Dearica Hamby replaces Sparks teammate Cameron Brink on US 3x3 Olympic team

NEW YORK (AP) — Before the season started, Dearica Hamby wrote her goals down on a basketball.

On the list was making the U.S. 3x3 Olympic team.

She didn’t initially achieve that because she wasn’t one of the four members of the squad chosen earlier this month. Now she can check that off after replacing Los Angeles Sparks teammate Cameron Brink, who tore the ACL in her left knee last week.

“My heart breaks for her. When she got the news she made it and I got the news I didn’t originally, we cried together,” Hamby told The Associated Press in an interview. “It’s kind of an ironic situation. I’m sure if she wanted to have anybody replace her, she’d want it to be me.”

She joins Hailey Van Lith, Cierra Burdick and Rhyne Howard on the squad that will compete at the Paris Games next month. The U.S. won the inaugural 3x3 Olympic gold medal in Tokyo in 2021.

It’s the second consecutive Olympics that the U.S. team had to replace one of its original players. Katie Lou Samuelson missed the Tokyo Games after she caught COVID-19 right before the Olympics. She was replaced by Jackie Young, who helped the team go on to win a gold medal.

Hamby said she was initially upset when she first didn’t make the roster, feeling she deserved to be on the team.

“I think that should have been something originally done. Cam and I both should have been on that team,” she said. “I thought it was a no-brainer, but the committee is the committee.”

Hamby was MVP of the 2023 3x3 AmeriCup and was part of the national team camp in Springfield, Massachusetts, in April.

“It is an honor to announce Dearica Hamby’s addition to the USA 3x3 Women’s National Team and we look forward to getting to work as a squad very soon,” said Jay Demings, USA Basketball 3x3 national team director and member of the USA Basketball 3x3 women’s selection committee. “USA Basketball continues to keep Cameron Brink in our thoughts as she focuses on her recovery.”

Hamby reflected on how far she’s come as a player.

“I’m grateful to be a part of it and they considered me. I wasn’t in the pool growing up, I was 96 out of 100 as a high school player,” she said. “So to be part of the 5 on 5 and 3 on 3 pool this year was special to me.”

And now she can check off one of the goals on the ball, that Hamby said she carried around in the preseason but was then relegated to a closet with her laundry. Now it’s time to bring it back out.

“I had a moment of clarity before the season, and wrote my goals on it for the year,” she said.

Other goals on the ball include getting at least one MVP vote, taking the Sparks to the playoffs and shooting over 55% from the field. Hamby also wants to average 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Setting goals also rubbed off on her older daughter Amaya.

“She made her ball, too, and she made her goal to meet Taylor Swift,” Hamby said laughing. “All the stuff on her ball is Taylor’s songs and stuff about Taylor.”


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