Lourdes' basketball star Hopkins picks Gonzaga

Ella Hopkins, a 6-foot-3 senior center at Lourdes, will play for Gonzaga University next year.

Lourdes, Lake City girls basketball
Lourdes’ Ella Hopkins (31) goes up for a shot during a girls basketball game against Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at Lourdes High School in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo
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ROCHESTER — Ella Hopkins is following a family trail.

Hopkins, a 6-foot-3 senior center at Lourdes, announced on Thursday that she will play college basketball next year at Division I Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.

It follows a trend in the Hopkins household. Older brother Jaxon goes there now and their parents, Matt and Kari, both graduated from Gonzaga. Ella Hopkins also had an aunt go to school there.

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"Gonzaga has always been my dream school," said Hopkins, who intends to study medicine. "I'd always heard from my parents about how good a school it is and how high their academics are. I wanted to go to a school that had great academics and I could play basketball."

She seems to have found both at Gonzaga. Its women's basketball program is among the nation's best. The Zags finished 27-7 last season and reached the NCAA Tournament, where they lost in the second round to No 1-seed Louisville.


Hopkins is familiar with their program, having followed it the last few years.

"They usually win their West Coast Conference, go to the NCAA Tournament and have a good showing," said Hopkins, who was offered on Sunday as a preferred walk-on with hopes of eventually earning a scholarship.

Hopkins said what drew Gonzaga to her was that she was a center who could score, inside and outside.

"Gonzaga liked my versatility as a player and told me that I have a lot of potential with my height and everything," Hopkins said. "I'm ready to improve. I like to work hard."

Hopkins becomes the second Lourdes girls basketball player in the last two weeks to announce that she'll play basketball in college. Lourdes senior guard/forward Vivica Bretton verbally committed to Winona State University the middle of September.

Hopkins is the kind of talent that college coaches covet these days. That is, an excellent 3-pointer shooter for her size and also strong and tall enough to take her game down low.

Hopkins averaged 14 points and seven rebounds per game for Lourdes last season, when it finished 21-9 and reached the Class AA state tournament.

The Lourdes senior has been working on her game since last season ended. Hopkins said she is concentrating on becoming more consistent and has committed herself to the weight room.


She said she's excited about what's to come next year at Gonzaga. But she also has something she wants to achieve on this Lourdes team, whose season begins in November.

"I'm really excited for this upcoming season," Hopkins said. "I think we have a good chance to get back to state."

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or
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