By Brian McLaughlin, Student Staff Writer GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions are a guard heavy team this season, but one of their strongest post players and leading rebounder, De'Janae Boykin, has provided great balance on the floor.
Boykin has been a great addition to Penn State since transferring from perennial power, the University of Connecticut (UCONN). She has always been a top player on the court but finds great inspiration from her brother Joshua off the court. Joshua has been legally blind since birth but has always been a great presence for De'Janae.
"Growing up we've always gone to school together; we've always just been that brother-sister duo no matter what. So him just doing his thing, and knowing he has this disability, I know he is still striving because that's what everybody else is doing because he wants to be treated like everybody else," Boykin said. "Just seeing him doing that has helped me be able to come here and play basketball and be a leader for him."
Boykin has been a true leader this season for the Lady Lions, averaging 8.2 rebounds per game. She also adds 6.1 points per contest. While just a sophomore in eligibility Boykin has added a veteran presence to the team even though she is still getting into the speed of college basketball.
"De'Janae is really still learning the college game and has not played significant minutes for almost three years before this season despite her immense talent," head coach Coquese Washington said. "She didn't play her freshman year at UCONN then had to sit out part of last season because she transferred here then got hurt and couldn't play the full season. She is still growing and improving every day just like the rest of this young team."
Boykin's journey has not been exactly ordinary for her path to Penn State, and one of the biggest aspects to her transfer to Penn State was to be closer to her family.
"My family comes as much as possible to watch me play. I am from Maryland so just like three hours away isn't that bad," Boykin said. "He (Joshua) doesn't always come up because he doesn't really like basketball and can't really focus in that well on it."
While it is difficult to take in a game for Joshua, advances in technology have helped him watch his sister play.
"He has these binoculars that really help him focus in on the games and get to see some action," Boykin said. "He also has glasses that help him see every day and help his vision a lot but the binoculars really help him pick up basketball and the speed of the game."
Boykin is extremely proud of her brother and knows he is on the path to success. She sees how hard he works and knows it gives her no excuse. Something that drives her mentally in her games. While she misses being with him in school every day, they will always have a special bond.
As is the case with most students in college, Joshua has been able to make his passion a potential future career.
"He plays video games 24/7. He goes to school every day (he is in college now) comes back home and plays video games all day and every day. He even creates games on the computer and things like that so he is really into it and seems really good at it. He is definitely going to try to make a career of it," Boykin said.
As Boykin's sophomore season is beginning to wind down she hopes her family can make it to a few more games, including any postseason opportunities the Lady Lions might have. She will continue to strive to adjust to the college game and emerge as a strong scoring threat in the post as well as her rebounding prowess. As her game evolves, the inspiration from her brother will always be the driving force in her play.