The 2016 Basketball Olympics are her goal, and she already has her foot in the door.
Hooked into a basketball whirlwind, Ruth Hamblin spent her summer with the Canadian Senior Women’s National basketball team, taking tours to Europe and to China.
“It was crazy, I was super excited. It just kind of blew my mind,” she said, explaining how she felt when asked to play for the Canadian national team.
Ruth says she tried out for the under 19 Canadian development team in May, and then she and a few others were asked to stay for the national team tryouts to see what the next level if play looked like.
“We were supposed to just be there for a three day tryout, but at the end of the three days everybody else left and they asked me to stay,” she said.
So for May, Ruth trained with the national team at the University of Alberta, and then they flew to Europe for a two week tour, starting in the Czech Republic, then going to Serbia, and ending in France.
They played eight games and won five.
Asked about the highlight, Ruth said it was her first game at the Czech Republic.
“I was just overwhelmed with the fact that I was there playing with the Olympic team,
“I remember the first time the coach pointed at me. It was like, “Ruth!” and my heart was fluttering as I jumped up,” she said.
After the European tour, they had a break, and then in July she headed back to the University of Alberta to train for eight days before heading off to China for their second tour.
They won second place in China, with six games and four wins, she said.
Ruth didn’t make it on the team for the next tour to Brazil, but she says she is pretty happy for the opportunity she had.
“It’s not normal to be that young on the team,” Ruth said, adding that the average age is 26 and all the other players play professional basketball overseas or in the WNBA.
She says playing with them was “slightly overwhelming” because of their elite skills, but she also learned a lot from them.
“They’re great people and they push you and you can learn so much from them,” she said.
Ruth says she has learned so much about basketball, learned new skills and has gotten more range with her jumping.
“In high school I was always the tallest and that was definitely a huge advantage, so going to this next level, there are girls my size almost every game so you have to learn to play differently and get a bit more sneaky,” she said.
She says next year the Canadian team will play in the world championships, the year after that will be the olympic qualifier and then the 2016 Olympics are in Brazil.
“Definitely the Olympics are a goal of mine.
“It’s a bit of a crazy dream, but there’s a crack in the door now that I’m going to try and capitalize on.
“It’s up to me now to take my game to the level it needs to be.
“It motivates me to train extra hard and work hard,” she said.
Ruth says she is headed back August 31 on a full-ride scholarship to Oregon State University for her sophomore year.
She will return to her daily, three-hour-long basketball practices, and weekend basketball trips with the Oregon State Beavers, and she will tackle her second year in the engineering program.
Asked what it’s like taking engineering along with basketball, Ruth said it’s not easy.
“It’s definitely a challenge trying to excel at basketball and academics, and maintain your sanity.
“But you make it work, and use your time very efficiently,” she said.
For now, Ruth is enjoying her time home in Houston.
“It’s so nice to be home. I love Houston and my family and friends that are here.
“It’s nice to come back to the relaxing ways of Houston where it doesn’t really matter if you’re out there big time or whatever, you’re still just Ruth Hamblin, the little girl who grew up here.”