YATESVILLE – Mia Hopkins has been able to make history at Pittston Area for some time now.
This week, she added to her list of historical accomplishments. Hopkins signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her education and play basketball at Monmouth University.
Mia is the first D-1 scholarship player from Pittston Area, Pittston Area principal John Haas said Thursday during her signing ceremony. We're extremely proud of her academically and on the basketball court. Congratulations, Mia, you're going to go places.
Late next summer, one of those places will be West Long Branch, N.J., where the Northeast Conference school is based. Hopkins was likely heading there in some way, as schools showing interest in her included Robert Morris, St. Francis, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac of the NEC, as well as Ivy League Princeton.
I really like the school and I feel like I'll fit right in next year, Hopkins said. They have six seniors leaving so there's going to be a lot of openings, a lot of opportunity.
That's one of the reasons Hawks coach Jenny Palmateer is adding the 5-foot-11 Patriots senior. The second-year coach, who went 19-12 in her first campaign at Monmouth, is looking for a dynamic player to build on.
She played for a legendary coach (North Carolina State's Kay Yow), and she really has been around some great basketball people (such as Hall of Famer Anne Donovan), said Hopkins, an honor roll student. I've talked to her and she likes me as an oversized guard. If I've got a guard playing me, I can take them into the paint. If a post player is on me, I'll bring them outside.
Basketball has been a part of Hopkins' life from birth. Her grandfather, John Hopkins, was a successful head coach at GAR for more than two decades. His wife, Angie, was an exceptional player in her day. And Mia was a natural right from her first game of Biddy ball – a distant memory for the 1,000-point scorer in high school.
It was at the YMCA in Pittston, John Hopkins said. She was very aggressive. She was aggressive, on the floor, going down to get loose balls.
She was the only one who could actually dribble, added Mia's mother, Sharon Hopkins, with a smile. I still have the video of it.
Since then, the second-team all-stater last season had a career-best 39-point night against Holy Redeemer on Jan. 16. She put up 20.3 points, second in the WVC, pulled down 14 rebounds per game, and rounded out her game with five assists four steals and three blocked shots per game last season.
Hopkins recognizes that, even as she is such an exceptional basketball player, the game is a team sport. She was quick to point out just how many people have helped her reach her college dreams.
I've got to thank my grandparents, my mom, my Uncle Louie and my whole family, Hopkins said. And my head basketball coach Kathy Healey, and Stan Waleski and the whole booster club.
Also my AAU basketball coach, Isiah Walker, with the Firm AC basketball program, and all of my great teammates from Pittston and AAU. Oh, and all my friends and the entire senior class for the way they've supported me. And a thank you to everyone else who has coached me along the way.