Leaving Newfoundland opens new found possibilities for Delaware’s Hannah Jardine

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WEDNESDAY ON ASN: James Madison at Delaware, 8 p.m. ET (click logo for local listings)

Hannah Jardine chose Delaware in large part because of its engineering program and the ability to play Division I basketball in the U.S.

Coming from the Canadian province of Newfoundland, an island accessible to the mainland only by plane or ferry, she also found it appealing that from UD’s campus she could easily get many places via adjacent I-95.

“I thought it was real cool to be so close to places like Philadelphia and New York, and especially being able to travel to those places to play,” said Jardine, who is from the city of St. John’s, the easternmost point in North America. “Newfoundland is kind of an isolated area, so I think being so close to different states was what was coolest for me.”

It certainly did not hurt that upon arriving at UD in the summer of 2013 Jardine discovered Panera Bread and Chipotle were not only on campus, but the distance between them was about the length of a 3-pointer.

“We don’t have those in Canada, so they kind of became instant favorites of mine,” exclaimed the 6-1 junior forward.

Jardine’s three years in Newark have been about much more than visiting other cities and her beloved barbeque chicken flatbread at Panera.

Indeed, a full menu of responsibilities includes, but is by no means limited to, academic demands of being a mechanical engineering major with a double minor in biomechanics and math, a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative and a team co-captain.

“It is a pretty busy schedule especially in-season when we are traveling,” said Jardine, who enters Wednesday’s game on ASN against James Madison averaging 8.2 points and 4.1 rebounds. “In the spring when basketball calms down I get more involved with the other stuff.”

That includes her work with SAAC, specifically the B+ (Positive) Foundation, and Special Olympics. The former, which was established to assist kids in their battle against cancer, has alliances with student organizations and athletic teams at colleges and universities across the country.

“I really like helping out with anything in the community,” said Jardine, who was coached by her father, Mike, kindergarten through her senior year of high school. “I think that it is really cool that little kids come to our games and look up to us so much. I really like taking the time to reach out to them and I want to be a good example for them.”

Jardine, whose parents, an aunt and an uncle all played basketball at Memorial University in St. John’s, set many positive examples for Canadian youths when she was a member of the country’s U16 and U17 national teams. Her U16 team won a bronze medal at the FIBA World Qualifiers in Mexico in 2011 and year later the U17 squad captured bronze at the FIBA World Championships in Amsterdam.

It was that experience and success on the international stage that served as a springboard for Jardine to play at the Division I level in the U.S.

“The level of basketball back home is obviously not as high as it is (in the States), so I think that prepared me extremely well to play in college down here,” she said. “I do not think I would have been as prepared if I had not played for the national team.”

Jardine did not have the option of playing AAU in her native province. However, during the summer prior to her senior season she played in a pair of AAU tournaments in the U.S. That proved vital as far as exposure. Several schools, including Delaware, contacted her.

“They have a really good engineering program here, which is what I really wanted to get into,” said Jardine, who was influenced by her father’s career path as an engineer. “I was still keeping an open mind after I first visited, saw the facilities and met the team. But I felt that this was where I was going to end up.”

Jardine would like to attend medical school, hence the biomechanics minor. Ultimately, she would prefer that her career path is something sports related, perhaps sports medicine.

Before she can wrap herself up in postgraduate studies and career opportunities, Jardine still has the remainder of this season and her senior year ahead of her. As such there will be plenty of opportunities to add to an impressive career 3-point shooting percentage that stands at 39.8, a shade off Elena Delle Donne’s school record 40.9.

“When I saw where I was ranked I was like, ‘Why am I in the same sentence (as Delle Donne?),’” she said while laughing at the thought of being on the heels one of women’s college basketball’s all-time greats. “It is pretty neat and I have worked pretty hard to get to this point. Any accomplishment like that is cool.”

Much like how she has found things in the U.S.

Above: Hannah Jardine’s play in international competition opened up a world of opportunities for her, including an introduction to the US’s fast-casual restaurants. (Courtesy Mark Campbell/University of Delaware Athletics)
Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger is a freelance writer based in Glen Mills, Pa.