Growing up, many athletes dream of one day playing the sport they love at the next level.
For most, that dream ends after high school. But for some, they’re only getting their careers started as they sign with universities to further their skills and their education.
At Marshall University, for two student-athletes, this dream hits a little closer to home.
Talequia Hamilton and Kiana Evans, two players on the Marshall women’s basketball team, get to experience first-hand playing the sport they love at the next level in the city they grew up in.
But Hamilton and Evans said their sights weren’t always set on Marshall. Both said they had dreams of leaving Huntington and playing basketball far from their hometown.
“Playing at Marshall wasn’t my first choice,” Hamilton said. “I actually wanted to get as far away from Huntington as possible. But getting out of Huntington made me realize I wanted to get back to Huntington.”
Hamilton started off her basketball career at Cincinnati University where she suffered a season-ending injury her sophomore year, which brought her back to the other side of the river. Hamilton said she loves playing in front of her home crowd.
“It’s a lot of fun because it’s a hometown atmosphere and everyone knows everyone and they all come to the games, so it’s fun for me. It’s a blessing,” Hamilton said.
Evans agrees and said she loves the unique opportunity that she and Hamilton get to experience together.
“Not a lot of people get to stay home and also play at a Division-I school,” Evans said.
But similar to Hamilton, Evans said she did not dream of playing at Marshall when she was growing up.
“I wanted to go far from Huntington,” Evans said. “But when (head coach Matt Daniel) came and started recruiting me, I really liked the coaches. I thought that maybe I wasn’t ready to go so far away from home, so I stayed.”
Neither Hamilton nor Evans thought they would end up two-and-a-half miles down the road from where they grew up, but now they can’t imagine wearing anything but the green and white.
Brittanie Fowler can be contacted at [email protected]