s volleyball skills should be seen as an advantage as they enhance what she can do on a basketball court.
“As far as being a two sport athlete, I think what you see with a lot of post players, it helps in with that mobility,” Robinson said. “Some of the best post players, male or female that we've seen over time, have also been soccer players because footwork is big when you're playing down low. Think about how your reaction time has to improve in volleyball, how quickly the ball is coming at you.”
Robinson said that now the concern is whether the basketball skills that have shone so brightly this year will be dimmed by her return to volleyball.
“Now how much basketball will she be able to do during this year playing volleyball, which we understand she's going to do, will be the big question,” Robinson said. “How will she be able to stay into that timing that she picked up on this year having left volleyball which seems to have helped her on the basketball side. “
Peck said that her understanding is that, if she so chose, Hamson could play in the WNBA this season during the summer and then return for the volleyball season at BYU.
The bottom line is that both analysts appear confident that Hamson could have a future playing professional basketball in the WNBA but they also noted that any team who selects the Cougar star might have to wait to see how she decides to use her considerable skills.
The WNBA draft will take place on April 14 starting at 6:00 p.m. MDT. It can be seen on ESPN2.
Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.