New Kid on the Bluff: Deva’Nyar Workman

Joseph Guzy | For The Duquesne Duke

In April of 2014, Duquesne women’s head basketball coach Dan Burt announced the signing of Deva’nyar Workman to a National Letter of Intent. At the time, Burt said he was excited about Workman’s commitment to Duquesne and predicted she would make “an immediate impact on our program.”

An immediate impact is exactly what she has provided for the Dukes this season. Through 21 games, Workman has scored 11.3 points per game, good enough for second on the team. She credits her teammates with her immediate success.

“My teammates being there for me really helped me get more comfortable. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be doing as well,” Workman said. “A lot of players come into a Division I team and feel uncomfortable. But my teammates encouraged me to just play my game and contribute to the team. Everything is working out.”

Workman isn’t the only transfer student on the team. Junior guard Emilie Gronas and Workman instantly had a connection.

“She was actually the first transfer I met and we clicked on the first day,” Workman said, “We had the same mindset. We have to get in here, get comfortable and play our game.”

Workman, who is from Reading, Pennsylvania, transferred from Jacksonville Junior College located in Jacksonville, Texas after her sophomore season.

“Right after high school I had some offers, but I really connected with the coach (at Jacksonville),” Workman said, “Plus I figured I wanted to get as far away from my hometown at the time.”

“Texas sounded great,” she laughed. “Everything’s bigger in Texas!”

Workman earned the NJCAA Region XIV Most Valuable Player award with Jacksonville last season, led the Jaguars in scoring and finished 40th in NJCAA in points per game. Despite all of that, she wanted to be close to home. Three years after graduating, she remains the third all-time leading scorer with 1,513 points at Reading Senior High school, where she averaged 19.8 points per game, and was named PIAA AAAA Second-Team All-State in addition two-time All-Berks County Player of the Year honors.

“I wanted to be closer to home because I have a three-year-old son,” Workman said. “Being so far away was really tough on me. Being closer to him has made this transition even easier.”

It didn’t take long for Workman to come across Duquesne in her school search.

“I had somebody in Texas look for schools closer to home,” said Workman, “They (Duquesne) were interested in me and I was interested in them.”

The mutual interest eventually led to a visit which all but sealed the deal.

“I went on a visit and I really liked the atmosphere and the coaches,” Workman said, “That’s what really made my decision — making sure I liked the atmosphere, making sure I was comfortable and I really liked it.”

Being closer to home does mean more time with her son. But it isn’t always easy. Reading is a four hour drive from Pittsburgh. Distance is one thing, but scheduling is another.

“If we have two days off on the schedule, which we haven’t had much of lately, I’ll try to go home and see my son,” she said.

Off the court but still on campus, Workman is studying as a communications major.

“I’m not really sure what I want to do with it yet, maybe something behind the scenes like broadcasting.”

Workman spends a lot of her free time with the teammates who welcomed her to Duquesne with open arms. But her favorite way to spend it should come as no surprise.

“I spend a lot of time with my son. As much as I can. Every time I go home.”

Workman and her teammates return to the court Saturday, Feb. 7 against Virginia Commonwealth University at the Palumbo Center at 7 p.m.