Ex-IU standout Hope Elam continues dream
CHAMPAIGN — The dream of playing in the WNBA still resides in Hope Huett, but for now the former Champaign Central star is content with continuing her professional basketball career abroad.
Huett, who starred as a forward for the Maroons and later at Indiana as Hope Elam, signed Tuesday to join Gigantes de Carolina of the Puerto Rico Women’s Super National Basketball League.
“I’m excited about it,” Huett said. “They won the league the last two years, and that kind of caught my eye first. I want to win; I really want to be a part of something like that.”
Huett, a 2007 Central graduate, played her first professional season in Iceland and spent last year in Spain.
“Traveling and living in other countries is amazing,” she said.
The 6-foot-1 Huett said she will make about $3,500 a month in the Puerto Rico league, which begins its 30-game slate in late August. Before departing for Carolina, which is about 10 miles outside of San Juan, Huett will continue working at her summer job at the Champaign County YMCA and mixing in an occasional pickup game against the Illini women’s staff at the Ubben Basketball Complex.
“It’s a lot different from college. Everything is in your hands,” Huett said. “You have to keep yourself in shape; you get in the gym and lift. You don’t really have someone telling you to do that. It’s kind of expected that you need to perform.”
Huett is hoping to perform at a high enough level to give herself another shot at making a WNBA roster.
“I’m still currently pursuing it. It’s kind of tough to get in there, but I have a wonderful agent, and she was in talks with some teams and it didn’t work out,” she said. “Hopefully, I can put up big numbers this year, and I can get into camp next year and get my foot in that door.”