Tomorrow Academic Elite will take place at Hoop Group headquarters, in Neptune. The talent in the gym will be something very special and college coaches will be on the lookout for players who can make a difference. This brings me to a player who seems to always make a difference; yet is never fully appreciated…that player is COURTNEY HAGAMAN.
Hagaman is more than a shooter

When you are shooter sometimes people try to put you in box. They talk only about your shooting ability and choose not to see the total player. Courtney Hagaman is one of the best shooters in the shore Conference; all you have to do is look at the 46 three point shots she made last year to know that. But those who define Courtney Hagaman just a shooter… are not paying attention.
Defense is something Hagaman gets little credit for!

When you play with one of the best players in the country, the best freshman in the Shore and a future D1 post player; it’s easy to get lost in the mix. There is only so much ink and back slapping to go around on one team. It seems the only time people wanted to talk about Courtney Hagaman was when she was scoring and they refused to see the big picture. Courtney Hagaman’s impact on games go why beyond her shooting.

Last season I watched Manasquan play RFH in a regular season game. It was pre-Marina Mabrey. During this game Hagaman struggled shooting the ball, as RFH game plan was very clear…she was not getting open looks. But interesting things happen at high school games and this one was no different. A fan in the stands said “Hagaman is having a rough night” I just chuckled as she just delivered a sweet pass to Sam Sullivan into the post for a bucket. It was nothing fancy, just a simple basketball play but yet very effective. I was amazed how Hagaman responded to the RFH defense. Her answer was to play blistering and I mean blistering defense of her own. She not only boxed out but she ran down loose balls and played great weak side defense. This was not mentioned by one person that night or all season. You see Courtney Hagaman was given a label, and labels stick sometimes right or wrong.

Winning Championships is what matters to Courtney

During the Manasquan run up to the SCT title, Hagaman at times was brilliant. How good was she? While everyone was talking about Stella Clark and Marina Mabrey they forgot it was Hagaman that was putting together a string of brilliant performances. In fact Hagaman’s play in the SCT and State tournament was magical at times. Like her game saving tying layup against SJV to send the game into overtime; a game Manasquan would win. Most people saw the layup, but real basketball fans saw her ability to move without the ball under pressure; but the real story was her basketball IQ and her presence of mind to make the backdoor cut. Then in the SCT championship it was Courtney Hagaman that had 20 points to lead all scorers. But this was ceremonially glanced over.

You see that SJV layup was nothing new; Courtney plays her best games against the best competition. In the state tournament when Manasquan was down four at half time, she buried 5 threes in the 3rd quarter to lead the comeback victory. When Marina Mabrey had 30 points vs RFH in the state tourney, do you know what everyone forgot? It was Hagaman that had 13 points and played lights out defense. Courtney Hagaman has come to terms with being overlooked, because this is not the first time she has experienced or seen this treatment.
One thing is clear Courtney’s teammates appreciate her

Sometimes you are never appreciated for you real talents. Courtney Hagaman is no stranger to this, she watched her older sister who now stars at UMBC go through the same unappreciated faze as well. It was Amanda Hagaman who did all the dirty work for the TOC champs her senior year. Yet she got little if any credit for the team’s success. Amanda didn’t make All Shore or read her name in the paper very often. She was that anchor that nobody sees. It was not until the fall of her senior year that college coaches started to take notice in the 6’2” post player who started at UMBC this past season as a freshman. So Courtney understands all good things come in time…and her time is coming.
Like her big sister Amanda, Courtney talents will shine

Courtney Hagaman is a guard who rarely turns the ball over and plays both sides of the ball, not many kids can do that anymore. But what I like best about her is this…she is ok living in the shadows and understands not everybody gets to live in the spotlight. Like her sister that had to wait before College coaches caught on and realized how good she was, Courtney knows her talent will come to the light. Right now it’s about improving every day and being prepared.
Hagaman won’t be in the Shadows much longer

So College coaches when you take your seat tomorrow and prepare to watch games, do yourself a favor. Pay good attention to Hoop Group All Shore Guard Courtney Hagaman; she plays the game the RIGHT WAY. Notice the shot selection and the passing into the post. Watch the commitment on defense and how hard she plays. When you’re done be sure to notice the smile that won’t leave her face entire day. Courtney Hagaman is special and no question one of the total guards playing in the Shore for my money. I look forward to college coaches telling me am right again…because NO WAY I’m wrong about this young lady.


ADVICE to Parents– you be wise to be on your best behavior tomorrow. This event is in tight quarters…Coaches hear EVERYTHING….KEEP IT POSITIVE!

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of