Arizona women’s basketball

UA women's basketball: Whyte joins exclusive Ring of Honor

2014-01-14T00:00:00Z UA women's basketball: Whyte joins exclusive Ring of HonorBy Zack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

There are 49 names in the UA baseball Ring of Honor, 39 in football, 20 in men’s basketball, 18 in gymnastics and seven in volleyball.

Women’s basketball is a little more exclusive, with three.

Well, now four.

Sunday, Davellyn Whyte was inducted into the ring honor, joining Adia Barnes (1995-98), Shawntinice Polk (2001-05) and DeeDee Wheeler (2002-05) in the McKale Center rafters.

“There’s only three up there so that explains itself,” said Whyte, who was drafted by the San Antonio Silver Stars but is currently rehabbing an injury in Tucson. She’s also a volunteer assistant coach for the Cienega High School girls team.

“I just feel like I came in here and did what I wanted to do and kind of put my footprint on Arizona. Now I’m being rewarded for it.”

What she did was score 2,059 points (second in UA history), record 266 steals (second best), 431 assists (eighth) and grab 5.5 rebounds per game (ninth). She also started more games (126) and played more minutes (4,243) than any player, had the first-ever triple-double at the UA and was a four-time All-Pac-12 selection.

A product of St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, she’s one of coach Niya Butts’ proudest recruits.

So proud that Butts pre-recorded a video message Sunday thanking and congratulating Whyte because she didn’t want to cry.

Whyte stood with Butts, arm in arm, standing alongside her family, and watched on the big, new McKale scoreboard screen.

Afterward, despite a loss to USC, Butts was OK to talk a little bit about Whyte.

“It certainly was one of the highlights of the afternoon, having her name among some of the great players,” Butts said. “She accomplished an awful lot. Anytime you can walk into an arena and see your name and/or number hanging that says a lot about what you did.”

Before the game, the Star had a chance to catch up with Whyte.

When you first came to the UA, was making the Ring of Honor a goal for you?

A: “Well I kind of made goals for myself year by year, and my first one was I wanted to be freshman of the year in the Pac-10 back then. But the overall goal was that you want to be remembered. We didn’t have the best seasons, so I figured you have to do what you have to do to be remembered, no matter how the year went. ... So being in the Ring of Honor, people will remember.”

What’s been the biggest difference from college to the WNBA for you?

A: “The knowledge that all of the women have. Women — it’s not girls up there anymore. And everyone on the team is good and has done something in the past, whether they’ve been in the league for two years or they’ve been in the league for 17 years, you just have a variety of people and you know everyone is good.”

Has there been any players you played against or people you’ve met that had you star-struck?

A: “There’s probably one person on every team in warm-ups that I was just like, ‘Oh, my God’ — kind of — but on the court I’m like, ‘Whatever.’ But then after, you’re like, ‘I just played against Diana Taurasi, I grew up watching you.’ But during the game, you’re not thinking, ‘Oh, my God.’”

Do you see coaching as something you might do when you’re done playing?

A: “I got a little taste. I don’t think I’m completely ready to stop playing and coach. Even at practice, I find myself thinking, ‘You’re a coach, you’re not supposed to be in the drills’ ... it’s fun. I get to share my knowledge with younger kids that can use it. It’s selfish to keep everything I know inside, so I share it with people that want it.”

How did the opportunity at Cienega come about? And how has your experience been so far?

A: “I knew Coach (Paul) Reed when he was at Tucson (High) — he always would bring the girls in to play open gym. I just went up there a couple times and some of the girls were like, ‘Can you come back?’. ... It’s fun, but sometimes it’s challenging. It’s like I want to catch them up to where I am so fast because I want them to understand and be ready for the next level.”

What’s the best part about the WNBA life?

A: “The freedom. You don’t have a curfew, you’re on your own. You’re a grown adult, so you get told once, ‘This is what time the bus leaves. This is where you need to be,’ and that’s that.”

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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