Bound for big-time college hoops

John Browne
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O’Donel high school star Hannah Jardine headed to NCAA’s seventh-ranked University of Delaware Blue Hens

O’Donel high school basketball star Hannah Jardine is off to the University of Delaware on a full NCAA athletic scholarship next year.—Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Hannah Jardine says she thought about playing NCAA division one college basketball when she was in Grade 9 at O’Donel High School in Mount Pearl.

The dream started to take on substance when she began playing for Canada’s age-group teams, and started drawing attention from schools all over North America.

Sometime within the next couple of weeks, Jardine, now 17, expects to sign the papers that will make her a full-scholarship member of the University of Delaware Blue Hens, the seventh-ranked women’s team in United States college basketball.

Jardine recently gave the University of Delaware her verbal agreement, and all that remains is signing on the dotted line for her dream to come true.

“It was really a hard decision,” said Jardine during an interview at the Provincial Sports Centre Tuesday night in her native St. John’s.

“I really had no idea in Grade 9 that it was even possible for me to play in the NCAA one day. It just popped into my head.”

Jardine visited the University of Delaware in October, and was very impressed with the facilities and the coaching staff.

New, state-of-the-art facility

“They just built a $22 million, a state-of-the art facility,” she noted.

The gregarious teenager will take a four-year engineering program and she said the university offers “really good assistance,” which impressed her.

She explained head coach Tina Martin, who started her 17th season at the helm of the Blue Hens squad this season, got an opportunity to see her play at AAU club team tournaments in Chicago and Pennsylvania in July.

“She saw me play about 10 games and I formed a really good relationship with them (University of Delaware). I felt they really had a good understanding of me as a player and what I liked to do on the floor.”

Jardine also said the university team is graduating six seniors this season.

“They told me nothing is guaranteed, but the opportunity is there for me if I put in the work,” Jardine said.

She said those July tournaments, and being involved with the national age-group team the past few years, helped her out in terms of being noticed.

In August, she helped Canada win a bronze medal at the FIBA female under-17 world championship in Amsterdam. She contributed six points and two rebounds in 13 minutes of second-half floor time in Canada’s 84-77 win over Japan, marking the first time this country has won a medal in a women’s world age-group tournament.

In 85 minutes of floor time in eight games at the U17 tourney, Jardine scored 26 points and pulled down 21 rebounds.

The six-foot-one guard had also been a part of Canada’s bronze-medal winning team at the U16 FIBA Americas tournament in Mexico in 2011.

Jardine, who had also visited Virginia’s James Madison University, said that university didn’t have exactly what she wanted in terms of the engineering program.

She said if she had decided to attend university in Canada, she would have chosen Memorial.

“I had heard from a lot of schools (in Canada), and MUN was definitely an option right up until I made my final decision,” she said.

“Obviously, I would have loved to have played at home. Doug (Partridge) is a great coach and MUN has a very good program, but it’s been my dream to play at the division one (NCAA) level and that was the deciding factor.”

She said there will be a four-week summer session at Delaware where she will work on getting two credits under her belt while working out with the team’s strength and conditioning coach, and playing some pick-up games with her new teammates.

Jardine said she realizes there will be a lot of time involved between school work and basketball next year, but she says she’s always been pretty good at time management and doesn’t think it will be a problem balancing everything.

“It’s what I want do, so I know I will put in the time and effort.”

Jardine, whose love for this province has no bounds, says living away it will be an adjustment.

She’ll miss home

She admits she’ll really miss home and is somewhat nervous.

Still, she figures she’ll be so busy with her courses and basketball that she won’t get to do much else or have time to get homesick.

   “There goes my social life,” she said with a laugh.

She said she will miss her ­family — dad Mike, mom Carina and younger sister Caroline — along with her friends, and that will be the toughest part.

She intends to stay in close contact with her family, however.

“Skype will be my new friend,” she added with a smile.

However, she said her parents are expected to take in several of her games next year and she’s looking forward that.

In the meantime, Jardine said she will be working out at the Provincial Sports Centre with head strength and conditioning specialist Jerome Brennan and doing her best for her high school Patriots team this season.

“I’m glad the decision has been made as far as my future is concerned,” said Jardine. “But I’m just going to approach my final high school year like any other — go to practice, play in tournaments and hopefully win.”

She said her long term goal is to play for Canada in the Olympics, and she already knows dreams really do come true sometimes.

