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Senior guard nominated for national honor

Sergio Sanchez

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Senior guard Courtney Hamilton. Photo courtesy of Chico State.


Courtney Hamilton ended her basketball career as one of the top point guards in Chico State history. The icing on the cake was when the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association honored Hamilton by placing her on the All-America Honorable Mention list for the 2013-2014 season.

Hamilton was one of 40 NCAA Division II players to receive this honor. She was also one of only two selected from the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

“I’m proud that over the years I’ve improved and developed my basketball game and I became a leader on the team,” Hamilton said. “I’m really proud having the girls look up to me and come to me if they had questions or needed advice off the court.”

Before coming to Chico State, Hamilton grew up in Walnut Creek and attended Northgate High School. Her parents introduced her to a variety of sports and supported her in whichever sport she was playing.

“Honestly, I had a really great childhood,” she said. “My parents supported me in everything I did. I played soccer, tennis and even did cheerleading one time.”

Hamilton began to take basketball seriously around the sixth grade.

“I began AAU basketball and really started to put in the time and take it more serious,” she said.

There have been many coaches that have helped Hamilton during her career. It was Kelly Sopak, her coach at Northgate High School, who had the biggest influence on her.

“I had the unfortunate opportunity to coach against her from the time she was in the third or fourth grade,” Sopak said. “When she came in as a freshman in high school I was able to coach her.”

Hamilton came onto an established varsity team as a freshman, he said. She did everything they asked of her coming off the bench with no questions asked.

Sopak knew she was a special player and needed to be a starter.

“The night before our first game I couldn’t sleep,” Sopak said. “Win, lose or anything I don’t usually lose sleep over things. But with Courtney, she had done everything to deserve the starting job, and I knew she didn’t care if she started, but I did.”

Hamilton was looking at schools in Southern California until Sopak told her she needed to visit Chico State and meet coach Brian Fogel.

“Brian is a great guy, he is all about opportunities and an ‘outside the box’ type thinker,” Sopak said. “I knew in Division II, if she was given the opportunity, she would have tremendous success. To be honest, I think she surpassed mine and Brian’s expectations.”

Hamilton is second all-time in Chico State history with 523 assists. As a point guard, she led the team in blocked shots for three consecutive seasons and ranks sixth all-time with 80 career blocked shots.

She was given the nickname “The Glove” by Sopak and the team in high school, referring to former NBA player Gary Payton, who was known for his suffocating defense.

“We won so many games we had no business winning because of her,” he said. “She was our secret weapon, and she would take pride on guarding the best player and shutting them out for the entire game.”

Hamilton prided herself on defense.

“I’m not necessarily going to be the leading scorer for our team, so I compensate that with my defense,” Hamilton said.

If there is one thing Hamilton loves as much as shutting down players, it is eating toast. And a lot of it.

“It’s dwindled down since coming to Chico State but In high school I ate six pieces of toast every single day,” she said. “The most I’ve eaten at one time was around 10 pieces, with butter and cinnamon sugar on top.”

Hamilton will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and hopes to pursue a career in the athletic field.

“Eventually I would like to work in the athletic department at a college level,” Hamilton said. “I’m interested at the moment working with compliance, dealing with eligibility. Maybe one day potentially being an athletic director, or at least an assistant athletic director.”

Sergio Sanchez can be reached at [email protected] or
@sergechez on Twitter

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Senior guard nominated for national honor