It’s been intense, grueling and time consuming, and the pre-season hasn’t even started yet.
St. John’s native Hannah Jardine is settling in for the fall semester at University of Delaware after taking a couple of courses earlier this summer at the school where she will play basketball for the Blue Hens of NCAA’s Colonial Athletic Association.
© — Submitted photo
The pre-season, let along the regular season, hasn’t even started yet, but St. John’s native Hannah Jardine is drawing rave reviews from her University of Delaware women’s basketball team coach. Tiny Martin calls Jarine “a fierce competitor and a great coachable player.”
“I’m kept busy,” said Jardine, who notes there are 6 a.m. workouts followed by running and weightlifting in the afternoon. “It’s taken a bit of a toll on my body already.
“But it’s good because I’m so busy that I don’t get homesick as much,” added Jardine, who expects to be home for Christmas.
“I also have a really big workload because I’m doing engineering. It’s a hectic lifestyle, but I’m adjusting. It’s what I came here to do.”
She said the training with the national under-17 team was a similar experience to training with the Blue Hens, so she was prepared for the intensity level.
A former St. Peter’s junior high and O’Donel high school star, Jardine was a starter for the Canadian U16 women’s national team that won the bronze medal at FIBA World qualifiers in Mexico in 2011.
She was also a member of the Canadian U17 women’s national team that also earned the bronze medal at FIBA World Championships in Amsterdam the following year.
Jardine said it was good to be on campus in the summer when there wasn’t a whole lot of people around, other than student athletes.
“That was great for me because when I came back this month, it wasn’t that big of an adjustment,” she said.
Jardine’s first impression of the sports facilities on campus left a lasting impression.
“They’re incredible,” she said. “We have the use of three gyms any time we want them. There’s a huge dressing room along with training and strength conditioning facilities. I’ve never played in a place like this.”
The proud Newfoundlander said she’s teased a little by her teammates because of her accent, and they still don’t understand what she’s talking about when she refers to celsius and kilometres, but it’s all in good fun.
“I’m still trying to get them to correctly pronounce Newfoundland,” Jardine said with a laugh. “They have no idea where Newfoundland is.”
Pre-season begins Nov. 8 with a couple of tournaments planned for Florida and Virginia and then it’s on for a 30-game regular season.
Jardine said her coach, Tina Martin, has been a positive early influence on her.
“She’s already given me confidence to step up. It’s a young team. We’re all trying to prove ourselves and the door is open for us.”
Martin said at least three of the 10 rookies will be expected to make a contribution right away and it seems as if she believes Jardine is among that trio.
“We graduated seven seniors and four starters, so this is going to be a rebuilding year,” the coach added.
Jardine says she has “a bit of versatility” to her game which she hopes will help her earn some floor time despite being a rookie.
“I’m six feet, so I can either play on the wing or post up against a small guard on me,” she noted.
“I’ve been working hard on my driving and shooting. I want to improve my all-around game so that I’m not just limited to one thing. That could be a strength going forward.
“The more positions you can play the more time you can get on the floor,” said Jardine, who played for Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2009 Canada Summer Games in Prince Edward Island.
She’s certainly made a good first impression on Martin.
Martin, who just came off the road on a recruiting trip, spoke in glowing terms about the first-year player from Newfoundland.
“Hannah has been outstanding in the first four weeks of school,” noted Martin.
“She has been one of the hardest workers on our team. I love her aggressiveness and attitude towards practice.”
Martin pointed out that under NCAA rules, the school is allowed to have two, one-hour practices at this time while official practice begins Sept. 29.
“Hannah has a great opportunity in front of her to potentially start for our team this season,” added Martin.
“She is everything I thought she would be, a fierce competitor and a great coachable player. She is learning a lot and really wants to learn more. I love her work ethic.”
Martin went on to say Jardine will be a big part of the program for the next four years.
“I believe she has the ability to really grow and shine as a player in our program. She has the potential to eventually be an all-conference type of player. Her future is bright.”