Organizations: United States college, University of Delaware, NCAA Provincial Sports Centre O’Donel High School FIBA U16 FIBA Americas James Madison University

Geographic location: Canada, North America, Chicago Pennsylvania Amsterdam Japan Mexico Virginia

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Recent comments

  • Doug
    November 05, 2012 - 14:58

    Let's hope Hannah has a much more productive career than Taylor did.

  • Paul
    November 01, 2012 - 18:19

    The only previous Newfoundlander to play women's NCAA basketball was Jennifer Taylor, 6'3" daughter of former MUN men's basketball coach Glenn Taylor, who for Marist College about 10 years ago.

  • Dan
    November 01, 2012 - 12:17

    Congrats Hannah, do your best and achieve all you aspire to!

  • Jim
    November 01, 2012 - 12:09

    For someone from this province, with our small population and small basketball community, to be able to sign on and get a full scholarship with an NCAA Division I team is nothing less than a tremendous accomplishment. Hannah will be only the fourth Newfoundlander ever (and first female, as far as I know) to play at the highest level of American university basketball (behind Tim and Steve Beckett and Carl English). She will be exposed to coaching and competition and experiences that simply cannot be matched anywhere in Canada or in most of the world, for that matter. Congratulations, Hannah. You may or may not know it, but there are a lot of people here who are so proud of you!

  • Rose
    October 31, 2012 - 19:22

    So nice to see her getting a chance at this level. Have seen her play at high school level. Great player!

  • Susan
    October 31, 2012 - 18:08

    Jack, this is a once in a life time opportunity, a full scholarship to get a great education and to play American University Basketball. How could a top athlete refuse to play where the sport is being played at it's highest level. If that was your dream, wouldn't you want to follow it? Congratulations Hanah! Go down there with no regrets , it's your dream. Show them what you got. We are very proud of you!

  • beddy
    October 31, 2012 - 15:33

    Jack I fully understand the difference between NCAA and AHL and all that they entail. I was making the point that choosing a team in the CIS like MUN over Delaware of the NCAA would be comparable to a NFLD hockey player saying "I think I'll play with the Cee Bee's instead of the Syracuse Crunch" (just to use Adam Pardy as an example of someone who could say that)...sorry I confused you earlier!

  • Andrew
    October 31, 2012 - 10:11

    Jack, clearly you've never competed at a high level ..... Nor do you understand what it is like to work your butt off to do so . Hannah, all the best and congratulations on achieving your goal!!

  • beddy
    October 31, 2012 - 09:49

    *Delaware is ranked 11th. And yes Jack, NCAA offers much, much more competitive ball. It's like saying why doesn't Adam Pardy play with the Caribous instead of with his AHL club...just doesn't make sense.

    • Jack
      October 31, 2012 - 11:42

      Beddy, there's a big difference between NCAA and AHL. AHL consists of NHL owned farm teams, and its a professional Minor Hockey League. In other words, while the salary is not as big as NHL or KHL, their players still get paid. NCAA is a university/college based athletic organization. While their athletes get scholarships, money for course materials, and free lodging, they don't get paid for playing each game. In fact, NCAA regulations prohibit athletes from being paid, and any athlete whom gets paid will be stripped of their amateur status. Look at the Reggie Bush case as an example.

  • Mike
    October 31, 2012 - 08:46

    Good for her.

  • Jack
    October 31, 2012 - 06:57

    I don't understand why Newfoundland and Labrador's star athletes like Hannah Jardine are deciding to play university sports with American based NCAA as opposed to Canadian Interuniversity Sport and keep our best athletes in Canada? Secondly, I don't understand why she didn't want to play for MUN and truly represent her home province? I hope that in the near future, Newfoundland and Labrador's aspiring young athletes wishing to play at a university level decide to give Canadian universities priority one over American NCAA member universities.

    • prufock
      October 31, 2012 - 09:12

      I can't speak for her, but I can think of a few possible reasons. Full scholarship, did MUN offer her one? If not, that's a big deciding factor right there. Better opportunities in US basketball. Expanding her horizons by living somewhere new. And she did say MUN was in the running up to the end.

    • Steve
      October 31, 2012 - 10:30

      Tell me, when if someone offered you a full scholarship which allowed you to get a qualty education and play in the top athletic league, would you turn it down? American college sports will expose Ms. Jardine to a higher level competition which will no doubt improve her own skills and allow her to chase her dreams. As the saying goes - to be best, you've got to beat the best. Best of luck Hannah.