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Transfer going to work out for Devin Hefner at Marietta College

Marietta’s Devin Hefner soars past a North Carolina Wesleyan player and towards the basket during a 2019-20 regular-season win for the Pioneers. Hefner’s transfer worked out well for both school and player this past season. It appears it is going to work out well over the course of the next two seasons as well. Photo courtesy of Marietta College

Devin Hefner’s choice could have backfired on her. Brand new people to meet and brand new territory to tread at Marietta College posed quite the challenge.

This transfer marked her decision to move to a new college, after all.

Add in the facts MC women’s basketball head coach Kole Vivian had never welcomed a newcomer from another school in his opening years as the leader of the program, nor had he done so in his four years as a Pioneers’ assistant, as more obstacles.

Plus, Hefner already caught Vivian’s eye during her senior year at Parkersburg South. However, the planets failed to align. Coach Viv never persuaded his target to take an on-campus visit before her commitment to Ohio Wesleyan.

So, what was going to happen now? Would there be resentment? Was Hefner going to have to doubly prove herself to earn playing time?

Hardly.

Vivian’s excitement at Hefner’s consideration remained after her much anticipated visit to the Ohio school’s campus. This opportunity to add someone “high on our list,” according to the coach, rarely presents itself at the college level, but this appeared one of those matches made in heaven. Fans best believe MC wanted this union to happen, too.

Then it came to pass.

Things got fun as both player and team were off and quickly running.

The Pioneers’ transition game and quicker decision-making along with a larger variety of offensive plays snugly complemented its new wing player’s preferred style of play immediately. This led to a quick mesh between new player and team over summer ball before the 2019-20 season – comfort creating instant benefits on the regular-season floor.

Immediately offsetting some of the 27 points from the graduated Corrie Burkhardt and injured Cheyenne Barker on the offensive end of the floor was Hefner’s ability to create her own shot. Hefner’s on-ball defense then provided a shut-down option on opposing team’s best guards. Given how shaky the guard play was for the Pioneers this season, her ball handling skills eliminated some of the pressure from her young point guards, too.

Everything lived up to what Vivian grew accustomed to during Hefner’s normal games as a Patriot.

“You never want to put too much pressure on a kid who transferred in. But, we felt she was pretty good and she was going to be a rotation player and come off the bench for us. We were a little more inexperienced (as a team) this year but she definitely earned it. I would come into the office at 8:30 or 9 a.m. and see her working hard. She works her tail off and that is one of my favorite things about her,” said Vivian. “She (Hefner) really added a lot to us this season. If we didn’t have her we don’t win 14 games.”

But if you ask both coach and player, there’s more Hefner can improve on.

She, who was known for an aggressive scoring approach during her career at Parkersburg South, hardly measured up to her own projected scoring totals with just 11.2 points per game. Sure, there were a few 20-point scoring performances. Yet in many more games, Hefner waited too long to assert herself. While in others, she worried too much about stepping on the toes of her longer tenured teammates in Bailee Brooks and Alexis Enochs.

Though many may disagree with this approach, it carries the potential to serve her well in the next two seasons. Where she said she played too fast at times this season, now her basketball IQ and rapport with her teammates has only increased as she learned everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. Her in-game decision making and increased knowledge created an even more lethal player.

This transfer sure seems like it is going to work out just fine for Hefner and MC.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.

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