BYU's Jennifer Hamson brings skill to both basketball and volleyball
Provo • The echoes of the BYU women's volleyball match at St. Mary's had barely died away and Jennifer Hamson had Duke on her mind.
Hamson had to find the quickest way back to Provo to play a basketball game against the Blue Devils the next night.
After a close loss to Duke, Cougar point guard Haley Steed, with all of the sincerity and respect she could muster, had one request for the BYU women's volleyball season.
"We hope it ends as soon as possible," Steed said to laughs.
While it is impossible for Hamson not to be stretched as a two-sport athlete, at 6-foot-7, the sophomore can be a dominant figure in each.
"She can be the best player in both sports," BYU basketball coach Jeff Judkins said about Hamson, an American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I Honorable Mention All-American for a BYU's women's volleyball team, which went 21-9 during its first season in the West Coast Conference.
"Often, an athlete is good at one and is a role player in another. The players expect a lot from her," Judkins continued.
Hamson enjoyed a breakout volleyball season, leading the WCC in kills, while ranked 22nd in the NCAA's top 25 for points per set.
"Her level of play and her confidence have risen a ton," BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. "With the support of the team, we look forward to better things to come next season."
Despite missing a portion of basketball practice, Hamson averages 7 points and already has 24 blocks in 10 games. She's getting into the swing of basketball in time for conference play.
"It's difficult, but it's what I love doing best," Hamson said. "I love it. I experience two teams, the culture differences. But mainly I get to play a lot of ball."
"She has a better game," said Hamson's mother, Tresa Spaulding Hamson, a four-time All-American at BYU. "She's quicker than I was. Faster."
Tresa Hamson, who played for the U.S. National Team, holds Cougar records for total blocks (424) and field-goal percentage (.609) and is still second in all-time points scored (2,304), scoring average (23.4), career rebounds (980) and rebounds per game (9.8).
"Jennifer didn't begin to play basketball until the eighth grade, so she didn't go to a lot of camps and her fundamentals suffered," Tresa said. "She's making up for lost time. She's going to get a lot better."
Certainly the physical tools are in place for the Academic All-State player for Pleasant Grove High.
"Volleyball has always been a little easier for me," Hamson said. "The coaches have been really supportive. I love it."