Hampton reps the US, takes game to China

Students everywhere count down the days to summer as soon as the weather turns warm in the spring.

Relaxation, friends and family are all focal points of twenty-somethings in need of a break.

Keisha Hampton had no such break.

After going through USA team trials May 21-25, Hampton was selected to participate on the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team. Aug. 12-25, Hampton and the 11 other selected participants competed against stars from other countries who are enrolled in school and have eligibility remaining.

This year the games took place in Shenzhen, China.

“I’m just overwhelmed with joy because I was picked to play with this team,” said Hampton through a USA team official while on tour in China.

Past participants on the USA team include Sylvia Fowles, Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson. Skylar Diggins, the rising Notre Dame star, was a teammate of Hampton.

DePaul women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno said that Hampton’s selection to the USA team is impressive.

“These are the 12 best players in the country she is competing against and with every day,” said Bruno. “It is essentially an All-American team.”

Last season for DePaul, Hampton was a unanimous 1st team All-Big East selection and an Associated Press honorable mention All-American as a junior.

Expectations entering the 2011-12 season are high for Hampton to lead the team to back-to-back tournament berths.

Bruno said, “I expect us to not miss a beat. [Hampton] is one of the best players in the country. [Taylor] Pikes , [Maureen] Mulchrane, and [Deanna] Ortiz are back and all helped us win big games last year.”

Despite being a marquee women’s basketball player, Hampton mentions no individual goals when talking about next season.

“My expectation is to make it back to the tournament and have another successful year and keep building the program,” said Hampton.

Until then, she has her experiences overseas to draw upon and learn from.

Bruno said, “Traveling, learning, and living with other cultures is an education in itself. [Hampton] was in France last year with the DePaul team. These are educational experiences you can’t get in the classroom.”

Hampton was in Asia to play basketball, but many other aspects of her experience were the highlight.

“The most exciting part of my travels is being here and listening to the different languages, meeting people from different countries, adjusting to different things, the food, and the places,” said Hampton.

The USA team was 6-0 in the competition, en route to winning the gold medal.

Hampton averaged 14.2 minutes per game, 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds.

With such a unique opportunity, it would have been understood had Hampton and her teammates been overwhelmed.

“Everything is so different,” said Hampton, “But it’s a good experience.”