SPARTANBURG, S.C. (BVM) — The University of South Carolina (USC) Upstate women’s basketball team finished last season with just a 10-20 record, but times are changing. A new era of Spartans basketball will be starting this year, as first-year head coach Becky Burke will be taking over.
Burke brings a laundry list of successes with her to Spartanburg, as well as a solid 2021 recruiting class. That group just got a boost by welcoming its newest commit, Hannah Roberts.
Roberts is a 6-foot post player who started her career out of basketball powerhouse St. Joseph Central Catholic High School in Huntington, W.Va. However, the standout senior recently transferred to Boyd County High School in Ashland, Ky., for her senior year.
— Hannah Roberts (@Hannahthunder25) September 5, 2020
As a member of the Irish her junior season, she averaged 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds en route to a national ranking of No. 13. The school has won nine state titles in the past 11 years, with Roberts being a key contributor to their most recent teams.
While Roberts did have interest from other colleges, including Pikeville University and Tennessee-Martin, USC Upstate took the cake. Now with one high school season remaining for the future Spartan, she can look forward to her time on campus.
That campus is actually a main factor as to why she chose Upstate. While official visits were canceled due to COVID-19, Roberts decided to take matters into her own hands and fell in love.
“Me and my mom and sister actually went there on our own without them (women’s basketball team representatives) present with us,” Roberts said. “… We looked at all the buildings and campus by ourselves and it was beautiful.”
As an added bonus, Roberts’ conversations with coach Burke have helped her feel like she’ll have a home within the program. The expectations will be for her to remain in the post, where she has built the reputation of a bruiser.
Although at the Division I level a lot of girls will be taller than her down in the trenches, that won’t affect where she truly belongs.
“The way that I play is big,” Roberts said. “I’ve handled a lot of taller girls. She (coach Burke) knows that me against big girls isn’t a huge problem.”
Roberts knows that in the post she can be a key cog for the Spartans, but she also knows that it’ll take an entire team to generate wins in a new scheme. Not only will the program be new to the recruits upon arrival, but the program is also new to coach Burke. However, regardless of an unfamiliar system, the things that create success are all the same.
“I feel like I’ve always been on teams that win… I will give it all that I can give to make sure we have success and win,” Roberts said. “Working together but also working on your own game. Always making sure you’re prepared, working together with others. Working hard to get better but also making sure you’re building your teammates up, that you have a bond there to become family.”
While her coaches and teammates along the way have helped lead to Roberts’ eminence, her parents played just as much of a role.
“They have done everything for me. They always made sure I had everything I needed to be successful, made sure I was present and they have literally never missed a game in my life,” Roberts said. “They definitely deserve all the credit.”
With her commitment now behind her, Roberts can sit back and bask in the glory of it all. Every great athlete deserves the time to reflect on their progress.
“I always knew there was a possibility (to play Division I basketball),” Roberts said. “But to actually do it, it feels crazy, like a dream.”