Arizona women's basketball star Whyte humbled by recent draft to San Antonio
Arizona women’s basketball sports information director Susie Epp had told Davellyn Whyte that she was going to get a quote from her if she got drafted, but Whyte was still surprised to hear the news.
During the WNBA Draft on Monday night, Whyte was at the UA’s C.A.T.S. Senior Awards Banquet and when Epp approached her, Whyte said she thought, “No, she’s just walking.”
“I can’t believe it; it was a shock,” Whyte said Tuesday. “I still don’t really have the words to grasp what I’m feeling right now.”
Whyte was picked 16th overall by the San Antonio Silver Stars, the highest a Wildcat has ever been selected.
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“It still hasn’t hit me, and I’ve talked to the coach twice now,” Whyte said. “I don’t know when it’s going to hit me — when I get there? I don’t know.”
Former UA greats are no strangers to San Antonio. Former men’s basketball players Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr played for the San Antonio Spurs, and Elliott now works as a television analyst for them.
“Davellyn Whyte is a player that had a stellar career at Arizona, and those of us here in San Antonio know that we’ve had some success with players from Arizona,” said Dan Hughes, the Silver Stars’ head coach and general manager, at a press conference. “She is a big guard, 5-11, has the ability to score from three, has the ability to play the point position as well as the off guard — that’s gonna be the real key. If she can do that, she’s really going to compete for a spot here.”
Whyte, a Phoenix native, said she liked the coaches in San Antonio and their uptempo style.
“I’m glad that it’s warm there, because I’m not used to cold weather,” Whyte said. “It’s just a good fit, and I’m just really excited for it.”
UA head coach Niya Butts said she is glad that Hughes picked Whyte but worried that she may have put a lot of pressure on her by singing her praises so much.
“Coach Hughes is a great guy. I’ve known him over the years, and I did speak with him after [Monday] night’s draft,” Butts said. “Dav, I think I put a little pressure on you now that I’ve talked to him and detailed about you, because I told him, ‘You’ve got a good one. You’ve got someone who can do a lot of things for you, and you should be excited.’”
Whyte said her father, Devon Whyte, who is currently a coach for the Chicago White Sox and played 17 years in Major League Baseball, taught her a lot of lessons about being a professional athlete and about sportsmanship.
“The little lessons he’s taught me through the years I think will help,” Whyte said.
Whyte was arguably Arizona’s best player ever, as she’s been named All-Pac-10/12 four times, has been the second player in UA history to score 2,000 points and had the school’s first triple double in February.
“It’s a proud moment because Davellyn is the first recruit we had that took a chance on us,” Butts said.
Whyte was the seventh Wildcat drafted in the UA’s history, the most recent being Ify Ibekwe in 2011 and Adia Barnes in 1998.
“I think it just shows that you don’t have to be at those big schools to get your name out there. Just play hard and represent your university and it kinda speaks for itself,” Whyte said.
Hughes said Whyte could start, but she said she hasn’t formed any expectations yet.
“I don’t know. I just think it’s too early, kind of, but at the same time, when I came here, coach Butts told me the same thing — like, ‘You can start if you want to. If you try hard enough and have the self motivation/dedication, you can pretty much do whatever,’” Whyte said. “I took that and I ran with it, and this is where it has got me. So if he’s going to tell me the same thing, I’m going to go in with the same mentality.”