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BYU basketball: Jennifer Hamson selected by LA with 23rd pick at WNBA Draft

BYU center Jennifer Hamson.
BYU center Jennifer Hamson.
Marcos Escalona/BYU Photo

After Jennifer Hamson announced that she would not play professional basketball and would instead focus on a potential U.S. Olympic volleyball team spot -- and enjoy her final year of eligibility with the BYU Cougars volleyball squad -- the LA Sparks decided to take a chance on her anyway.

After all, how many female centers are 6-foot-7 and can do the things -- shoot free throws, score, rebound and block shots -- that Hamson can? On Monday, April 14 the Sparks rolled the dice at the WNBA Draft in New York -- taking a chance on someone who won’t even think about picking up a basketball until her volleyball career has ended next November.

Hamson was selected Monday with the No. 23 pick overall -- the 11th pick in the second round of the WNBA Draft. She was reportedly going to be selected in the Top 10 before she made her announcement in public that she was going to focus first on volleyball.

Los Angeles will get the draft rights to Hamson for one year. Then, it’s anyone’s guess as to which sport she will pick.

If she knows where the money is, she would choose basketball over volleyball since her numbers in that sport are astounding. 18 points, 12 rebounds and an average of six blocked shots per game for BYU as a senior -- not to mention 71 percent shooting from the free throw line -- are nothing to scoff at.

Neither is a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 and 13 rebounds against eventual national champion Connecticut. But, there is the sense that Hamson may not choose to play professional basketball -- though she was a volleyball red shirt in 2013. She averaged 12 kills per game as an outside hitter for the BYU volleyball team in 2012.

On the one hand, it is very noble for any athlete to inform the WNBA -- as Hamson did on her decision -- especially when so much money is at stake. Hamson may have lost out on some of that money that high draft picks receive, without question.

But if the Sparks -- now owned by NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson -- have any sense of decency, they’ll give Hamson the money she deserves when she decides it's time to play. With today’s selection, Hamson now becomes the third BYU player ever to have been drafted by a WNBA team.

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