New chapter for star basketballer

Caroline Hummell is not one of those athletes who began excelling at a sport as a toddler.

In fact, the 18-year-old basketball star has only been playing hoops for six years.

Hummell said she was a shy pre-teen and her mom gave her the choice of attending a drama camp or a basketball camp to help her come out of her shell.

“I chose basketball and fell into love with it right away and have been playing ever since,” she said.

She played four years for St. Christopher’s and St. Patrick’s, as well as a provincial club team, Blessed Sacrament in Hamilton, and a developmental team in Toronto, all of which landed her a scholarship to Mount St. Mary’s University, a Division 1 school in Maryland.

Hummell liked the campus right away and gave a verbal commitment to attend the school, which is 45 minutes northwest of Baltimore.

“The campus is beautiful,” said Hummell.  “It’s tucked away up against the mountains.”

She is impressed with the school’s commitment to academics, and will study  pre-med with a major in neuroscience and an eye toward psychiatry in the future.

At the suggestion of her coach, Bryan Whitten, Hummell will leave for school in July and take two courses this summer to make the transition smoother when the basketball season opens in October.

The Bright’s Grove resident was named to the Junior Elite League of Ontario (JUEL) All-Academic team this season with a school average of 94 per cent.

“Caroline is a crafty post player who uses her body well and can score the ball,” Whitten said. “She is strong on the blocks and has a nice touch from the perimeter. She rebounds well and knows and understands the game.”

Despite averaging 16 points, seven boards and four assists per game with the Fighting Irish this season, and finishing third in three-point shooting in JUEL, Hummell knows she’ll have to battle for playing time.

“Minutes are up for grabs,” she said.  “Coach (Whitten) told us that if we work hard, and if you have what it takes, then we’ll be out on the court.”

The Mount, as the school is affectionately known, finished second in the Northeast Conference last season with a record of 13-5.  Its overall record of 19-14 left the Mountaineers just shy of qualifying for the women’s March Madness tournament.

Hummell would like nothing more than to take that next step this season.

– Barry Wright