#AztecWBB Trio Takes Part in Pro Hoops Combine
April 13, 2013
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State seniors Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.), Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.) and Malia Nahinu (Hayward, Calif.), who completed their stellar Aztec basketball careers last month, each spent spring break in New Orleans, La., where they participated in the prestigious Pro Hoops combine on April 6.
The exclusive invitation-only camp was headed by former coaches Linda Hargrove and Jessie Kenlaw and allowed elite college seniors and other former and current professionals to display their talents in front of WNBA and European coaches, scouts and professional agents leading up to the WNBA Draft, which is scheduled for Monday, April 15, at ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn.
Former All-American Jené Morris was the first SDSU player to be taken in the WNBA Draft in 2010 when she was selected by the Indiana Fever with the 11th overall pick.
"Our goal at San Diego State is to put our athletes in the best possible position to showcase their skills and enhance their draft prospects," said Aztec head coach Beth Burns, who earned Mountain West Coach of the Year honors for the second year in a row after leading SDSU to its second consecutive regular-season conference championship and a program-best 27 victories during the 2012-13 campaign.
Hopkins, who received honorable mention All-America recognition from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and garnered MW Player of Year accolades, led the nation with an incredible four triple-doubles and ranked seventh in the country with 6.8 assists per game. The 5-8 point guard established an SDSU single-season record with 232 assists this past year and finished her Aztec career with 442 helpers, which ranks third in school history.
"The opportunity to showcase my skills in front of WNBA scouts and executives was invaluable," Hopkins said. "The feedback I received was extremely positive and after talking with several WNBA people, they told me they were impressed with my court vision, passing and leadership."
Clements also earned honorable mention All-America distinction and was a first-team all-MW selection for the second year in a row after averaging a team-high 17.9 points per game, which ranked second in the conference. The 6-foot guard posted double-digit scoring totals in 32 of 34 games during the 2012-13 campaign and surpassed the 20-point barrier on 14 occasions. Clements, the 2012 MW Player of the Year, completed her career on The Mesa with 1,495 points, which ranks fifth on the Aztecs' all-time charts.
"It was a tough camp, especially when we had to play five games in a row," Clements said. "But overall it was a great experience. We got to compete against some of the best players in the country, and I now feel like I'm ready for the next level."
Nahinu, meanwhile, was an honorable mention all-MW pick for the second straight season after leading the league with 2.0 blocks per game. The 6-6 center started in 31 games and was a key contributor to SDSU's defensive effort, which topped the Mountain West after allowing opponents 49.5 points per game and a 33.5 field goal percentage in conference play. She concluded her Aztec career with 139 blocks, which ranks third in program history.
"It was fun and very competitive," Nahinu said. "I loved meeting with the WNBA coaches and players and after listening to their experiences, it gave me a new perspective on what it takes to become a pro athlete. I left with a feeling that I can achieve great things in basketball in the future."
"Courtney, Chelsea and Malia have made a huge commitment to Aztec basketball and represented SDSU to the best of their ability," Burns said. "The opportunity to compete and be seen by coaches and general managers from all over the world is invaluable. We've gotten very favorable feedback and are excited for all three student-athletes as they ready themselves for their next chapter. They continue to provide great incentive to our younger athletes and know that they are `Aztecs for Life'."