In-state basketball recruit Hammond has WKU on her radar

Cole Claybourn

Rockcastle County (Ky.) star Sara Hammond is more than familiar with Western.

Both of her siblings were Hilltopper athletes, so she’s had plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with the campus. She’s also paid a visit to Diddle Arena each of the past three seasons after leading her team to the Kentucky girls’ Sweet 16 state tournament.

And now following a first team All-State selection in her junior year, coupled with a No. 27 national ranking by’s HoopGurlz Top 100, Hammond is garnering attention from national powerhouses such as Connecticut, Louisville, and Vanderbilt.

But competing with larger schools in the recruitment of Hammond hasn’t discouraged Lady Toppers’ coach Mary Taylor Cowles from pursuing the local product and offering her a scholarship.

“They’ve been recruiting her throughout the whole recruiting process,” Hammond’s high school coach Chrysti Noble told the Herald Monday.

It’s the familiarity that Hammond has with Western that has Noble thinking the 6-2 forward is seriously considering Western despite the offers from larger schools.

“I don’t know for sure what she’s thinking and I couldn’t guess either, but I’d say it certainly helps that she’s acquainted with Western.” Noble said. “But I haven’t tried to pressure her or find out which way she’s leaning.”

Hammond spent the past summer playing on the same AAU team with her good friend and fellow Lady Topper recruit Danay Fothergill of Pulaski Southwestern High School.

Noble told the Herald that Connecticut, Louisville, Vanderbilt, and Western are the four schools that Hammond is planning on taking official visits to. She said Hammond hasn’t decided when those visits will take place just yet, but they will have to be in the near future because her plan is to announce her decision before the season starts at the end of November.

In an interview with WKYT in Lexington, Ky., Hammond said many factors will go in to her decision. One of the main ones was for her parents to be able to see her play.

“Location is big,” she told WKYT. “I want my mom and dad to come follow me and watch me.”

She also said playing time will be a decisive factor in her decision.

“If I can go in my freshman year, not starting, but just working hard and earning my playing time would be good,” she said. “Getting along with my coaches and teammates is big too.”

Hammond averaged 15 points and 10.8 rebounds last season for the Lady Rockets. She also had 120 blocks.

Noble said the 6-foot-2 left-handed Hammond is a versatile player that can play anywhere on the court.

“She’s very agile,” she said. “She can play inside and out and she’s got good strength. Of course, when you’re in high school at 6-foot-2 and left-handed, you have a bit of an advantage.

“She plays inside for me a little more, but I think when she gets to college she’ll be playing out on the floor more, probably at the 3 (small forward) position.”

That will be determined when she finally decides her college in the next few months.

“I think it’s going to be a real hard decision for her,” Noble said. “I just think she needs to compare all four places before deciding.”