Vicksburg High’s Hall making international leapEx-Mississippi State star will play for pro team in the Netherlands with hopes of landing back in the USA
Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2003
Former Vicksburg High and Mississippi State standout Cynthia Hall flicks a basketball in front of a world map at Vicksburg High. Hall will leave later this month for The Netherlands to play professional basketball. She holds the Mississippi State records for 3-pointers and games played. (C. Todd ShermanThe Vicksburg Post)
Standing a mere 5-foot-7, Cynthia Hall isn’t likely to throw down a windmill jam anytime soon. For the next four months, however, she’ll be seeing plenty of windmills and shooting two-pointers next to tulips.
Hall, a former Vicksburg High and Mississippi State star, signed a contract to play with the Perik Jumpers of Holland’s Divison One league in December.
Email newsletter signup
She will join the team, which is based in the city of Tubbergen near the German border and won the Division One championship last season, next week and play through the end of the season in May. The Jumpers are currently in second place in Division One, and will play first-place Binnenland in Hall’s second game with the team.
Fons Kamphuis, a Jumpers official, said the league’s strict rules on acquiring foreign players were to blame for the long delay between the signing and Hall’s first game.
Hall was just happy to get a chance.
“I was happy to get the call,” Hall said. “I think it’s a chance to get an opportunity to show what I can do. I think it’s a first step for me.”
Hall got the call after a former Mississippi State teammate turned it down.
The Jumpers were in need of a small forward who could rebound, and contacted MSU assistant coach Sharon Allen to inquire about former Lady Bulldog Nitra Perry.
Perry previously played in Portugal, but was recently engaged to be married and wasn’t interested in going overseas again. So Allen put together a few highlight tapes of Hall and sold the Jumpers on her shooting and her ability to play either point guard or shooting guard.
“After seeing Cynthia’s tape and talking over the phone, (Kamphuis) was really excited that Cynthia fell into his hands,” Allen said. “We’re really excited for her. She’s representing our program over there.”
If history is any indication, Hall will do a good job.
She scored 1,677 points during her career at VHS and led the Missy Gators to the state finals in her senior year, 1996-97. From there, she went on to star at Mississippi State and set the school’s career records for 3-pointers made (147) and games played (120).
A switch from shooting guard to point guard before her senior season curtailed her offensive production somewhat, but Hall still finished second on the list for 3-pointers attempted.
While the position change may have hurt Hall at State, Kamphuis said Hall’s ability to play either guard position was a big reason the Jumpers were interested in her.
“Cynthia’s ball-handling is very good and we have very young point guards which might be in trouble when press defense is due in the playoffs for the national title in Division One in Holland,” Kamphuis said. “That’s where we came to the conclusion that we actually even needed Cynthia probably more than Nitra. Cynthia however will play the 2-position on our team and only on occasion on the point. We believe she had her best performace at MSU playing that position.”
Hall is also 16th on State’s career scoring list, with 891 points, and eighth on the career steals list with 120. In addition, she helped the Lady Bulldogs to two NCAA Tournament appearances, in 1999 and 2000, and a WNIT appearance in 2001.
“I had fun playing with the team and the competition that we played against,” Hall said, reflecting on her career at State. “Overall I think I did OK, but I could’ve done a little better.”
Now, she’ll take her show overseas for the first time. Hall has played in Hawaii and Mexico with the Lady Bulldogs, but this will be her first trip to Europe.
“I know everything is going to be different, like the food,” Hall said. According to Kamphuis, the Dutch tend to eat less fast-food and more home-cooked meals than Americans do. “There’s some things I’m going to have to get used to.”
One thing she hopes she doesn’t have to get used to is living abroad. Allen said more overseas opportunities will come out of Hall’s time in Holland, but Hall wants to return to America at the end of the season and play for a team here.
“Hopefully somebody will see me and they’ll want me back here,” Hall said.
“That’s my goal. After I finish up in Holland, I’m going to try and get some tryouts with teams over here.”