Jimmies' Kia Tower, Hannah DeMars coming back for fifth year
Tower and DeMars are both in the top 10 in the Jimmies' all-time points leaders.
JAMESTOWN — On March 17, the University of Jamestown’s Kia Tower and Hannah DeMars announced via a joint statement on Instagram that they were both coming back for their fifth season.
“I just think after really thinking about it and a lot of consideration, Hannah and I both just realized how being given the opportunity to play next year was a blessing,” Tower said. “It almost just felt like a no-brainer because our team is so awesome and we have a great coaching staff. So, it was too hard to walk away from that was just so special to us.”
Part of their statement read, “Playing at the University of Jamestown has been nothing but the best, so we thought we would keep writing our story as long as possible."
DeMars said she was thinking about returning throughout her season but she officially made the decision when the Jimmies season ended.
“I was thinking about it all year obviously and throughout the season,” DeMars said. “But, once the season was over was when I really sat down and thought about it and made my decision.”
The thing that Jimmies women's basketball head coach Thad Sankey is most excited about with his backcourt duo returning is the fact that the program’s culture has allowed players to want to come back.
“It’s exciting and it’s rewarding because from a player’s perspective, they don’t have to come back,” Sankey said. “For me, my goal was to leave it 100% up to them, and our team has done an incredible job of creating an environment and building the relationships that it takes for players to want to play another year.”
The duo led the team in points during their senior seasons with DeMars averaging 17.9 points per game and Tower averaging 14.0 points per game.
The Jimmies season ended in the second round of the NAIA National Tournament on March 8. It was the Jimmies' first trip to the national tournament since the 2017-18 season.
DeMars said her decision to return was not influenced by the way the season ended. However, Tower said the way the season ended did influence her decision.
“I think that it probably had a little bit of an influence, just in making it to the national tournament for the first time and winning that first round,” Tower said. “We’re both competitors and we know that we want more and we know that our team can give more. So, just the competitive nature in us, I think how the season ended left us wanting a little bit more definitely.”
After the season ended, Sankey said he met with all of his players and that is when they told him they were coming back.
“After we got back from Montana we sat down a little bit and some of it was individual and some of it was together and talking through experiences and things like that,” Sankey said. “So, it was the end of last week when for them all the pieces fell together to say, ‘hey not only do I want to come back but I have the process down and I know how everything’s going to work out to be able to have me back.’ We knew we wanted them back the whole time, we wanted them to play for us for one more year and so it was really nice when the rest of the details fall into place.”
Both players will be finishing their degrees during their fifth season. Tower is an accounting major and DeMars is a physical education major. DeMars said she will be pursuing a master's degree in leadership and Tower said she will be finishing up the last few classes she needs for her undergraduate degree.
As of March 22, when they hit the floor next season, DeMars and Tower will be two of 10 upperclassmen on the roster. Now that their return is official, DeMars said she is excited to get started with offseason workouts.
“I’m a very competitive person so I always think we can improve on things as a team and me individually,” DeMars said. “So, going forward through the summer workouts and preseason and everything I’m really excited to get going and improve my game and improve as a team.”