Merritt Hempe, a senior forward on this year’s Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team, has been named to the 2016 SEC Community Service Team, the league office announced on Wednesday.
A native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Hempe has not only made an impact for the Lady Bulldogs on the court but she has also left her mark in the Athens community and surrounding areas through her service away from the game of basketball.
“Merritt is not only a great player on our team, but she is also a very special person, as evidenced by her service in the community,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “Community service is such an important part of our program, and Merritt has been at the forefront of so many projects that we do in Athens and the surrounding areas. It’s truly a coach’s dream to have a player like Merritt who is a fierce competitor on the court and a great ambassador for our program off the court. She is very deserving of this honor.”
Hempe has participated in and led a long list of community service efforts, including Special Olympics Homeruns for Hometown Rivals baseball game, Toys for Tots, writing Holiday cards for deployed soldiers, helping provide safe routes to school by partnering with Barrow Elementary, providing toiletries collection for the homeless, visiting Stroud Elementary throughout the year to encourage and mentor children, is an Alzheimer’s Walk Volunteer and Ath-Half Volunteer, and volunteers as an AAU coach and operations staff member.
A 2016 WBCA AllState Good Works Team nominee, she has also excelled in the classroom, placing on the SEC Academic Honor Roll three times.
The marketing major has started every game for Georgia this season and is third on the team in scoring and second in rebounding. Hempe has recorded four double-doubles this season and ranks 13th among the SEC’s active career leaders with 523 career boards.
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