Hannah Hidalgo has been latched onto the court this summer.
She went from representing the United States at the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Hungary to competing in The Chosen League at Friends’ Central School. There hasn’t been much downtime for the 5-foot-6 point guard.
“I was off for about a week,” Hidalgo said. “I went to the Shore with my friends, but it’s been crazy, and this month is just getting crazier with all the leagues that I’m in, then high school starting up.”
Entering her senior year at Paul VI, Hidalgo is ranked as the No. 5 recruited nationally in the 2023 class by ESPN. She had several college offers at the end of her junior year and recently narrowed it down to six schools: Notre Dame, Michigan, Stanford, Duke, Ohio State, and Central Florida.
Stanford went 32-4 and reached the Final Four last season. Four of those six teams vying for Hidalgo’s services (Notre Dame, Central Florida, Michigan, and Stanford) were in the top 20 in the final NCAA women’s basketball NET rankings.
“All the schools that are recruiting me have a great staff and a great environment,” Hidalgo said. “But I guess I looked at what schools would fit me and my parents the best, academic-wise, the safety of the campus.
“I can come in and kind of make an impact with those programs. It’s going to be a tough decision, with all the top schools that are there, so my parents want to help me. There’s going to be constant prayer, praying and hoping that God will help us out with our decision.”
Hidalgo plans to visit each school before announcing her commitment, which could come as early as September or October.
Hidalgo was one of 12 girls — and only two from the 2023 class — to represent Team USA at the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup.
Her biggest takeaway from competing over the last few months is compensating for her size. Competing with older girls at the U17 level taught Hidalgo to finish at the basket by utilizing her speed to find open space, then following through with her shots.
“There was a lot of animosity that I had to overcome,” Hidalgo said, referring to playing for Team USA. “It was like nobody was there with me to help me overcome it, so it was definitely overcoming that type of animosity after playing against all those types of girls all over the country.”
» READ MORE: Paul VI star Hannah Hidalgo is showcasing her skills for USA Basketball on an international stage
Besides maturing on the court, Hidalgo has emphasized consistency in her workouts. She focused on improving her outside shots and coming off screens better, all of which she hopes to carry over into her final season at Paul VI.
Paul VI finished 24-4 last season led by head coach Orlando Hidalgo, Hannah’s father. The team lost in the final of the South Jersey non-Public A tournament to St. John Vianney.
Now, Hidalgo, a two-time South Jersey girls basketball player of the year, seeks the final step — a state championship. She averaged 26.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists last season.
“All the three years that I’ve been at Paul VI, we haven’t won a championship yet,” Hidalgo said. “We have the talent, but unfortunately, we’re just a piece short from actually getting there, so I’m hoping to win the state championship and get 2,000 points.”
But her summer showcases aren’t over yet. Hidalgo will compete at the girls Under Armor Next Elite 24 game Aug. 12 in Chicago, which features 24 of the top high school players in the country.
“Another big one; a lot of top girls,” Hidalgo said. “We’re going to be in there with the top 24 girls. … There’s going to be a great atmosphere.
“With all the people out there, being able to get that type of recognition and being ranked top five in my class is just phenomenal.”