Y'Cedria Devers - PSU Women's Basketball
For college basketball players like Y'Cedria Devers, saying "yes" to a scholarship offer and committing to a school isn't a decision taken lightly - it can mean months of conversations with coaches and family members, trying to determine which campus and team feel right.
But for Devers, a sophomore guard on the Pittsburg State women's basketball team, no other campus visit made her feel at home as much as PSU.
"The coaches here called me several times and I told them I wanted to go on more campus visits," said Devers, who grew up in a Tulsa suburb and earned Oklahoma All-State and All-Star honors for her talent on the court. "When I came here, I just felt like this is where I should be."
A bit of a prankster, Devers (cousin of three-time Olympic track and field champion Gail Devers) let her Pitt State coaches know of her decision by e-mailing them a picture she'd decorated with the Pitt State colors: "It was such an exciting time. I could hear them on the phone screaming for me."
Neither party has been disappointed: At the women's last game of the 2010-11 season, Devers scored 16 points against the University of Nebraska-Omaha, leading Head Coach Lane Lord to refer to her as "probably the best athlete" on the team.
"She works tirelessly to improve her shot; she has an innate leadership ability by the way she carries herself, and her personality lights up a room," he said. "Her best basketball is still ahead of her, but she is going to be a great student athlete for Pitt State over the next three years. She wants to be the best and she works hard."
For Devers, an early child development major who hopes to open a private school or daycare, PSU is allowing her to pursue her educational goals, as well. Her experience helping to raise her young cousins, whom her family rescued from an abusive home, left her with no questions when picking a degree program.
"In the back of my mind, I'm always thinking about my responsibility to them," she said. "When they get older, I hope they'll see they have this person in their life who pushed herself and was an example for them."
She's an example for her teammates and fans, as well.
"Being with my basketball girls is my home away from home," she said. "This place has everything to offer - great teachers, a friendly campus. This should be everyone's final decision."