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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Whyte emerges as pack Leader

    Gordon Bates
    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Davellyn Whyte wakes up early every Saturday morning to watch cartoons, and her most prized possession is a teddy bear named Cheeks, which has remained by her side for most of her life.

    “People make fun of me, but I really don’t care,” Whyte said, laughing.

    She lets her play do all the talking.

    The junior’s resume is already impressive. Whyte was named to this year’s preseason All-Pac-12 first team, and she is a two-time All-Pac-10 first team member. She joined Arizona’s 1,000-career point club as a sophomore last season.

    But Whyte still wants to accomplish one more thing.

    “I want to get my team to the NCAA tourney this year,” Whyte said. “I just want to have a really successful, productive year.”

    Before that can happen, Whyte needs to inherit the leadership role left vacant by Ify Ibekwe, the WNBA draft pick who led the team in scoring, rebounds, steals and blocks last year.

    Whyte knows that her team expects her to take on that role, and she knows what needs to be done to make that happen.

    “That’s where I’m trying to put myself. I know it’s really hard to be a leader and it comes with a lot,” Whyte said. “For the most part, I have some of the qualities a leader needs to have. I just don’t have all of them, so that’s what I’m working on.”

    Taking on a leadership role for the Wildcats is not a foreign concept for Whyte, as she has been asked to take on big responsibilities for this team since she came to Tucson her freshman year.

    On the court that hasn’t been a problem, but now that Ibekwe has graduated the Wildcats will be leaning on Whyte more than ever.

    “Coach (Niya Butts) warned me before I signed and said, ‘Well you know you’re gonna have to come in and play like you know how because that’s why we recruited you,’” Whyte said.

    And that’s exactly what she did.

    In her first year, she led the team in scoring with 15.7 points per game and also led all Pac-10 freshmen in scoring. Her total points scored (487) and scoring average were both the second highest totals for a freshman in Arizona history. With 67 3-pointers, she tied for the fourth most in program history.

    To top it all off, Whyte was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, becoming the fourth player in team history to receive that honor. Her personal favorite moment from her freshman year was when she dropped 39 points on Oregon, the second highest single-game point total in the Pac-10 that year.

    “When I got here, it just felt natural. I didn’t feel overwhelmed or anything,” Whyte said.

    But despite her personal success in her first year, Whyte was still unsatisifed by her performance last year, when the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament by a few games.

    “I came out hard my freshman year,” Whyte said. “Last year I kind of, I would say, relaxed but was at a standstill. I’m looking to pick it up from last year.”

    Whyte said she needs to work on improving her mid-range game.

    “Davellyn Whyte is coming off a great year last year and the year before; she’s great,” said assistant coach E.C. Hill. “There’s things that I want to work on her game. There are things she can get better, but she’s already a good player. I’m just trying to tweak and polish what she’s already done.”

    When all is said and done, Whyte will go down as one of the best players in the history of Arizona women’s basketball.

    When she graduates, she plans on pursuing a career either in the WNBA or overseas. Until then, however, the “Phineas and Ferb” and “Tom and Jerry” aficionado will do all she can to takes the team somewhere it hasn’t been during the Niya Butts era — the NCAA tournament.

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