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November 14, 2013

Hammond wins appeal to play senior year

Signs letter of intent with Nebraska

OKLAHOMA CITY — Local hoops recruit Jacob Hammond received a 7-6 approval  on his appeal for a hardship waiver during the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors meeting in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Hammond was originally denied the waiver, which allows him to play basketball his senior year at Comanche High School. Ranked as the No. 2 basketball player in Oklahoma, the 6-foot 10-inch center signed his letter of intent to play at Nebraska Wednesday morning.

The majority of the appeal hearing was held in closed session. In open session, board of directors member Shawn Hime moved for the appeal to be approved, he said a few words regarding the case.

“I’m confused and the rest of the board is confused,” Hime said. “The young man’s obviously had a tough time. I recommend approval based on that fact.”

The 13-member board was split six to six after 12 members had voted. Chairman of the board Todd Steidley voted for approval. Hammond began to tear up. Surprised that the board had approved the appeal, Hammond couldn’t contain his joy.

“After today, I was expecting they probably were going to deny it,” Hammond said after the hearing. “Once he said approved, I couldn’t control myself. It was amazing.”

Comanche superintendent Terry Davidson was in attendance and played a part in making the case for the appeal. He was pleased with the outcome and the process by which the decision was made in the appeal hearing.

“We understand there’s a need for rules,” Davidson said. “We just didn’t feel like the way these rules were being interpreted was benefiting the association. It certainly wasn’t benefiting this young man.

“This is a quality young man and we’re proud to have him... whether he is playing basketball or not I told him in there. We’re very proud of the fact that he is on our student body and that he will represent us well.”

Though Hammond said the process to secure the waiver was difficult, he appreciated the opportunity to play in a county he knew well. After playing middle school basketball in Waurika, Hammond enrolled at Duncan High School and played as a freshman on varsity. His coach Mike Davidson immediately knew that he had a star in development.

“He was going to be really good,” Davidson said. “When I got him he was really raw. No one had showed him (how to play in the post). He wasn’t that physically strong yet. He came in and worked hard.”

After his sophomore year, Hammond left Duncan to play for the Oklahoma City Storm, a homeschool team in Oklahoma City. There, he received more playing time and averaged 15 rebounds per game according to a news release from University of Nebraska athletics. As a junior, he played at Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan., annually one of the top schools in the national high school rankings. Since the team had a proven talent in Sebastian Saiv, who is currently a freshman on Ole Miss’ basketball team, Hammond played a limited role.

Still, his coach Kyle Lindsted saw a lot of potential in the junior.

“He’s definitely a division I prospect,” Lindsted said. “There’s no doubt about it. He can play at that level. We were 29-1 and we had a kid that may have been the best post player we have ever had (Saiz).”

Hammond transferred back to Stephens County to attend Comanche, but the school was informed last Friday that his request for a hardship waiver had been denied. That led to wednesday’s appeal hearing. Given all that’s happened, the chance to be close to home to play is a great opportunity for Hammond.

“To come back home, where people have seen me since I was younger and I wasn’t as good, they get to come and support me,” Hammond said. “It’s great to be in a stable situation here.”

While Hammond prepares for another year of Stephens County basketball, he knows next year he will be playing for the Cornhuskers. In the news release coach Tim Miles talked about Hammond’s addition.

“I am really excited about Jacob Hammond joining the Huskers,” Miles said. ”He has excellent size and length. He is a great kid who wants to get better and better. I was very impressed with him all summer. He plays in a physical manner and has excellent athleticism. I really think he has a lot of room for growth and development and is someone who will be a great asset to our program. It has been fun getting to know him as a person. I truly like him and think  he’ll be a valuable part of the future of Husker basketball.”

 

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