Newcomer Profile: Joanna Hedstrom

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Joanna Hedstrom is one of three freshmen on the University of Minnesota's 2013-14 roster. A 6-foot-1 guard from Minnetonka High School, Hedstrom is a nationally-ranked recruit who received a four-star ranking from, and she holds Minnetonka's school records for career points scored and assists. She talks about staying close to home to play for the Gophers, the team she's watched since she was a kid, as well as her biggest basketball influence and something few people know about her.

How is the adjustment to college life going for you? Is it pretty much what you expected it'd be like, or have there been some surprises?
My adjustment to the college life is going well! I enjoy my classes, living in an apartment, and meeting new people. There haven't been too many surprises, but my very busy schedule has taken a little getting used to.

Did you feel as though you were prepared for summer training with the team? What might you do differently next year now that you know what to expect?
I think I was mentally prepared for this summer, and ready to work hard and get something out of each workout. But, next year, I will definitely benefit from being physically stronger going into the summer and having one more year of experience.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the program at Minnesota?
What I enjoy most about being part of the Minnesota program are the people! I love my teammates, coaches and all the support that we receive as student-athletes to be successful. I'm excited for my career as a Gopher.

Being from Minnetonka, had you always wanted to play for the Golden Gophers? What were the biggest influences on your decision to stay close to home?
Yes, I have always wanted to play for the Gophers. I have been going to the Gopher camps since I was little, and going to the games with my mom and little sister for years. I was even a "Ball Girl" at one point, too! Because of this, I could always imagine myself at the U. Ultimately, I chose to stay close to home and attend the University of Minnesota because of the great coaching staff and the visions those coaches have for the basketball program and the opportunity of a great education through the Carlson School of Management and Honors Program.

What is something that hardly anyone knows about you?
I can dribble the basketball with my knees.

When you're away from basketball and your teammates, what do you enjoy doing most?
Other than basketball, I love spending time with my friends and family, reading, listening to music, and waterskiing at my cabin in the summers.

Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to do before a game?
Before games I listen to music, get pumped with my teammates, and sometimes eat an apple or other light snack.

What are some artists or songs that are on your gameday playlist?
There is no one song that I listen to before games, but some artists that are on my gameday playlist include Drake, Macklemore, and Jay-Z.

How old were you when you started playing basketball, and what's your favorite basketball-related memory to this point?
I was in third grade when I first played on a team, but I remember dribbling a basketball in my driveway when I was even younger than that. My favorite basketball memory to-date is not a specific memory -- it's the ten years that I played AAU basketball. I played with Mikayla Bailey for nine years and Shayne Mullaney for one year, and in general, most of my best basketball memories are from AAU. I especially loved the competition, teammates, and traveling.

Who has been the biggest influence on your basketball career? And who is the player you admire most?
My parents have had the biggest impact on my basketball career. My dad developed me as a player by being an amazing coach and always rebounding for me, and my mom helped me with my basketball IQ and always taking me up to the gym to get better. The player I admire most is Courtney Vandersloot from the Chicago Sky. I love her passing ability and basketball IQ, as well as the way she is a leader on the floor. 

Do you have a nickname?
I was named after my Grandma Jo, so everyone who knows me well calls me Jo. Also, Amanda Zahui B. started calling me "Mojo" this summer. People from my high school team have called me "Nanners," and "Jojo" is another common one, too.

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