A childhood dream achieved

Brenden Slaughter Associate Sports Editor

Former OSU center Ruth Hamblin chasing down WNBA

When the six-foot-six Ruth Hamblin stepped on campus at Oregon State University in 2012, she had no idea that one day she would be in a position to make a run at the WNBA. She had a tiny flicker of hope that she could play on women’s basketball’s biggest stage, but didn’t see it as a realistic possibility until her breakout sophomore campaign at OSU.

“It was a late developed childhood dream since I didn’t start player basketball until later in my life,” Hamblin said. “It definitely was the dream of my youth growing up.”

That flicker of hope became a reality over the next two seasons as Hamblin became the Pac-12’s biggest defensive presence, earning the Defensive Player of the Year award in both her junior and senior seasons in addition to being the Conference Player of the Year as a junior.

Dubbed the “Canadian Hammer” by former OSU men’s center Joe Burton because of her ability to block shots, the British Columbia native helped the Beavers to their highest level of success ever as OSU won a record 32 games and advanced to the program’s first Final Four.

After OSU’s season ended in Indianapolis at the hands of Connecticut in early April, but since then Hamblin has been anything but relaxed. She was picked by the Dallas Wings in the No. 18 slot of the WNBA Draft, and immediately began preparations to head to Dallas, just nine days after the Beavers lost to the Huskies.

OSU guard and reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year Jamie Weisner and Hamblin went back-to-back at 17th and 18th overall.

“It was such an epic experience,” Hamblin said. “We were texting each other in all caps and we were both so happy for each other because we started this journey together.”

Just a few short days after the draft, Hamblin began her WNBA life responsibilities. She packed up everything she had in Corvallis, found an agent and said goodbye to her teammates.

“It’s been a crazy whirlwind since the season ended,” Hamblin said. “Having to hire an agent and having to pack everything up and get my life in order and only being in town for a few days was crazy.”

Amidst all the responsibilities that come with being a professional basketball player, Hamblin still finds time to visit with one of her closest friends almost daily. Junior point guard Sydney Wiese earns the nod of being one of her best friends because of their bond they shared at OSU for three years.

“Ruth and I talk almost every day. We text a lot, and sometimes Facetime but we try and connect everyday,” Wiese said. “We are both busy but we value our friendship and want to make sure that we keep our communication consistent and genuine.”

Through Hamblin’s journey, it hasn’t all been easy, there were moments that were challenging and times where basketball didn’t seem like the way to go; But she found the most support in her mom and dad.

“My parents have been instrumental the entire way and have been so supportive and always have my back,” Hamblin said. “They have been there for me on those phone calls where I’ve wanted to quit, but they always encouraged me every step of the way.”

The road to becoming a WNBA player is one that takes great work ethic and dedication, but Wiese sees Hamblin becoming a mainstay in the league.

“Ruth will adapt to the WNBA very well,” Wiese said. “Her work ethic, willingness to learn and efficiency on both ends of the floor will be major keys to her adjustment to the pro game. I know she will do whatever it takes.”

Hamblin and Weisner may have been drafted by teams many miles away from one another, but they shared a special moment on May 8 when the Dallas Wings met the Connecticut Sun in a preseason game in Dallas. To make it even more special, Wiese was in attendance supporting her former teammates.

“It was wonderful. it is so hard to leave your teammates behind, but to see (Weisner and Wiese) and be reunited was a special moment,” Hamblin said.

Hamblin has no regrets about her college career. She accomplished everything she set forth to do, but now turns her focus to her career in the WNBA. But no matter what, she will still keep tabs on the Beavers and always continue to cheer on the orange and black as the Canadian Hammer.

And it all started with a flicker of hope for young girl growing up in Houston, B.C.

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