Friday November 27th, 2015 7:28PM

Dream provide lessons, entertainment in Gainesville practice session (Video)

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
GAINESVILLE -- Like every young athlete, Taylor Hawks harbors dreams of turning her love of sports into a career.

On Tuesday she got a chance to see a little bit of what that takes up close and personal, as the WNBA's Atlanta Dream traveled to Gainesville to conduct a public practice session.

"Look at their wingspan, their dribbling, their handles and how tall they are; it's pretty incredible," said Hawks, a Gainesville High freshman that watched the Dream go through their paces at Gainesville Middle School. "It's very exciting to see the WNBA come and practice in our gym, just a great experience."

It was exactly what the Dream and Gainesville City School System had in mind when the two entities opted to provide the opportunity for area basketball fans -- as the six-year-old WNBA franchise conducted a full practice, along with autograph and interactive sessions.

"It's always a lot of fun seeing the kids and seeing their faces light up. It's all about them," Dream standout Angel McCoughtry said. "They definitely need role models they can look up to and it's great for them to have somebody to look up to and somebody that can inspire them. When I was young I wish I had seen something like this."

For Gainesville, and all area sports fans, it represented the first of two similar opportunities this week. The Atlanta Falcons will also conduct a practice session on Friday at Gainesville's Bobby Gruhn Stadium in City Park.

"It really is exciting," Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Merrianne Dyer said. "It's great for our students to be involved; it broadens their horizons. We know we've got great pro teams around, but to have them come be involved with us is exciting.

"(The students) are opened up to meeting the players, therefore they kind of have aspirations beyond high school days, beyond college days."

McCoughtry -- who scored 11 points on Saturday in her second straight WNBA All-Star start as a member of the Dream and has helped lead Atlanta to an 11-5 record so far -- is glad to play the role model and hopes that the Dream's appearance on Tuesday can make even the slightest difference to all the young hopefuls in attendance.

"I think it gives them a sense of hope and excitement and motivates them a little bit to achieve their dreams -- to see athletes that have the routes they took to where they are to inspire them a little bit," McCoughtry said.

Judging by Hawks' reaction, it was mission accomplished.

"Learning everything they do, see how they got here and just learning is what I'm doing," Hawks said.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Big Red Shootout: Buford foils Lady Elephants' upset bid in finale
Buford junior Camille Anderson knows to forget about the past during games.
11:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Boys basketball: Knights rebound with win over Centennial
The Johnson boys bounced back after a loss to Grayson on Friday with a 94-72 win Saturday night over Centennial in the Duluth Jingle Jam.
10:43PM ( 1 year ago )
Girls basketball: Dawson falls in Battle of States finals
Dawson County fell behind early and could not complete the comeback in a 70-65 loss to Hayesville, N.C. in the championship game of The Battle of the States Tournament Saturday night.
10:38PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Sports
Falcons fire offensive, defensive line coaches
The Atlanta Falcons have fired defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn.
7:02PM ( 1 year ago )
Best, worst of Falcons' 4-12 season
Best Game: They'd been eliminated from playoff contention previous week vs. New Orleans, but the Falcons showed some heart with Dec. 1 overtime victory over Bills in Toronto.
6:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Gonzalez's career ends with another Falcons loss
Tony Gonzalez is ready for the next chapter of his life.
9:47PM ( 1 year ago )
Professional Sports
(VIDEO) Game of the Week: Rabun County aims to surpass historic mark
Rabun County football has already caught up with history -- now the Wildcats hope outrun it.
8:58PM ( 1 hour from now )
Playoffs: Quarterfinals yield no let-offs for area programs
Even though things continue to get tougher the further you go in the playoffs, none of the five area teams still remaining would give up their spot as they prepare for Friday night’s quarterfinal action.
7:25PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Commerce just fine with underdog role
The underdog role suits Commerce coach Michael Brown and the Tigers just fine...
7:20PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Georgia Tech beats Arkansas 83-73
By Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory's lofty standards, Charles Mitchell could have collected 20 rebounds.
11:47PM ( 19 hours ago )
Falcons sign 2nd K Shayne Graham, waive LB Joplo Bartu
With Matt Bryant slowed by a right quadriceps injury, the Atlanta Falcons have signed kicker Shayne Graham.
11:41PM ( 19 hours ago )