By John "Woods" Armwood III
Recently, the New Jersey native Hannah Hidalgo committed to the University of Notre Dame. Naturally, being the No.5 player and No.1 PG in the country this garnered much attention, however, many may not have gotten the opportunity to know who truly Hidalgo is.
Being born and raised in Pennsauken, New Jersey, she was never given the true amount of exposure she deserved. Yet, she’s still managed to become one of the most respected and highly recruited girls in the country. In fact, she earned her respect amongst coaches around the country and peers that she was given an opportunity to represent her country, the USA, this past Summer in Hungary. The U17 FIBA World Cup was held in Hungary and many girls like Hidalgo were forced to spend a month or so away from their support systems family. Ultimately, they won the entirety of the tournament and returned the gold back to America.
“The experience was super surreal to be one of 12 girls to get picked to compete for their country,” Hidalgo stated during her Sh3GotGame Interview. “It was an honor.”
Where it all Started for Hannah Hidago?
Naturally, with the majority of her immediate family growing up playing basketball she’d want to follow suit as well. Her parents, Tamara and Orlando, introduced her to the game at a very young age. Not to mention, all of her older siblings played the game, therefore, she was often around the game growing up. Essentially, she was destined to play basketball unintentionally.
Yet, she admits the part of the game that came the most naturally to her was the defensive aspect. She understood it was important to the game of basketball, however, she didn’t begin really taking defense seriously until the third and fourth grades. Once she realized what the defensive side of the ball did for the team, as well as, her game individually it changed her mindset forever. Hidalgo expresses often times she’d win the game on the defense before they ever even scored a point to take the lead.
“Often times getting consecutive stops can be demoralizing to a team,” Hidalgo stated. “I often tried to win the game before it started by attacking and being relentless on defense.”
According to Hidalgo the tenacity, swagger, and energy she often brings to the team stem from her immediate family's extremely competitive nature. Often they have fun family competitions during the holiday season where the winner may win some cool gifts. In so many words, it’s instilled in her and it’s a part of her makeup.
The Separation of Notre Dame Versus Everyone Else
The University of Notre Dame simply provided Hidalgo with something that the other Universities didn’t. The special thing Notre Dame possessed that separated them from everyone else was the fact she felt they were legitimate family and they had her best interest at heart. The relationship she garnered with the recruiters and Notre Dame HC Niele Ivey felt unique and special to Hidalgo and also her family. Most importantly, the reputation and prestige of the University played int a factor in committing as well.
Hidalgo mentions while many teams often called her to check in not many were willing to travel to see her games live. Notre Dame was the exception because they appeared live in several games throughout the year. The genuineness of Ivey’s and Hidago’s conversation appears to be what played a pivotal part in her joining the fighting Irish. This explains her faith in Ivey to guide her on the correct path to help elevate her game.
“Honestly, I just have faith in Ivey and the staff to help propel me to the next level,” Hidalgo mentions. “If I didn’t I most likely wouldn’t have chosen Notre Dame aka Guard University.”
For example, the Sh3GotGame feature and Notre Dame PG Olivia Miles excel within the Notre Dame system. When asked was Hildago excited to be joining the likes of Miles, she responded:
“Absolutely, she’s unselfish, her basketball IQ is insane and she can help me grow as a player. Most importantly, that backcourt just got a whole lot scarier and I’m excited to see what it looks like.”
Hannah Hidalgo’s “Sh3GotGame Moment”
While Hidalgo has many moments to choose from one of her favorite and most memorable moments came in the WSLAM Summer Classic invitational at the famous Rucker Park in Harlem, New York. During the game, Hidalgo stole the ball and made an acrobatic layup in the midst of being fouled. Ultimately, The clip went viral and was featured on some of the most prominent networks around the country.
Hidalgo expresses this moment was huge for her simply because of the atmosphere and just how much this game meant to her. While she plays with a confidence normally, she admits this game was dwindling, however, after the play she felt she belonged and deserved to be considered one of the best.
During times of perseverance, she often reminds herself of a popular Bible verse. Coming from a religious background and relying on God to help her through anything and everything has been one of her biggest support systems. The verse she often reads that empowers her is Deuteronomy 31:8.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
In conclusion, when asked if was there any advice she’d like to leave any younger girls and boys who may be looking up to you, she responded:
“Just continue to work hard and persevere because nothing will be handed to you. Adversity will always be inevitable and hard work beats talent that doesn’t work hard.”