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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Former Texas State basketball player reflects on Israel experience

Sarah Manning
Texas State graduate student forward Da’Nasia Hood (32) dribbles past a Troy defender, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2022, at Strahan Arena.

Texas State women’s basketball alumna Da’Nasia Hood started her professional basketball career after signing her first contract to play in Puerto Rico last spring.

The former Texas State standout then experienced an eye-opening culture shock after landing in Israel to begin her second professional contract amid the country’s ongoing conflict with Hamas.

“It was only my third day. I had only slept there for two nights and had only finished one practice before they started the attacks,” Hood said. “I was in and out of [a] bomb shelter and taking cover for safety. Also with the league being on hold I wasn’t even playing basketball, so I decided to just come home.”

While in Israel, Hood lived in a local hotel along with a teammate. Many of her other teammates were Israeli residents and had no option but to stay in their local living conditions while the basketball league came to a pause due to the nation’s conflict. In the heat of frequent attacks, Hood said she had to take cover in the hotel stairwells when local emergency sirens would sound off.

The sirens prompted Israelis to take cover and remain inside in the event of the Iron Dome, a defense system that launches guided missiles to intercept incoming rockets and other mid-range air threats, firing projectiles.

“It was just my luck that the attacks started when I got there,” Hood said.

Since the Hamas attacks began, over 5,000 rockets have been sent into Israel. According to the Israeli military, the Iron Dome successfully neutralized most of them. Israel retaliated with airstrikes prior to sending troops and tanks on foot into the Gaza Strip, with a declared goal of eliminating the Islamist militant group.

The death toll in Palestine has climbed over 10,000 since Israel began its ground assault on Oct. 27. The toll includes over 5,000 Palestinian children.

The war tensions between Israel and Hamas were relatively steady in recent years, giving Hood comfort when she was considering moving there, she said. Israel is home to many of the premier foreign basketball leagues overseas and has played a part in current and former WNBA players’ careers. The opportunity seemed to be a great addition to Hood’s professional resume and could’ve helped reach her goal of playing in the WNBA.

“This is still something I want to do as far as playing basketball,” Hood said. “As women though we just don’t have as many opportunity’s to play here on our home land. It can take a couple of years to play in the WNBA, so this is something we have to continue speaking up on.”

After returning safely to San Marcos from Israel, Hood got a chance to reflect on her journey. This helped her put into perspective how much playing professionally in the United States, where she can be watched by her family and friends, would mean to her.

The idea of playing basketball professionally came to Hood early. During her sophomore year of high school, she was in touch with Texas State women’s basketball Head Coach Zenarae Antoine, she said.

“One area I pay a lot more attention to is when a student athlete says they want to be a professional player or a coach because I have my expertise in that area,” Antoine said. “In Da’Nasia’s case of wanting to be a pro we have different conversations to prepare her for that next phase and take what we’ve learned from the journeys of previous professionals we have coached and mentored.”

Hood finished her career as a Bobcat touching multiple pages of the record book. She is currently fifth in all-time scoring with 1,845 points, fifth in rebounds with 837, third in successful three-point field goal attempts with 186 and a three-time All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selection.

Despite some of the great accomplishments Hood has achieved, the road to playing professional basketball in the U.S. for the WNBA is a long one that few may travel.

John Hollmon, a San Marcos basketball player development specialist who’s experience working with NBA, WNBA and overseas athletes. Hollmon began working with Hood during her junior season at Texas State and continued to work with her leading up to her departure for Israel.

“There was no doubt she was going to be a pro. I knew from the jump,” Hollmon said. “Whether it be the WNBA or overseas I knew she would be a pro. I believe she is capable, and her skillset is high enough for the WNBA. [The] only thing I feel slowing her down is out of her control. There are just too few roster spots and teams available to play in that league.”

There are currently multiple former NCAA mid-major players who are thriving in the WNBA such as Kierstan Bell, a Florida Gulf Coast guard, who recently won the WNBA title with the Las Vegas Aces.

“It’s important that these women advocate for mid-major players and get scouts to take a chance on inviting them to training camp,” Antoine said.

Hood is set to begin her third professional basketball contract in Finland in the coming weeks. The opportunity to play again professionally is cherished by the San Antonio native who continues to exceed any limitations placed on her on her route to a successful professional career.

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