Taylor Hall's Late Night Basketball Call

Attends WNBA Tryout This Week

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

It was the midnight call that could change her life.

It was the Seattle Storm of the WNBA calling to invite soon-to-graduate UTC senior basketball player Taylor Hall to the Emerald City for a tryout and a possible spot with the pro team.

“I have never been one to show a lot of emotion, so I was pretty calm when the call did come in, “said Hall. “But my roommate (and teammate) Faith DuPree reacted just the opposite and was all emotional, excited and happy for me.”

UTC women’s coach Jim Foster had given Hall a heads up through a text a few minutes earlier that Seattle might be calling.

The Seattle Storm tryout camp begins April 27 at Royal Brougham Pavilion on the campus of Seattle Pacific Univ.  The team’s first pre-season game is May 11 and the season opens May 16.

 “I am pretty nervous about getting the opportunity for a pro tryout, but my nervousness is overshadowed by all that I have to do before flying to Seattle,” Hall said Wednesday afternoon.

To say her plate is full is an understatement as she has a couple of finals to complete, return school books, move out of her apartment, and drive home (Wednesday night), say good bye to family and friends and fly to Seattle Thursday.

Prior to her senior season, Hall had planned to attend med school after UTC, but coach Foster encouraged her to look at all her options, including pro basketball.

And for a young lady whose first 12 years on earth were spent in the basketball-crazed state of Kentucky, how appropriate that in her final college game (NCAA playoffs) played in Memorial Gym on the UK campus - on the same floor where Adolph Rupp once paced the sidelines and Rupp’s Runts, Louie Dampier, Pat Riley, Larry Conley and Tommy Kron excited the Blue Nation Faithful – she closed her career with a double-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds plus six assists.

“A pro basketball salary can really help pay the bills for medical school,” said Foster.

How ironic that life this week is a whirlwind for the 2014 Southern Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year as she heads west to try and earn a spot on the Storm roster.

“Confidence has never been my strong suit, but people are telling me to be confident, don’t be timid and give it my all,” Hall stated whose versatility of having played four positions this past season is a plus heading to tryouts.

But by looking at her college career, one would never know she lacked confidence.

As a senior, Hall averaged 15.0 points per game (9.8 for a career), 8.6 rebounds (6.7, career) and 4.5 assists (2.1, career), led UTC to the WNIT as a sophomore and and two trips to the NCAA tournament.

She also was a key player in the Mocs’ current 39-game home win streak which is the longest in the nation among NCAA D-I schools.

“I am in the process of finding an agent who can help me with a possible WNBA career or play overseas,” said Hall who graduates with a 3.6 GPA, had a 4.0 in high school and was Miss Basketball for Tennessee in Class AAA in 2010.

Hall is the third UTC women’s basketball player to be invited to a WNBA try-out. The San Antonio Silver Stars drafted Alex Anderson (2008) in the third round and Laura Hall attended a try-out camp in 2008 for the Connecticut Sun. Anderson is currently playing professionally for the Finland Catz.

“Depending on what happens in Seattle, I can take the MCAT in the summer and I have five years to enroll in med school.”

Hopefully in five years, Hall will be a pro basketball veteran with enough money to pay for med school and a basket full of memories which all started with a midnight phone call.

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


Lookout Valley, Baylor, Sale Creek, Ooltewah Post Volleyball Wins

The Lookout Valley volleyball team celebrated senior night on Tuesday with a 25-15, 15-25, 25-22, 25-16 over  Marion County.  Lookout Valley improves to 11-17 overall and 5-0 in District 6-A. Lookout Valley plays Sale Creek on Thursday for the top seed in the district.   Lookout Valley stats:  Senior Tennille Rogers  (season high) 10 kills, (season ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: CCS Wins 2-1 At Signal Mountain

City To Begin Shipping Much Of Its Garbage To Bradley County

City Public Works Administrator Justin Holland said the city plans to begin shipping much of its garbage to Bradley County. He said the deal is projected to extend the life of the city landfill at Birchwood by 15 years. Mr. Holland said Bradley County "has a huge landfill and takes garbage from Knoxville and other municipalities. It's regional." He said Bradley County charges ... (click for more)

Man Says He Did Nothing To Provoke Shooting At Bakewell Gas Station; Suspect Says Victim Was Coming Toward Him

A 33-year-old man who was shot in the face during a clash at a Bakewell gas station said he did nothing to provoke the shooting. The man charged said the victim cursed him, then started toward him. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, after a hearing on Tuesday, bound to the Grand Jury a charge of attempted first-degree murder against Donald Stuard II, 29, of Old Washington ... (click for more)

Something Beautiful Happened Monday Night - Not The Debate

Monday, Sept. 26, our first presidential debate happened; no minds were changed.  Yet something beautiful and important happened.  The Atlanta Falcons, my team, played the New Orleans Saints.  Instead of some irrelevant, broad based, screw America protest, the opposing teams locked arms in unity. I was impressed. I have been a Falcon Fan since 1971 when WMOC AM ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Arnold Palmer’s Greatness

This is hardly meant to be flippant but I’d be willing to bet I’ve been in the presence of more great people than anyone you know. I’ve never ranked them, or ever dared to wonder who was the greatest, such as Muhammad Ali or Elvis Presley, but there are two traits that those who reach the highest pinnacle have in common. First, not a one of them was any good at what made them famous ... (click for more)