Basketball: Bison standout Heaven Hamling surprises Detroit Lakes seventh graders

NDSU Women's basketball senior Heaven Hamling stopped by Julie Bernston's seventh-grade classroom to surprise some youth hoopsters.

Hamling and Martin
North Dakota State senior guard Heaven Hamling poses with Detroit Lakes seventh grader Evelyn Martin. Hamling surprised Martin at her school last week. Photo courtesy Julie Berntson.

FARGO - Each school year, Detroit Lakes middle school teacher Julie Berntson has an assignment for her class.

To write on an essay on three people you would like to invite to dinner.

One of her students, Evelyn Martin, had a unique response. North Dakota State standout guard Heaven Hamling was one of her guests.

"What are the chances Heaven would write a letter back? That was my goal. So I put it on Twitter and Heaven messaged me back and said 'I want to talk to this girl!'" Berntson said.

Hamling did one step better than a letter. She arranged a trip to meet Evelyn in person. She along with her teammate Taylor Brown traveled to Detroit Lakes Middle School last Tuesday to surprise Martin and a pair of her teammates.


"I think it was more special for me than it was for her. Just seeing them being so nervous, the questions they asked Taylor and I, they were super into it. It was really special." Hamling said.

Berntson added: "They had the longest list of questions, everything from what song are on your playlists, what do you eat on gameday, how long have you played basketball?"

Hamling lunch visit
North Dakota State basketball players Heaven Hamling and Taylor Brown visit with some Detroit Lakes seventh grade students. Photo courtesy Julie Berntson.

Lunch wasn't the end of the visit. Hamling got to shoot some hoops as well against her new friends, and it sounds like a lasting friendship began.

"It kind of blew me away honestly. You step out on the court and you don't realize how many little kids are looking at you and looking up to you. It really puts a different perspective in your eyes." Hamling said.

Berntson said: "Evelyn watches her games like it's film. She tries to do those plays in her 7th grade basketball tournaments and for one Minnesota girl to look up to another Minnesota girl that made it to D-I it was a cool story; and it turned into something way bigger than I thought it could."

Hamling visit
North Dakota State women's basketball players Taylor Brown and Heaven Hamling pose with a group of Detroit Lakes seventh graders last week. Hamling and Brown made a surprise visit to Detroit Lakes Middle School. Photo courtesy Julie Berntson.

Dom Izzo is the Sports Director at WDAY-TV. He began working for WDAY in 2006 as the weekend sports anchor and was promoted to Sports Director in 2010.
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