Hillsboro star playing for community college scores place with Ducks

Published: Feb. 11, 2023 at 10:49 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Nearly three years after graduation, a Hillsboro Liberty High basketball star will get her shot at the big time.

Bella Hamel, a 20-year-old third-year sophomore at Lane Community College, is set to join the women of Oregon and the recruiting class of 2023.

Despite being named the Pacific Conference player of the year as a high school senior, Hamel said she never thought she would eventually play for the Division I Ducks.

“That has been my dream school since day one and I can’t believe that I am actually getting a chance to go there,” Hamel said.

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In the meantime, Hamel has played for three seasons with her Eugene community college, the Titans. That was where she met Jack Graves, one of the assistant coaches.

Jack Graves is the son of Kelly Graves, U of O women’s head coach.

“It was a phone call and then a visit, and then an offer and I was just trying not to get my hopes up but on deep down inside I was like, ‘stay composed and it will all work out,’” Hamel said.

Hamel said she credits her teammates and LCC staff as a large part of where she is today.

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“They always push me, they never let me have a lackadaisical day,” Hamel said. “I was constantly pushed to my best.”

She will have two years of eligibility with the thunder green and lightning yellow, but first, she plans to finish strong with the Titans.

“A few of my players they would actually pick me up when I would feel doubtful about myself, so I feel like they have a big help in where they got me today.”