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Pitt Women's Basketball

Once a Mountaineer, WV Native Marley Washenitz Searching for New Opportunity; Visits Pitt

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Senior guard Marley Washenitz thought she had her college plans figured out.

The native of Fairmont, West Virginia gave her commitment to the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball program back when she was a sophomore. Unfortunately for Washenitz, like it has for millions of people around the country, COVID had a major impact on her life.

Washenitz was informed in the middle of January by the Mountaineers program that due to some of their 5th year athletes deciding to come back because of the extra year granted to all college athletes because of COVID, that the team no longer had a scholarship available for her and her commitment was no longer valid. So, after being committed for two-plus years, Washenitz had to start her recruiting process from scratch.

Fortunately, Washenitz is a talented player and major programs showed immediate interest. In fact, hours after announcing her news on Twitter, she received her first “new” offer from Lance White and the Pitt Panthers. Since then, the Panthers staff has made her a recruiting priority and that culminated in the talented guard making a visit on Thursday to Pitt.

Pittsburgh Sports Now had the opportunity to speak this morning with Washenitz to get her thoughts on her first visit to Pitt and what this last month has been like for her emotionally. It couldn’t have been easy to start the recruiting process all over again after thinking for the longest time that you’d be attending college at your hometown university.

“When it happened, it really caught me blindsided because of the fact that I was committed for almost three years now,” said Washenitz. “I was committed for so long and thought I had my future planned out. When it happened, I tried not to get super emotional about it. I never really cried or anything like that, but it did take an emotional toll on me because I thought to myself maybe I’m not good enough to play in college, maybe I’m not good enough to play at that school, maybe this was just because of me. I was caught off-guard, but I knew that God had a plan for me and there was another plan that he wanted me to take. I’m really excited now because I’m having the opportunity to look at other universities that I previously never had a chance to look at before and I’m really excited about the process.”

Something that helped Washenitz out tremendously was the fact that Pitt contacted her immediately and she didn’t have to wonder for long what type of interest she’d receive from other schools, considering how late it is in the recruiting process.

“It was really reassuring because I knew that there are other schools out here and other schools that want me. They have faith in me, they see something in me, they saw what WVU originally saw in me. It was reassuring to know that it wasn’t just WVU that I could play at and their other schools that believe I can play. It was really eye-opening to me.”

“Coach White and Pitt have been super energetic, super excited,” said Washentiz. “They have been very understanding of the situation. One thing that was really stood out to me is that Pitt’s coaching staff and a couple of other staffs have told me to take my time and take as long as you need. They know the situation and seem to really understand it and know the emotions I’m going through. That’s stuck with me because most coaches at this time because it’s so late because we report to college in like four months, they’d want a decision and would tell me that they want to know. The way that Pitt is taking their time with me and letting me do it on my time, really means a lot.”

Pitt is obviously a place that Washenitz is considering and yesterday, met the Pitt staff as she made a visit to the campus.

“I thought it was amazing. The facilities, the campus, the dorms it’s all top notch at Pitt. That’s what the coaching staff was saying to me, at Pitt, when they do something, they’ll do it until their No.1 or the best. That’s nice and shows me that they’re competitive and that’s how I am as a player, I’m a very competitive person. Coach White always says that about me is that he likes my will to win and my aggression.”

“The thing that stood out to me the most was the team chemistry. I watched practice that day. The teammates can joke around with one another and are all super supportive. If they make a mistake, they don’t get on them, they’re supportive. But when they do something wrong, they let them know about it, but they do it in a way that they still have their backs. When I did my photo shoot, some of the players stayed to do it with me instead of just going back to their dorms. It was really nice to see the team chemistry that they have.”

Washentiz has also made visits to Villanova and UMass and hopes to have her mind made up by March or by the end of her high school basketball season.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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