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Wisdom-Hylton just getting started
By Josh Welge | Daily Herald Staff

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton

 

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Published: 3/13/2009 3:33 PM

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Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton shrugs off the suggestion her day is too busy for a long-distance interview.

"I have nothing going on tonight," she assured.

Her schedule is about to get a lot more hectic. Two days from now the Neuqua Valley graduate and the rest of the Big Ten runner-up Purdue women's basketball team will find out their destination for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Exhilarating as this time of year is, Wisdom-Hylton is also cognizant that her next game could be her last. Then there is the prospect of the April 9 WNBA Draft. On top of all that, Wisdom-Hylton is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in organizational leadership and supervision.

"Excited, yet terrified," her stated emotions. "The next month is crucial for my entire life. I'm not being stressed out about it, though."

That roll-with-the punches outlook has served her well.

Wisdom-Hylton brought a decorated resume to Purdue; Third team Parade All-America as a senior, she totaled 1,752 points and 1,200 rebounds at Neuqua Valley. She made the Big Ten All-Freshman team, was third team all-Big Ten as a sophomore and AP honorable mention All-America and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year two years ago as a junior.

Fate stepped in to sidetrack her that summer.

In August 2007, while playing for the USA U-21 team in Russia, Wisdom-Hylton went down with a torn ACL in her left knee.

"Especially in the manner it happened, being in Russia, I was kind of by myself," she said, "not with close friends and family. It wasn't too comfortable crying on people's shoulders. But I did it anyway."

The sisterhood of support was not far behind. Purdue teammate Natasha Bogdanova, who tore her ACL the summer before, cried with Wisdom-Hylton in a call to Russia. Another teammate, Jodi Howell, redshirted alongside Wisdom-Hylton last season with a shoulder injury.

"I had some down-and-out moments," she said, "but coach said I did better than she thought I would. I showed that the injury could stop me, but it couldn't break me."

Almost two years removed, Wisdom-Hylton now calls the injury a blessing in disguise. She stayed in college for another year "which is awesome - I don't want to go."

The 2008 WNBA draft class that included Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles and Candice Wiggins was awfully loaded. Meanwhile Wisdom-Hylton, still in school, had a chance to better herself.

This year Wisdom-Hylton is averaging a team-high 13.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for the 22-10 Boilermakers. Her knee still gets sore like any athlete's would - "my body's wearing down, I'm getting old" - but fears of reaggravating the ACL are gone.

"I think I've grown up, especially since my freshman year," she said. "I know the game more. Being out helped with my communications skills. Last year all I could do was talk."

Professional scouts have taken notice to her comeback.

Mock WNBA Drafts have Wisdom-Hylton penciled in to go anywhere from No. 12 to the Seattle Storm to No. 16.

Don't look for laid-back, humble Wisdom-Hylton on-line checking out her draft status.

"So and so is interested, so and so is coming to practice - it's all hearsay," she said. "Stuff like that, I go with the flow. I've been hearing things, but really what's important is doing well in the tournament. That can only help my chances."

Webster's calls "wisdom" the "results of acquired knowledge."

You can say the word fits the young woman from Naperville well.

jwelge@dailyherald.com