Young globetrotter a chip off old block

Newcastle Hunters product Hannah Young will follow in the footsteps of her father and play college basketball in the United States for the next four years.

The 19-year-old NSW and Australian junior representative will leave at the end of next month to begin summer school on July 2 and start preparing for her freshman season at Virginia Tech, an NCAA Division I college located in Blacksburg, Virginia, south-west of Washington, DC.

Young’s American-born father Lewis played college hoops in neighbouring North Carolina at Gardner-Webb University in the 1970s before spending a year with the world famous Harlem Globetrotters then extending his boundaries to Europe and eventually Australia.

Standing 186centimetres, left-handed Young has been recruited as a wing player and admits she has to learn to be more selfish and shoot the ball more.

Young has represented NSW for the past seven years, winning silver and bronze medals at the national under-20 championships in the past two years.

In her final year at St Francis Xavier’s, she helped NSW win the Australian All Schools title last year and was named MVP of the tournament and final, and earned All-Australian selection.

Young said a talent scout friend of her NSW Institute of Sport coach, Damian Cotter, watched her play in national tournaments last year and spread the word when he returned to the US.

She was was pursued by several colleges, including highly rated schools in New York, New Jersey and California, but chose Virginia Tech because they play in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference against powerhouses including Duke, North Carolina and Maryland.

‘‘The fact that it was an ACC school, which is one of the best conferences in America, was a big part of it, and when I visited there a few weeks ago all the people were really lovely and all the facilities were amazing,’’ Young said.

‘‘That pretty much lured me in. They’ve got me in as a wing player and they want me to shoot, so that’s what they’re hoping and hopefully I can bring a lot to their team.’’

Voted the Hunters Waratah Basketball League team’s defensive player of the year last season, Young dreams of representing Australia and hopes to play professionally in Europe after her college career, as homage to her Scottish-born mother, Louise.

Her parents met when Lewis was playing in Scotland, where he earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for scoring 108 points in a Scottish national league game in 1985.

‘‘I’m very proud of her, and very excited for. It was a dream just seeing her start playing basketball, because she was a good swimmer and I thought she was going to stick to that, but she decided to change,’’ Lewis Young said.

‘‘It’s a nice school. They just spent $30million on their sports arena, and they get 60,000 to their football matches, so they have a lot of good supporters.’’

Young will play another four or five WBL games for the Hunters before leaving for the US.

‘‘We are thrilled to have Hannah joining our incoming 2012 class,” Virginia Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said on the college’s website.

“Hannah is a skilled, versatile player who will add to our depth on the perimeter.”

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