“Benchwarmers” do not usually see the court much or contribute to the team with breaking off the charts statistics. Their vivacious cheering of encouraging words and chants are often heard from the sidelines point for point, set for set, match for match, for every game. Benchwarmers are not typically placed in the starting rotation of a game the following season or looked at as competition from teammates or opponents.
This was senior Sam Houston State volleyball outside hitter Deveney Wells-Gibson. But not anymore.
“The material part of her game seems to be catching up with her skill,” head coach Brenda Gray said. “She is physically stronger and more of a team player.”
Wells-Gibson went from being on the bench her freshman year to becoming the All-Southland Conference Player of the Year, two-time first team All-Southland Conference player, two-time Academic All-Southland player, three-time Southland “Player of Week” selection and the leading scorer of the Bearkats.
Two weeks ago at their home tournament, Wells-Gibson reached the 1,000 kill milestone a milestone only 23 former players have been able to reach in SHSU volleyball history.
Wells-Gibson sat the bench her freshman year but came in to serve from time to time. She totaled 22 kills the entire season, which is hard to believe now because she almost averages that every game.
Reaching the 1,000th kill was a surprise to Wells-Gibson.
“I did not even know about it until Tayler told me on the way to Denver,” she said.
Leading by example and positive energy took her benchwarming duties to a whole new level. She has been the team captain for two seasons and played a major role in the Bearkats winning the SLC championship title back in 2012.
Wells-Gibson works hard every day to not only better herself but the team.
“My words of encouragement and the fire I have come from within,” she said. “I constantly remind myself how far I’ve come and the people that have brought me to where I am; I play for them, not myself.”
There is no doubt that Deveney Wells-Gibson will leave a lasting legacy for the SHSU volleyball program. Her next goal is to become Player of the Year again, she said.
Wells-Gibson looks to help the team finish 3-0 in the Houston Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup this weekend.