DePriest gives back before looking ahead to EWU transfer

August 16, 2018

Leya DePriest basketball

Leya DePriest

Before she heads off to a new college women’s basketball team, Leya DePriest of Palmer traveled to Africa with her family.

The trip was more than just a vacation as they did some volunteer work.

“Africa was very fun, and quiet an experience,” she told me. “I went with my family and helped in an orphanage. We also went on a two-day safari. I loved meeting the kids and learning their culture the best.”

She returned with a fresh perspective on the verge of a fresh start.

DePriest, of Wasilla High fame, will transfer to Eastern Washington University after two seasons at the University of Denver, going from one NCAA D1 team to another. She will have to sit out this season per NCAA rules.

“This move was motivated by basketball,” she said. “I love the game too much to sit on the bench.”

The 6-foot-3 center averaged only 5 minutes per game during her two seasons at Denver. She collected a total of 31 points and 50 rebounds in 35 games, with most of that coming during a promising first season.

“After my freshman year at Denver we got a new coach. I didn’t fit into his style of play and I knew I wasn’t going to play,” DePriest said. “I started looking at different options. Once I got my permission to contact (other schools) I reached out to EWU.”

Eastern Washington coach Wendy Schuller recruited the all-state Alaska player out of high school, so she already had a relationship with the staff.

“I explained my situation and she said she was glad to have me,” DePriest said. “Unfortunately, I will have to sit out a year, but it gives me more time to learn the system and figure out my role on this new team.

“I know at EWU I have potential to play. I fit into their system, where they utilize centers. In the three short weeks I was at EWU this summer I have already seen glimpses of where I will help this team be successful.”