Rio Grande finds #8216;diamond#8217; in Hall

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

COAL GROVE — The next time you go on a scavenger hunt, take University of Rio Grande women’s head basketball coach David Smalley with you.

Smalley is always looking for new talent for his program, and he likes what he found in Coal Grove Lady Hornets 6-foot senior center Samantha Hall.

“She’s a diamond in the rough,” Smalley said. “Some people might think that’s a negative comment, but I think it’s a compliment. We’re excited to find her.”

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Not only did Smalley find Hall, he signed her to a letter-of-intent to join the Redwomen basketball program.

And look what he found.

A shot-blocking machine, Hall set records with 59 blocked shots in a single season, 12 in one game, and 180 for her career.

Hall also eclipsed the 1,000-point scoring mark last season for her career. She is a two-time Coaches District 13 and Associated Press all-district selection.

Hall, who had the highest single-season field goal percentage at 51.2 as a junior, is also a strong rebounder. She had 688 for her career, 193 last season including 16 in a game twice. All three totals are school records.

She averaged 14 points and 8.8 rebounds a game her senior season.

With all her accomplishments at Coal Grove, Rio Grande head coach David Smalley is more excited about the future.

“He best years are in front of her,” Smalley said. “We’ll work with her on the inside and she should do well at our level.”

Although Smalley expects Hall to begin her career at the junior varsity level, he said

“eventually she’ll move up, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was very soon.”

“We need to develop some post moves with her, and once we get her stronger she’ll be a more physical player. She’ll make of it what she wants.”

Although Hall considered other schools, she felt Rio Grande was the best fit.

“I like Rio Grande,” said Hall. “It’s a smaller school, I know some of the girls there. I know some of the girls who play there, and it’s close to home.”

Hall doesn’t expect to duplicate her feats at Coal Grove, at least not in the first year or two.

“I’m nervous. I think if I work hard I’ll get to play. I’m going to practice hard and try to get better,” said Hall. “I’m not setting any time table. I’ll need to do a lot of shooting and running. I definitely need to run.”

While Hall has put up impressive numbers on the court, one of the things that attracted Smalley in the recruiting process was Hall’s outstanding academic numbers.

“Academically she is a very solid student who will do well in that field,” said Smalley. “She’ll excel in academics.”

Hall plans to major in Biology and eventually attending dental school.

Samantha is the daughter of Larry Fields of Coal Grove and Sabrina Thompson of Batavia.