Gopher Sports: Introducing Erin Hedman

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Up next, it's Erin Hedman, a 6'2 native of New Berlin, Wis., who attended Eisenhower High School. A four-star recruit according to ESPN, she was the 75th-ranked player overall in the class and the No. 8 post player. Hedman earned AP Honorable-Mention All-State honors, WBCA Division 2 All-State recognition and was a McDonald's All-American Game nominee as a senior after averaging 12.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. She was named second-team all-conference as a junior after averaging 8.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.

GopherSports.com: What was your recruiting process like?
Erin Hedman:
"I got out of my freshman year and started being recruited by Iowa State, Wisconsin and Iowa. The following summer I played AAU with a different team and during one of the later tournaments I got attention from Minnesota, but I didn't think much about it at the time because I was still trying to figure out what I wanted. I then started taking some visits, and I came on a visit to Minnesota before Athletes Village was built. I didn't have an offer at that point, but I had seen everything and thought it was the coolest thing ever. The next summer I got offered and came for a few visits and I just loved it here. I had committed my junior year before October, came on an official visit and it's just been great ever since."

GS: What made you decide on Minnesota?
EH:
"I really connected with Coach Whay, and especially with her being so fresh out of the WNBA, I felt I understood her from a player perspective and obviously now as a coach. I just connected with her and the staff really well, and we all had the same vision on things."

GS: How familiar were you with Coach Whalen and all the success she had in her career?
EH:
"Yeah, it was crazy to know that she was coming to coach after all her success, but it's awesome. She's giving back to the university and bringing her success and talent here."

GS: Did you have to take a step back and appreciate that she was going to be your coach?
EH:
"Yeah, just because you watch people on TV and obviously you don't know them personally, but then it's cool building relationships and seeing how they really are off the court. You can see she's always very competitive, but she's one of the most genuine people I think I've ever met."

GS: Obviously COVID has altered just about everything in the country. How did it affect your senior season of high school?
EH:
"We lost, unfortunately, in the round before. We had to win two games to go to the state tournament, and we lost the first one and couldn't play the second one. The teams made it up to State, and I was going to be in the 3-point contest up there, but then it got cancelled like the day before."

GS: What have you been able to do to keep your game up?
EH:
"I've just been trying to do as much as a I can at home. I have a hoop out front, so I've been shooting and doing all that to keep my game up."

GS: How would you describe your game?
EH:
"Obviously I have height, but I like to be on the perimeter more and 3-point shooting is one of my favorite things in the world. I want to work on all parts of my game, but I'd love to be an outside threat and a mismatch for people, especially against bigger post players."

GS: You've had some time to practice with your Gophers teammates. What have been your first impressions?
EH:
"It's been great. At first I was really nervous because I think, from watching practices as a recruit, you don't know anyone so you're thinking like 'oh my gosh, they're like really scary college girls,' but a lot of girls have taken me under their wing, along with the other freshmen. My roommates are older girls who are transfers, and we're like sisters; it's great. I have so much fun every day going to practice with them, going to get food and spending time with them."

GS: Are there any particular teammates who have taken you under their wing?
EH:
"Klarke (Sconiers), Justice (Ross) and Grace (Cumming) have really taken us under their wings, and Kayla (Mershon) and Laura (Bagwell Katalinich), who are roommates with me and Caroline (Strande), they've been great too, getting us adjusted and stuff like that."

GS: Have you noticed a jump in the level of competition since working out with the Gophers?
EH:
"Yeah, I definitely have. It's interesting seeing the size in college, too; in high school it seemed like the average height was 5'3. It's interesting to see the strength and height difference and obviously the skill level, talent and work ethic overall."

GS: You'll be wearing No. 10 for Minnesota. Is there any significance to that number for you?
EH:
"My birthday is on the 10th so that was my cheesy reason as a kid for picking it, so I've always worn it over the years. And since it was available I took it."

Off the Court with Erin
Favorite Food:
Pizza (cheese or pepperoni)
Favorite TV Show: The Vampire Diaries
Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat: TikTok and Snapchat
Hidden talent: I used to figure skate competitively for 6-7 years
Favorite WNBA/NBA Players: Kelsey Plum and Giannis Antetokounmpo
Favorite basketball moment of your career: My freshman year we were really close on going to state but then finally sophomore year we made it. We lost in the championship game but it was so cool to be a part of that, knowing you're one of the banners on your high school wall.
 
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