Change is a constant for former Neuqua star Wisdom-Hylton
By Paul Johnson For Sun-Times Media August 13, 2011 8:06PM
Caption: Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, who was a basketball star at Neuqua Valley, joined the Chicago Sky in June after being traded by the Los Angeles Sparks. | Photo by Gary Dineen
Updated: October 3, 2011 11:55AM
Basketball has been a huge part of Chicago Sky center Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton’s life.
The former Neuqua Valley standout and Purdue star was preparing for her third season with the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA in June when she got her first taste of the unpredictable business end of basketball.
The day before the season was to begin, Wisdom-Hylton was shipped to the Chicago Sky for a second-round pick, abruptly ending her stay in Los Angeles playing alongside Naperville Central legend Candace Parker and sending her back home.
“It’s a business, I understand that,” Wisdom-Hylton said. “It was the last day of training camp, and it happened in 24 hours. I was on the phone with my agent and the GM in L.A., they had a roster in mind and I wasn’t going to fit into that style. They worked to get me to a good team and something that would work for me. I was sad at first to leave L.A., but I was happy to have this kind of opportunity to come back.”
In Los Angeles, Wisdom-Hylton was the young player on a team of established veterans, many of them married or with children. Despite the fact that Parker is one of them, a mother who is married to NBA player Shelden Williams, the two bonded, with Twitter junkie Parker (@Candace_Parker) even starting Wisdom-Hylton on the social networking site (@Wisdom_14).
“She helped me so much,” Wisdom-Hylton said. “I didn’t know what to do or where to go, and she helped me along. It’s different because she’s married and has a baby, so that was different than when we grew up, but I was at her place like four days a week hanging out.”
In 22 games this season with the Sky, Wisdom-Hylton has played in 22 games, averaging 9.4 minutes and 2.1 points per game as the Sky has jumped out to an 10-13 record under first-year coach Pokey Chatman heading into Friday night’s home game.
“We’re a good team, we just have to be consistent and sustain that,” Wisdom-Hylton said. “We’re starting to click. We just want to get into the playoffs. We have the capability of doing that.”
The reality of being a player in a league like the WNBA, which is still struggling to maintain a foothold in the American sports scene, is playing overseas in the offseason. Last winter, Wisdom-Hylton played 11 games for Elitzur Ramla of the Israeli League. She has also spent time in France and Greece.
“Israel is more Americanized, so you can adapt easier,” Wisdom-Hylton said. “Everyone speaks English. My first year in Greece was tough. They speak Greek. It’s a different lifestyle. It’s crazy that we hop around like that. It’s tough for me to go over there that long. I talk with my agent about getting deals in spurts. I wanted to try different places and travel and experience new things, and I lived it.”
Wisdom-Hylton admitted that the life span of a professional basketball player averages three to five years, but she still sees herself playing until her early 30s if possible. But she has already started pursuing her next career, coaching.
She stepped in as an assistant coach during the 2009-10 season at her alma mater, Purdue.
“At first, I didn’t think I wanted to do that,” Wisdom-Hylton said. “Now, I’m getting older and I realize that it’s something that I’d like to do. Basketball won’t last forever. I have to start moving in that direction. I’m taking steps to get the word out there.”