Associate Director, Communications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2011) – Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), in just her second year competing at the international senior level with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, is one of 13 female volleyball players worldwide to earn FIVB Hero status as designated by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).
“No matter what you can count on me to give energy and fight until the last ball falls,” Hooker said about being named an FIVB Hero through a video interview (click here for full interview). “My strengths are known for being positive on the court and giving as much energy as I can, as well as my hitting thanks to the sets from Lindsey Berg and Alisha Glass.”
Hooker helped the U.S. capture its second consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix title in August 2011. She finished the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round with 101 points for second in overall scoring. She totaled 90 kills, eight blocks and three aces, according to official FIVB stats. Hooker also ranked fourth in Best Spiker with a 42.1 kill percent (90 kills on 214 attacks), 11th in Best Blocker with 0.44 blocks per set and 13th in Best Server with 0.17 aces per set in the Final Round. She led the U.S. Women in scoring in four of the five matches during the Final Round, which consisted of three pool play matches, the semifinals and medal matches.
During the entire tournament counting the nine preliminary round matches, Hooker totaled 228 points (199 kills, 21 blocks, 8 aces). She converted 44.3 percent of her attacks with a .356 hitting efficiency. She led the team in scoring in nine of the 14 matches, including a personal-international high of 30 points against Italy on Aug. 25 (per unofficial DataVolley Stats, she registered 34 points in the match).
“Destinee is a great athlete and a great competitor, we love having her on our team,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “As for her future, she has unlimited potential and I expect she will continue to improve and cement herself as one of the best players in the world.”
Hooker enjoyed success at the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix despite knee surgery in March.
“I love my fans so much and want to thank you for your support, especially when I had my surgery in March,” Hooker said. “I had a lot of prayers and mail sent my way. I just want to say thanks and you guys are awesome.”
The FIVB recently began a widespread rebranding project, which includes a new corporate logo, as well as a whole new look and feel to its events. The new FIVB Heroes marketing campaign, which has the athletes themselves at its core, is a key element of the project.
“We are asking our top athletes in both disciplines – Beach Volleyball and Volleyball – to step into the spotlight and to further promote volleyball as a highly athletic and professional sport played around the globe and with a strong brand behind it,” FIVB President Jizhong Wei said. “This is what we are aiming for. No one can tell the story of our sport better than the athletes themselves. They are perfect role models – powerful, expressive and dynamic.”
In total, 13 female volleyball players have been selected as FIVB Heroes, and half are playing in Macau this week at the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round. Joining Hooker as FIVB Heroes for female volleyball are: Milagros Cabral de la Cruz (Dominican Republic), Sheilla Castro (Brazil), Manon Flier (Netherlands), Ekaterina Gamova (Russia), Simona Gioli (Italy), ), Joanna Kaczor (Poland), Yeon-Koung Kim (Korea), Saori Kimura (Japan), Margareta Kozuch (Germany) Jelena Nikolic (Serbia), Yimei Wang (ChinaKenia Carcaces Opon (Cuba).
Hooker’s rise to international fame started immediately after her four-year career at the University of Texas where she earned American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American first or second-team status three times. With just one month of training before her first international tournament, Hooker helped the U.S. Women’s National Team to the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix gold medal as she averaged 4.76 points and 2.46 digs per set. During the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round last year, she was the fourth leading scorer with 76 points and was seventh in Best Spiker with a 38.7 kill percent. Hooker led or tied for team-high honors in eight of the 14 World Grand Prix matches last summer. For the entire 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix, she converted 41.8 percent of her attacks into kills with a .330 hitting efficiency.
“The best day of my career was when Hugh McCutcheon subbed me in against Dominican Republic in the 2010 World Grand Prix game,” Hooker said. “Then, come to find out the next day we had to play Germany and he started me. That was the best day of my life right there.”
Hooker proved her 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix success was not a fluke and avoided a letdown during the 2010 FIVB World Championship held in Japan. She finished fifth overall in scoring with 219 points (185 kills, 23 blocks, 11 aces) during the premier event held every four years. Hooker reached 20 or more points in eight of the 11 matches, including the final seven matches of the tournament. She scored a season-high 28 points during the World Championship bronze-medal match against Japan. Hooker converted 45.4 percent of her attacks for 11th place in Best Spiker, while holding a .333 hitting efficiency. She ranked 16th in Best Blocker during the FIVB World Championship.
Hooker’s first taste with the U.S. Women’s National Team was during the 2008 spring season as she trained with the squad under then-head coach “Jenny” Lang Ping in an attempt to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. During that time, Hooker took a break from her education at the University of Texas and her highly successful indoor and outdoor track and field season. Aside from her exploits on the college volleyball courts, she captured the NCAA Division I outdoor high jump champion three times and won both the indoor and outdoor national NCAA title in 2009.
For more information on Destinee Hooker, see her USA Volleyball page at usavolleyball.org/athletes/destinee-hooker.
The new official site for the campaign is FIVBheroes.com, which includes features and TV clips of the heroes, and plenty of Volleyball background information, while the FIVB website is at www.FIVB.org.
From beach volleyball, 29 athletes were announced in June at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships in Rome, with the unveiling of a further 16 male indoor players at the FIVB World League finals in Gdansk, Poland, the following month. The majority of the players who have been chosen to be part of the campaign have won most valuable player awards at FIVB events. Priority was given to players who are expected to continue their careers for through the 2016 Olympic quadrennial.