Q&A With Homewood-Flossmoor Forward and LSU Commit Grace Hall
Homewood-Flossmoor 2021 forward Grace Hall is one of the top girls basketball players in the area, named one of just two Illinois players in the 2021 ESPN top 100 (Naperville North’s Greta Kampschroeder at No. 32 and Hall No. 86). She averaged nearly 18 points and over 9 rebounds per game as a sophomore, but had junior season cut short by an ACL injury to her right knee.
Hall announced her verbal commitment to LSU at the end of August, choosing the Tigers over Illinois, Indiana, Rutgers and others. She joins 2021 Whitney Young point guard Timia Ware in LSU’s recruiting class.
I spoke with Hall over the phone about her recruiting, recovery from an ACL tear and the upcoming season. The interview was edited slightly for clarity.
What are the things you really liked about LSU over the other schools who offered?
They kept it real, and a lot of other schools didn’t. It just felt more comfortable with them.
Your knee injury affected a whole season, right in the prime of recruiting. What was it like post-knee injury hearing from colleges?
A couple of big schools stopped talking to me after I got hurt. At first I was kind of feeling down. But at the same time, I’m happy that I could see who really cared and who didn’t.
How do you keep your head up and use the injury as motivation to get better and get back?
I was around a lot of girls who had torn their ACLs. My school teammates, my AAU teammates who had gotten hurt, they kept my head up. My brother kept putting positive thoughts into my head every day, and the coaching staff too. LSU, too, they were telling me how people come back usually a better player. So I was trying to see the upside.
When will you be able to get back on the court and back to full basketball activities?
I’ve been trying to do that lately, I’ve been trying to get cleared. I haven’t been cleared yet, but I plan to be soon. I know I’ll be ready for the high school season.
You could have stayed home, gone to many different schools. You choose LSU, and you’re one of two Chicago-area players to choose them. Did you know Timia before, did you talk to her before your decision?
As a hooper you always see people at tournaments and stuff like that. The years leading up to this I always played against each other or have seen her at tournaments. But this year she ended up coming to our [AAU] team [Example Sports] so I ended up talking to her more.
Honestly though, when I committed she didn’t even know I committed. So when we both found out we were going to the same school it was kind of a surprise.
Have you talked much about it since your commitment?
We’ve said stuff like, ‘Do you realize we’re going to be roommates?’ We haven’t talked about it too much, but we’ve said things like that.
You obviously have to get healthy, but what else do you have to prepare for in the college game? What do you want to work on in your own game over the next year?
Definitely getting back in shape, becoming more lean. Honestly, trying to play free without thinking about my leg. And just becoming a better player: At the college player you have to do different things, it’s about the little stuff.
Have you talked to the LSU coaching staff about how you fit into their system?
I was talking to [head coach Nikki Fargas] when she was recruiting me, I asked her how she saw me fitting in. She had a bunch of other recruits who I felt like were my position. So I was like, ‘Why are you recruiting me if you already have them?’
She was telling me basically that she wants to get my handles better and turn me into the swing player that they need. They have bigs and point guards but she wants swing players. ‘Work on your handle, get you out on the perimeter, we see you at the top of the press.’
How do you feel about moving from the inside in high school to moving to the perimeter and becoming more of a multi-positional player?
I’m excited, I feel like every year I add stuff to my game. I’m excited to add handles and do more stuff. I think it will let me help my team more if I could do more versatile things. It is position-less basketball nowadays.
The high school season is up in the air, but what do you expect and what are goals if we do get a season?
I’ve prepared mentally to not have a season so I don’t get my hopes up. But if we do have a season, I want to be more dominate. It’s my last year, so I want to average more points than I did the last two seasons. Become a more vocal leader on the court. And try to reach for bigger things like state awards, and definitely try to get downstate.