BEVO BEAT Volleyball

The active 2018 Texas Exes power rankings: No. 16 Destinee Hooker, volleyball

Posted May 1st, 2018

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We’re counting down the 25 best former Texas athletes still competing in their sport. Each day we’ll reveal a new athlete. 

Destinee Hooker celebrates after scoring a point in the second set during a Longhorns match against Texas A&M in 2009. (Patrick Meredith/for American-Statesman)

No. 16 Destinee Hooker, volleyball

Volleyball is currently the most successfully team-oriented sport being played at the University of Texas (there’s no arguing men’s swimming is the best program at Texas right now), and there may not be a bigger Longhorn volleyball star than Destinee Hooker. The 6-foot-5-inch killer on the outside helped Texas reach the volleyball Final Four and was even named the NCAA Division I volleyball championship’s Most Outstanding Player despite Texas falling to Penn State in 2009. She was also a two-sport star, winning four NCAA high jump championships. Her jump of 6’6″ broke an indoor track and field record. She left Texas a two-time All-American, 2008-2009 Big 12 Conference Female Athlete of the Year and the 2009 Big 12 Player of the Year.

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Pro career: Hooker joined the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team in January of 2008 while still at Texas. Her first tournament on the team was a gold medal-winning performance at he 2010 Grand Prix. In 2011 Hooker was named the MVP of the FIVB World Grand Prix. That same year she was named the Best Striker in the World Cup at the FIVB World Cup. At the 2012 Summer Olympics she was named the Best Striker as she helped the U.S. win silver. Hooker has played on professional teams in Germany and Brazil, where she was named the Brazilian Superliga “Best Striker” in 2016-17.

PHOTOS: Destinee Hooker through the years

Why she’s here: Destinee Hooker may be the third or fourth most famous international Longhorn athlete competing today. While professional volleyball may not be a thing in the United States — and beach volleyball definitely is bigger in the states — it is in other countries. But it’s not just that, it’s the Olympics as well. Hooker is arguably the best American Olympic volleyball player of the last decade despite not even participating in the 2016 games —  that seems to be a whole another story — and she is clearly one of the best outside hitters in the sport. Living in San Antonio in the offseason, hopefully Hooker will have another shot winning an Olympic gold medal, something America has done just once since winning gold at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, that would be at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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