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
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
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
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
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
“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 email@example.com