Mizzou Tigers Lauren Hansen inspires people to be themselves through basketball

Mizzou Tigers Lauren Hansen inspires people to be themselves through basketball

By John "Woods" Armwood III

The New York native, Lauren Hansen, has grown up playing sports in her neighborhood. Many forget to mention Long Island while discussing talent in New York. This may explain Hansen's mindset and underdog mentality growing up. However, this narrative hasn't held Hansen back from becoming the greatest player and person she can possibly be. Hansen takes a moment to reflect during her Sh3GotGame interview, and she realizes how far the game has come since she began playing. She openly admits, “I’m glad to see how far the game has come and expanded since I was younger.  The exposure has increased over time and women supporting women is a phenomenal feeling.”

Initially, she was introduced to basketball by being invited to a basketball camp by a friend of hers growing up. Shortly after the camp, Hansen soon realized she really enjoyed the game of basketball. While having limited experience as a basketball player, in the beginning, she relied a lot on her instincts to carry her play. Since young, Hansen openly admits she’s been competitive at times overly competitive. However, the intensity and mindset she adopted from the late great, Kobe Bryant, she utilizes within her game still to this day. Instead, she’s modeled her game after Diana Taurasi. Over time, scoring began to get developed but the aspect of the game that came the most natural was her competitiveness. 

“While I never modeled my game after Kobe Bryant, I did adopt his mindset and still use this within my daily life,” Hansen states. “Scoring and making plays are my favorite part of the game, however, the most natural part of the game for me is my competitive nature.”

Fast Forward, Hansen's success throughout high school and with one of the most respected AAU teams throughout the country, Exodus Basketball propelled her into the next step in her journey. Throughout High School, she became a nominee for the McDonald’s All American award, however, she didn’t win it. She elaborates on the award describing how much of an honor it was to still be nominated. On top of being nominated, Hansen was ranked among the top 100 girls in the nation, according to ESPNW.

“Honestly, it was an awesome experience, I felt like I battled through adversity with injuries,” Hansen emphasized. “The nomination was nice, however, I felt I should have been in the game. Not being a part of it, only made me carry the biggest chip on my shoulder and adopt that underdog mentality.”

Hansen’s commitment to Auburn

She felt respected in the country by her peers and coaches although she didn’t win the award. However, she wasn't focused on the name and respect more so than she was on the right fit. Hansen wanted them to play freely and have the trust of her coaches to lead whatever team she was on. Originally, Hansen committed to Auburn University where she felt they were extremely similar in mindset. She prided herself on being different and felt Auburn was a great fit to do so in the SEC conference.

Later, she transferred to another SEC school, Mizzou University. She was gifted the opportunity to play an open-style offense and help create plays for others. Throughout, her process of transitioning she’s made relationships with coaches and players. One of the byproducts of COVID-19 was that it forced many people to focus on their relationships, it was no different for Hansen. 

“I’m so thankful for Mizzou, they’ve allowed me to play an open style offense and play my game freely,” Hansen elaborated. 

So much so, that she was able to defeat the current NCAA Women’s March Madness Champions, South Carolina University. While she gives the majority of the credit to her teammates, she managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year. The Tigers defeated the Gamecocks, 70-69, Hansen pitched in with 21 points and 7 rebounds. However, as she describes her emotions throughout the process, she explains that her mindset was different coming into the game. Therefore, Hansen was not surprised by the results. 

“I went into the game thinking we were going to win although many counted us out,” Hansen grinned explaining. “However, it gave us the mindset that we needed to beat anyone in the country.”

The Impact of the Game of Basketball on Hansen’s Life

Hansen speaks to the person who she’s become today and believes without basketball this isn’t possible. The relationships she was able to make, countless amounts of traveling, and most importantly her character. Hansen lives by the quote, “We Cannot Become What We Want By Remaining What We Are,” said Max Depree. Within this quote is a lesson for each and every individual to take away from it. However, one may embrace this message as purely their own prerogative. Yet, Hansen embodies this message and reflects on the possibilities of who she may be without the game of basketball. She wishes to impact the game and lives far beyond basketball, however, her biggest goal is to instill confidence in people through her game. 

“My biggest goal, is to inspire people to be themselves,” said Hansen. “I want my game to inspire others to believe in themselves and change the scope of women's basketball forever.”

In conclusion, Hansen is unapologetically herself and continues to attempt to move the game forward. After Hansen's hung up the jersey and sneakers for good, she’s open to taking on a mentoring coach role. She would love to coach a team, preferably college, but wherever she can help affect the future of women’s basketball she will be fulfilled. When asked was there any advice she was willing to offer to any younger girls and boys that may resonate with your journey and look up to you, she replied:

“The only person you need to believe in you is you. Always remember how you talk to yourself is very powerful. Most importantly, never let anyone take or touch the confidence you’ve earned.”


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