Jessica Hanson with her parents Kevin and Theresa, and head coach Dub Huband (far right). Photo by Wilson Wong.

UBC grad with Trail ties signs on to play pro-basketball in Ireland

Trail couple's granddaughter Jessica Hanson to pursue sports and academics in Ireland

The grand-daughter of long-time Trail residents Bill and Lola Hanlon inked a contract to play pro-basketball in Ireland.

Jessica Hanson signed with the Tipperary Knights basketball team in Thurles, Ireland and at the same time will undertake a Masters degree in Kinesiology.

“I couldn’t be more happy to have signed with a team in a town with such a welcoming family feel already,” Hanson said in the release. “I am extremely grateful to my coaches and teammates over the past decade, and my parents, who have all helped me get to this next chapter. Looking forward to representing BC in Ireland.”

The 23-year-old guard and Vancouver native comes by her athletic and academic pedigree honestly. Jessica’s dad Kevin is head coach of the UBC Men’s basketball team and her mom Teresa, daughter of Bill and Lola, held senior positions at UBC’s athletic department before being named Senior Director of Athletics and Recreation at Simon Fraser University in 2015.

Both parents excelled in basketball, with Kevin leading the Thunderbirds at UBC, and Teresa, a Trail product, playing basketball at Lewis-Clark State in Lewiston, Id. The two met when they were both assistant coaches at SFU.

“They’re super, super excited for me,” Hanson told the Province. “They know how muchI’ve wanted to do something like this and they’ve both helped incredible amounts to get me to this point.

SuperLeague is the WNBA of women’s basketball in Ireland, and the Knights play in a league just one step below. Tipperary plays Division-1 basketball with 10 other clubs. Both the SuperLeague and Division 1 are scheduled to start up Oct 17-18, although that is subject to change due to the pandemic.

The five-foot-nine Hanson averaged 14.7 points per game for UBC this past season, second on the squad and 12th overall in Canada West. In her 29 games, Hanson also averaged five rebounds and 4.4 assists. She played 100 Canada West regular season games over her five years and averaged 11.1 points. She also was named Academic-All Canadian three times.

UBC coach Deb Huband, who boasts the winningest record in Canada West history, couldn’t be happier for the young graduate.

“Jess has always been passionate about, and invested in whatever she does. She is hard-working, driven and goal oriented and playing basketball at a professional level has always been a dream of hers. It is exciting to see Jess embark on this new challenge of signing her first professional contact, and playing overseas.”

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