'The beast' soars to success
Wyatt maintains 3.9 GPA, dominates court
Comet guard Joie Wyatt jumps up for a layup against Solano Community College on Jan. 22 in the Gymnasium. Wyatt has maintained a 3.9 and has excelled on the court. Qing Huang / The Advocate
A student-athlete on the women's basketball team has etched her name into the program's hall of fame by being named its first Academic All-State award because of her 3.9 GPA.
Nineteen-year-old Comet captain and guard Joie Wyatt has excelled on and off the court throughout her life, but it was not until she became a part of women's basketball coach Paul DeBolt's team that she transformed into the strong, empathetic and mature woman she is today.
"I picked up a basketball when I was 4," she said. "I've been playing my whole life since then."
Not only is she intelligent, she is also the statistical offensive rebounding champion of the Bay Valley Conference. She has leaped to nab the loose ball near her team's basket 151 times. She stands only 5 feet 8 inches tall but is the defensive spine that has supported the Comets' 20-9 overall record this season.
"I'm going to miss Joie a lot - I think we all will. She has really been the glue to our group this season and we know it," DeBolt said. "Things will be different without her. She has really made a place for herself here."
Assistant coach Chanel Antonio said she has seen Wyatt develop over her two years at Contra Costa College. She said Wyatt is a very quiet person but has a presence that you notice immediately.
"And even more so when she isn't around," Antonio said.
Sophomore Wyatt never missed practices or games. She is very dedicated about being the best on the court, DeBolt said. She played in all 29 games this season, averaging 10.9 rebounds a contest.
Comet guard Tynisha Adams said, " She hustles every day on the court and gives off a good vibe to the rest of the team."
She is capable of playing almost any position on the court because of her athleticism, understanding of defensive and offensive positioning and quick reflexes. These talents were first put on display during her years at Pinole Valley High School.
"It was when I started playing for my high school that I started to think seriously about whether or not I would want to keep playing basketball after I graduated," Wyatt said.
Wyatt joined the PVHS varsity girls' basketball team as a freshman.
She did not get any scholarship offers to play for a 4-year university but could have gone to a couple different schools because she maintained an outstanding GPA during high school.
"It was DeBolt who convinced me to continue to play basketball," Wyatt said.
She said DeBolt told her that she could get the same education she would have gotten during her first two years of college at any UC or CSU without having to spend as much money if she enrolled at CCC.
"I was not as nervous as I was excited about joining the Comets' basketball team," she said. "I knew people would be more serious about the game. This is the next level, so I knew I had a better chance for my talent to be noticed."
During her first season with the Comets she played the offensive guard position. She was averaging about 15 points a game DeBolt said, but was injured early in the season, which slowed her progress as a freshman.
The injury came during a game against Ohlone College, Wyatt said. She went up for the offensive rebound and was pushed from behind.
"I hyper-extended my knee on the way down."
DeBolt said she got worn down last year and wasn't able to continue to play at a high level because of her injury.
"To prepare for this year she put in work in the off season. She spent a lot of time in the weight room, which made her stronger and more durable," he said.
Wyatt was able to top the stat leader board by becoming the defensive backbone of the team, playing the center position for the 2013-14 season. She was voted co-captain by her teammates during a team-building trip to Lake Tahoe in October before the season started.
Antonio said, "She is a silent leader - lets her actions speak for her on the court. That's who Joie is. She is a natural born leader."
She prefers the guard position but is happy playing center.
"I accepted that role on the court. I don't score as many points, but I get rebounds and help out the team in more defensive ways," Wyatt said.
Teammate and co-captain Jewel Rogers said, "She is a our big player at the post when we don't have one. She is a beast in the paint, no matter how short she is."
Wyatt's strong mind and perseverance have gotten her through more things than just important games. She has had turbulent times in her life. When she was 12 her mother died and she had to move from her home in Brentwood to her grandmother's house in Pinole. She has lived there for seven years with her three younger siblings.
"The transition was hard but I pulled through it," she said. "Basketball was my outlet."
Wyatt played basketball for Pinole Middle School while the pain was still fresh. During that period Wyatt became serious about her education.
She said, "It was in sixth grade when I got serious in school. I got in the mindset to always get an A and never settle for anything lower. I put school above everything else."
She plans to transfer to a local university. Right now she is thinking about transferring to San Francisco State to get a bachelor's degree in psychology. She also plans to continue playing basketball.
"To have person like Wyatt as a student-athlete is the best combination that any coach could ask for," Antonio said. "It's players like her who make you wish CCC was a 4-year and not a just a 2-year college."
Wyatt said she will miss everyone she has become friends with and that the past two years being a part of the women's basketball team at CCC have been very special.
"I feel more prepared to transfer than I was coming out of high school," Wyatt said.
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