Jordan Hooper’s mom, Jodene, brother Kyle and dad Brian sat court-side.
By Randy York
Sunday was Husker Hometown Hero Day in Lincoln, featuring Jordan Hooper. For a game that started at 5 o’clock 365 miles from hometown Alliance, it was a day for Nebraska to focus on an athlete whose nature would prefer the attention be directed elsewhere. Still, what a day for a daydreaming girl who grew up on a ranch in the Sandhills…what a hero she is…what a Husker she’s become…and what a way for Alliance to connect with the state’s Capital City.
Talk about a perfect time for the Panhandle to show the University of Nebraska how forward-thinking and technologically savvy it can be. “Thanks to a huge 17-foot-by-10-foot screen and the intimacy of our new auditorium in the Performing Arts Center, it felt like all 125 of us were attending a home Husker basketball game,” said Kevin Horn of KCOW, the Husker Sports Network affiliate in Alliance.
“Even though we weren’t packed in a 750-seat facility, our crowd was extremely enthusiastic,” Horn said. “Most fans were dressed in Husker red, and every time the cameras flashed a close-up of Jordan, the crowd here in Alliance erupted. The loudest cheers, of course, occurred whenever Jordan would nail one of her patented three-pointers.”
Back home in Alliance, the crowd also cheered in the third quarter when Big Ten Network cameras showed Jordan’s family sitting court-side directly across from Nebraska’s bench. The photo was taken by Alliance High School senior Cali Cox inside the Performing Arts Center.
The $6.6 million PAC was formally dedicated less than two months ago. According to Horn, the facility is a substantial upgrade, not only for Alliance High School bands, choirs and the drama department, but also for the entire community. The PAC already has hosted a regional meeting of U.S. veterans, plus a ballet, an Elvis Tribute, an Ellis Island expert and a female motivational speaker from California.
On March 20, retired college basketball coach Don Meyer will serve as guest speaker for the AHS basketball teams in the PAC. A Wayne, Neb., native, Meyer is the NCAA’s all-time leader in men’s basketball wins with 923. He‘s also the 2012 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball award winner, an honor awarded to such legends as John Wooden, Hank Iba, Dean Smith and Bob Knight.
Hooper is living proof that all that stands between a gifted athlete and the top of the ladder is the ladder itself. In two years, she left the remote and became the remarkable, and the school that she came from – which has a motto of “Success for All Students” – clearly has a vision to send more out there into the world and compete in whatever field their hearts take them.
N-Sider tip of the day: Now Hooper’s faithful followers can see the same Husker Hometown Hero Video that fans inside the Devaney Center saw Sunday. Amanda Holzwarth from our HuskerVision staff produced the piece, her first major Hooper profile with the likelihood of many more to come.
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