Tiffany Hooker Named U.S. Army Impact Player Of The Month

Tiffany Hooker, a senior guard on the Reservoir High School girls’ varsity basketball team, was named the U.S. Army Impact Player of the Month.

Hooker was nominated by Gators head coach Deb Taylor.

“On the court this year, we lost six seniors and four starters for various reasons. We were very much on paper an unknown,” Taylor said of how her team entered the 2019-20 season. “She was our second-leading scorer last year, so she had a terrific year last year, but she’s really put this team on her back.

“She was a scoring at a pace in December that was just kind of unheard of, sitting right around 30, 35 points a game. So I think that’s a big part of it is we were looking for our identity as a team, and she kind of gradually established herself as not only a good team player but a high-volume scorer and very efficient.”

Hooker has played for Taylor the past three years after they were brought together by chance. Prior to her sophomore year at Reservoir, Hooker had never played organized basketball. She had started playing basketball in elementary school, but only the pickup variety.

Hooker didn’t try out for Reservoir’s varsity of JV teams as a freshman — she was focusing on her grades — but Taylor discovered Hooker during the summer before her sophomore year. Taylor was running her annual community co-ed camp when she noticed Hooker, who was playing against one of Reservoir’s boys’ basketball players. Taylor, who doesn’t teach at Reservoir, then learned Hooker had already been at the school for a year.

The following fall, Hooker tried out for the basketball team. After not playing any sports as a freshman, she was seeking an outlet to relieve school-related stress. Basketball has turned out to be just that.

“I guess where I am now, it’s something that makes me focus on wanting to better myself,” Hooker said. “If I’m going to do something, I want to be great at it. I don’t just want to be good, so it constantly makes me continue to work on it. It’s something that really keeps me active. So it’s something that will take away from thinking about things textbook-wise and you start to focus more of those thoughts onto the court.”

Now, Hooker is Taylor’s do-it-all senior. Taylor describes her as a 5-foot-3 athletic scoring guard; Hooker can shoot, drive and has developed a pull-up game. Once the calendar turned to January, opponents began focusing their attention on Hooker, who has leaned on her teammates to take over some of the scoring load.

Hooker has gotten better each year with Reservoir, which went 16-8 last year and lost to eventual MPSSAA Class 3A finalist Long Reach in the state playoffs; Taylor said the playoffs were Hooker’s “coming-out party.” This year, the Gators are 9-3, and Hooker’s basketball IQ has taken another leap forward.

“I would say all elements have really improved,” Hooker said of her game the past three years. “But I think last year my main thing was I shot a lot better. This year, I think I tend to be a better and stronger driver. But with that said, these past few years I think my basketball IQ has gone up a lot higher, which allows me to be able shoot better or be able to drive better because I know when to drive and when to shoot and so on.”

Hooker owns a 4.56 GPA at Reservoir, which she attributed to a drive to succeed that comes from her father, Leonard, and mother, Carolyn. Hooker will play basketball at Division III Smith College (Mass.) next year. She’s considering majoring in economics — or perhaps a double major in economics and political science.

“Growing up I’ve always been interested in politics,” Hooker said. “Where I am now as a senior, I started to take it more in the economic way, so I’ve been studying economics in school now. It’s pretty interesting to me. I think you can go anywhere with economics.”

Watch video of the award presentation:

To nominate a student-athlete for the U.S. Army Impact Player award, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Impact.

The Impact Player of the Month award is given to an individual who has impacted his or her team in a positive way, both on and off the field.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of CountySportsZone

Luke Jackson

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