Becky Hammon – 1998
Labeled “an amazing player,” the “franchise” at Fort Collins and “everybody’s All-American,” the most decorated basketball star in Colorado State University history was not only a major spectator draw but also a primary reason for the Rams’ rise to the 1999 NCAA Sweet 16.
Average attendance at CSU home games was 751 when Becky arrived on campus as an unknown in 1995.
Four years later, that average was 4,234. The 72,392 season home attendance almost doubled the total for the 10 years before the unheralded 5 foot-6 point guard from Rapid City, South Dakota lofted her first collegiate 3-pointer. And the Rams, in their first-ever Top 25 appearance, were ranked fourth in the nation behind hoopster mills like Purdue, Tennessee and Louisiana Tech.
Quickly bridging her obscurity gap, the Western Athletic Conference sharpshooter capped an all-everything debut season as WAC Freshman-of-the-Year and then became the first sophomore named WAC Player of the Year as well as the first CSU player of either gender to eclipse 1,000 points in 50 games. She would be WAC Player of the Year two more times.
Reaching 1,849-points, she became CSU’s all-time leading scorer as a junior. At 2,543-points, she passed Utah’s Keith Van Horn to become the WAC’s all-time leading scorer (male or female) and finished her career with a remarkable 2,740 total points, a number 7 national ranking and 13 more WAC and CSU all-time records for points, field goals, 3-pointers, free throws, assists and steals.
En route, she earned Kodak, AP, Women’s Basketball News Service and Sports Illustrated First Team All-America honors, was named Frances Pomeroy Naismith (National) Player of the Year, selected for the USA Basketball R. William Jones Cup Team and chosen Player of the Week 15 times.
Becky went on to play summer-season pro ball with the WNBA’s New York Liberty, which advanced to the finals of the 1999 league championships.