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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Wildcat of the Year nominee: Courtney Hamilton

Courtney Hamilton, a former Chico State basketball player, has been nominated for the 2014 Orion Sports Wildcat of the Year. Orion file photo

For the first time in four years, former Chico State women’s basketball team point guard Courtney Hamilton was not on the court for the season tip-off.

Hamilton graduated last spring with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. During her final season as a Wildcat, Hamilton was placed her on the All-America Honorable Mention list for the 2013-2014 season by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Now Hamilton has been nominated for the 2014 Orion Sports Wildcat of the Year.

Along with her numerous awards, Hamilton also helped her team reach the NCAA West Region semifinals a year ago with a 19-10 record last fall.

Brian Fogel, Chico State women’s basketball team head coach, said her leadership and her ability to compete is something that the team will miss this season.

“She had a huge impact in our program,” Fogel said. “You don’t really substitute that. And her defensive tenacity was something that kind of set the tone for us as a team that we kind of rallied behind. And so, you know, it’s college athletics. Kids come and kids go and you just (have) to prepare and move on.”

During her final season at Chico State, Hamilton averaged a career-high 8.4 points per game to compliment her 6.1 assists per game. She also led the California Collegiate Athletic Association in assists with 178.

Dishing out dimes is something Hamilton is known for as a Wildcat. Hamilton has the second most assists in the program’s history, so it’s not surprising that she said that passing the ball is her favorite part of the game.

“Being able to put my teammates in scoring position, and them rewarding me by getting the basket and giving me the assists was always great,” she said. “And so I’ll say ultimately getting — I want to say 520 assists over my time — was the highlight for me.”

Despite no longer being part of the team, she has kept in touch with some of her ex-teammates, Hamilton said.

Senior guard Hannah Womack said that Hamilton has been giving her advice for the upcoming season.

“She’s super positive and I still talk to her, but she just said, ‘Do you Han,'” Womack said. “She’s just super supportive. If I have a question or anything, she’s just always there.”

Hamilton said that these days, she is busy working for UC Berkeley as a revenue generation coordinator. She works for sales and services in the athletics department, with premium seating for club members in football games and other sports events.

She enjoys her job, but not being able to compete during basketball season feels weird, especially now that she works by UC Berkeley’s gym, where she often sees the basketball team practicing, she said.

“I walk by the gym every single day and see the basketball team in there,” Hamilton said. “It just makes me wish that I still was playing.”

Because she no longer plays basketball, she will soon start coaching her old high school’s girls JV basketball team to help fill the void of competition, she said.

As an assistant coach, one of the things she hopes to teach her team is hard work, Hamilton said.

“Coming from experience, I wasn’t necessarily the most skilled or most talented player, but I just worked hard, and I did what I could do well,” she said. “So I just recognized my strength and played off that. So that’s something that I want to talk on: knowing your role on the court, and what you do well, is what you want to constantly do. If you do your part, you’ll make everyone else better. If everyone does their part, the whole team will be great.”

Jose Olivar can be reached at [email protected] or @jpu_olivar on Twitter.

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