Talented, smart and twins: The Hulls fit with Stanford basketball
Stanford basketball fans have seen twins on the court before with the Collins and Lopez brothers. In 2018 the Hull twins, Lexie and Lacie, will join the list, and head coach Tara VanDerveer can hope they follow in those successful footsteps.
The Hulls committed to Stanford Oct. 23 and hosted Stanford at their Central Valley High gym in Spokane when the Cardinal went up to play Washington State. Lexie and Lacie are firm in their commitment almost a year away from signing day because a combination of talent and academic standing -- each reports a 4.0 GPA -- allowed them to publicly commit as juniors. That is rare for VanDerveer and Stanford women’s basketball.
By comparison, all of the 2017 class publicly committed only after they were admitted and officially visited from Oct. 7-9. For Lexie and Lacie, however, their logic was simple, why continue looking when you found the perfect fit?
“They were always our favorite team growing up,” Lacie said. “We always kept an eye out for them when they played. They are the team we always watched on TV when we could. Whenever Stanford played GU (Gonzaga) we always went and watched them and that was really cool growing up to see them play. It was the dream to be able to play there eventually."
The Hulls were not lacking in interest from coaches near and far, including the Washington Huskies fresh off a run to the Final Four. Lexie and Lacie went on visits to a number of schools, but they kept coming back home to the same conclusion.
“There was no other school we could go to that would top Stanford,” Lexie said. “Having that in mind that Stanford was the one we really wanted to go to and knowing they wanted us at that time, there was nothing else to wait for. So, just to get it done with is what we wanted to do.”
Lexie and Lacie are capable of playing the 2-4 in college. Lexie (6-foot-1) and Lacie (6-foot-2) possess versatile offensive skill sets to attack the basket, and hit mid-range and three-point shots. But it’s their approach to basketball that stands out as a perfect fit for the Cardinal and VanDerveer.
“We pride our game a lot on how hard we work, and even if we’re having an off day we give our best effort,” Lexie said. “I think that’s the thing that makes us stand out.”
When the Hulls visited Stanford they were almost certain they would commit, but they wanted to meet the players and get a measure of being a student on campus.
“We honestly loved all the players,” Lacie said. "All of them were super genuine, nice and fun to be around. We hung out a lot with the people who are going to be there when we’re there, but we also talked to the players who are juniors and seniors now. It was really good to meet them and hear their outlook on Stanford and their experiences. They all had really good advice and things to share about their time at Stanford.”
The only disappointment when meeting the juniors and seniors was knowing they wouldn't be there when they arrived, Lexie said.
“The freshmen and sophomores who are there, who will be juniors and seniors when we’re there, I’m really excited to play with them," she said. "It’s exciting to build friendships now that will be there later.”
Lexie and Lacie watched two Stanford practices when they visited The Farm. They got to watch practice again two weeks ago when the Cardinal came up to Spokane.
Those experiences don’t compare to a full season and off-season working with VanDerveer and assistants Amy Tucker, Kate Paye and Tempie Brown. But the Hulls watched how their future positions were taught, and they got a sense of a practice environment and how VanDerveer teaches basketball.
“They were all really supportive of each other and we love how Tara coaches, and Amy (Tucker) and all the assistants,” Lexie said. “It was a really good atmosphere. Everyone worked really hard. We really enjoyed the practices.
“I think she (VanDerveer) just wants the best out of all of her players. I’m excited to be able to learn from her and have her push us. I think that’s what she does so well, she shapes her players into their highest potential.”
Lexie’s observation of practices and VanDerveer lines up with comments from former players who paid tribute to the Hall of Fame coach leading up to her historic 1,000th career win. The Hulls weren’t able to attend, but they watched wins No. 999 -- a classic comeback over Washington in Seattle -- and 1,000 from their living rooms, screaming at the TV.
For the Hulls it’s difficult to fully grasp the enormity of the accomplishment and the career of the coach they will play for in college. VanDerveer won her first game at Stanford on Nov. 22, 1985. The Hulls will step on campus as freshmen in June of 2018.
“I can’t really put that number in my mind,” Lacie said. “It’s so many games and such a great achievement. It’s really exciting for me because I want to contribute to more wins to that number. I can’t wait to learn from her because she has so much to teach.”
“She took a team, when she came to Stanford, that had barely won to a team that won national championships,” Lexie added. “It’s exciting to play for someone … who shaped basketball in general.”