After recharging her batteries, Hebard ready to tackle the world

July 9, 2017

Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

No matter how Hollywood her life gets, Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks remains grounded because of how she was raised.

She works hard, stays positive and never assumes that just because she had success on the basketball court yesterday it’s destined to happen again.

So, she keeps grinding like it never happened.

“All this is making me better and part of the process,” Hebard told me. “I am really happy about where I am but I know I cannot take a break or feel satisfied because there are a lot of basketball goals and personal goals I have left, so I will always keep working like someone is in front of me.”

That philosophy has panned out quite nicely for the 6-foot-4 forward, who is currently in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with USA Basketball in preparation for the FIBA U19 World Cup in Italy at the end of the month.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, is back from the 2016 U18 National Team that won a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championships in Chile.

“Previous USA experience has helped me just feel way more comfortable on and off the court. I have the same coaches as last year so that is good to me I love all three of the coaches and I trust them,” she said.

Hebard used last year’s success with the national team to catapult her to a phenomenal freshman season at the University of Oregon, where she was a catalyst on a 23-win team as an All-Pac-12 performer that averaged 14.9 points on .588 shooting to go along with 8.5 rebounds and 49 steals.

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Hebard single-handedly sealed Oregon’s 71-70 win over Temple after scoring the winning basket in the final seconds and then swatting away a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Being in the national spotlight didn’t change the way she looked at the world. It only made her appreciate where she came from more.

Hebard returned to Fairbanks after classes ended in June and recharged her batteries before another busy basketball season.

For three weeks, she hung out with family and friends at her family’s cabin and got in some Alaska-style workouts.

“Mostly every day I went on hikes with friends, swimming, tubing and jet-skiing a few times,” she said. “As long as I am outside with my best friends and family I am happy.”

That was then. This is now.

Hebard is back in basketball mode in Colorado Springs, where she is training with the U19 World Cup Team with the mindset to win another medal for her country.

“I am glad to be back and practicing with this team. We have a great amount of experience on this team and I am glad to be part of it,” she said. “We are all getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Along with playing 100 percent, this team is full of competitors and girls who push each other.”