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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-hoops seeing big impact from freshman

A head coach can only hope for a freshman to step in and take advantage of whatever opportunities she was given in her first year. Maybe she would make a few key shots in limited minutes or give some rest to the veteran players off the bench.

But women’s basketball guard Davellyn Whyte has far exceeded the expectations of a first-year player so far this season, and it seems her success was inevitable.

Just ask head coach Niya Butts, who saw something from her star freshman even before the season began.

“”She is just a freshman, but she acts like a junior,”” Butts said at the team’s media day prior to the season.

After a November tournament in New York, one in which Whyte took home the MVP honors, Butts had nothing but praise for her first prized recruit.

“”I’m speechless about Davellyn. She’s taken the leadership role and taken ownership in the team,”” Butts said. “”What we’re going to do is just continue to stay out of her way and let her play basketball.””

And play basketball she has. Whyte, the team’s only true freshman, leads the Wildcats (5-1) in scoring by averaging 13 points a game and is coming off a 19-point effort against Nevada.

A graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, Whyte was heavily recruited by the nation’s top programs, including hometown school and Wildcat-rival ASU.

She credits the coaches as the reason for her decision to head south to Tucson, and attributes her ability to find success in games to their ability to point out her mistakes.

“”Our coaches, they’re hard on us,”” Whyte said. “”We do stuff right but at the same time they find the little things, so we don’t get too comfortable with them saying ‘good job’ all the time.””

“”They really push us so when it comes to game time it’s a little easier.””

In the six games Arizona has played this season, Whyte has proven to be an integral part of the offense with her ability to create scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates.

Even for someone who has experienced so much success before playing at the collegiate level, the 2009 Gatorade Arizona player of the year was cautious to assume a starting role entering the season.

“”I knew nothing was guaranteed when I came in, so I knew I just had to play hard,”” Whyte said. “”I figured let me just start from the get-go with pre-season workouts before practice even started. I was just working really hard.””

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