BUFFALO, NY - Most college athletes end up moving away from their hometown and family to play their sport. But there are perks to staying locally. UB's Summer Hemphill knows a thing or two about that.
After graduating from Cardinal O'Hara last year, Hemphill decided to stay at home and play for Felisha Jack at UB. And she's made quite the impression in just her first season with the Bulls. She's even cracked the starting lineup.
Not every freshman at any Division I level school would get the opportunity to start so I'm just taking it all in," Summer Hemphill said.
"She has heart and it's a real blessing to have a local kid playing with such passion," head coach Felisha Jack said.
And Hemphill now leads the team in rebounds per game with 7.5.
"She's the most unselfish kid you'll ever want to meet. She doesn't want to be the scorer, she wants to get the assists and do the rebounding," Felisha Jack explained.
Hemphill continues to add to her already impressive list of accomplishments. She was named All-Catholic Player of the Year and led Cardinal O'Hara to a Monsignor Martin championship.
On top of that, Summer and her mother, Tina Kettle, are enrolled members of the Seneca Natona of Indians and Summer is the first enrolled Seneca to receiver a full athletic scholarship from UB to play women's basketball. The Seneca Nation even honored Summer at a special Tribal council session and named a proclamation day in her honor.
So as you can tell, family is very important to Summer and you can see that at Alumni Arena when her Cardinal O'Hara family and relatives come to watch her play. Summer has seven siblings she shares her success with, especially her younger brother Justin.
We were very close growing up and then we began playing basketball and now he's playing basketball in high school," Summer explained.
Just like Summer, Justin also decided to play at Cardinal O'Hara and as you can imagine, things got pretty competitive growing up.
"Just when we were playing pick up in the street or playing anything, we took it very seriously. No one wanted to lose," Summer said.
Also on gameday, you can find Tina and her father, Willie, cheering her on as part of her giant support system.