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Young South Kitsap hoop hopefuls enjoy Redd letter day
Even several years removed from her playing career, Jamie Redd never is too far from a basketball court.
The former University of Washington women’s basketball standout and current assistant coach at Pacific Lutheran visited Port Orchard on Monday to conduct a clinic with youths at Sidney Glen Elementary School’s gym.
Redd, 32, said she was encouraged to visit the area by South Kitsap High School counselor Derek Sparks, who runs GAMETIME, a Seattle-based youth organization, that, according to its website, strives to mentor sports activities and provide scholarship opportunities.
“I saw the vision Derek had with his nonprofit and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Redd, who joined GAMETIME as its athletic director after retiring from professional basketball in 2004.
Redd graduated from UW in 1999 as the school’s leading scorer, with 2,027 career points. She led the Huskies in scoring throughout her four seasons and was an all-Pac-10 selection three times.
She then played with the Seattle Storm during their first three seasons (2000-02). Seattle had a 33-63 record during that span, but won a WNBA title in 2004 and entered this week with the league’s best record at 22-3.
“To see where we started and where the team has progressed is amazing,” Redd said.
The same superlative could apply to professional prospects for women’s basketball. When Redd was an adolescent in San Francisco, she often found herself playing against boys because she said there was not much interest from girls in the area.
Even when she took to the hardwood at UW, opportunities for women to play professional basketball were limited. That changed as the now-defunct ABL and WNBA created professional leagues in 1996 in addition to overseas options. After she was released by the Storm, Redd played a year in Greece and another season in Israel before knee injuries forced her into retirement.
“There are opportunities for women,” she said. “You just have to be really good.”
Now Redd is looking to take her experience as a player and coach throughout the state with camps and clinics through her “No Fear Basketball Program.”
“I’m definitely focused on getting my business started and getting the Jamie Redd brand out there,” she said.
This was the first time Paula Bigler, whose son, Sterling, 9, attends Sidney Glen, brought him to one of Redd's activities. Bigler described her son as shy and said he was reticent to participate until Redd displayed different methods of dribbling to the participants.
“She made it really fun and he’s totally involved,” Bigler said. “I’m really impressed.”