Washington State guard DaVonte Lacy is an all-Pac-12 player, but he wants to be remembered for his ability to impact his teammates through his leadership abilities.

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BY BEAU BAILY

While a high school student in Tacoma, DaVonté Lacy spent early mornings before class in the gym, putting up shot after shot, developing his game.

It was then that Garry Ward, a prominent AAU coach in western Washington, knew Lacy was going to be special – on the court and off.

“You would want your son to model after him,” Ward said. “DaVonté Lacy is a great young man.”

Cougar fans are no doubt familiar with Lacy’s accolades on the court: The fifth-most prolific scorer in Washington State history, and a first team all-Pac-12 selection this season. A week and a half ago, Lacy broke Klay Thompson’s school record for career three-pointers.

But the 6-foot-4 senior guard, who is averaging 17.2 points per game this season, wants to be remembered for something much different.

“When people say my name, I don’t want to just be the basketball portion,” Lacy said. “I think if I did that, I’ve failed on my platform that I’ve been blessed with to affect so many people.”

Lacy said he wants to be remembered as someone who treated everyone the same, someone who made a difference, someone who impacted people’s day-to-day life.

“I’ve been told the quote if you change one person’s life, you change the world,” Lacy said. “I feel like with my platform, I have the ability to change a lot of people’s lives, maybe not drastically — I can’t give a hundred thousand dollars to everyone, but if I can say one thing, give them one word of encouragement, I think I’ve done a good job.”

Freshman guard Ny Redding said he turns to Lacy when he needs a leader, mentor, or motivator.

“It’s more than basketball, it’s mental,” Redding said. “He’s that first example of what a great college player should look like in terms of work ethic and in terms of what they’re doing off the court as well.”

Redding said it was tough for him adjusting when he first arrived to Pullman, but Lacy helped him believe in himself — pushing him to work hard and keep learning.

Ward said Lacy’s leadership qualities are exemplified by his poise, work ethic, and ability to set good examples. When Lacy is able to return home to Tacoma, he goes back to his roots in the gym teaching and helping the current crop of middle school and high school kids with dreams and aspirations of playing basketball on a larger stage one day.

Ward, whose coached NBA talent such as Isaiah Thomas, and Avery Bradley, said Lacy is a player who stands out. He said it’s Lacy’s hard work and ability to stay grounded that makes him a role model in his community — whether it be Tacoma or Pullman. He leads by example, spending countless hours in the gym outside of practice working on his game.

Coach Ernie Kent said it’s that kind of maturity and selflessness that make Lacy unique. Kent said he’s noticed him try to make a difference at Washington State, and build back a program that has not appeared in the NCAA tournament since 2008.

“I have a lot of respect for him for doing that,” Kent said.

Lacy’s leadership qualities are best illustrated through his role on a Pac-12 all-star team that traveled to China last summer. Kent said he heard coach Larry Krystkowiak say if he had selected captains, Lacy would have been one of his top choices.

“I had people from the Pac-12 office calling me after the trip telling me what a great job he had done in terms of his leadership, and putting his arm around some of the younger players that went on that trip to help them through that trip being over there in a foreign country,” Kent said. “To be submissive with his game but have the leadership capability that guys at that level — the all-stars in the conference followed him, and that says enough right there.”

This week, Lacy will put on a crimson uniform at least one more time in the Pac-12 tournament, and while no doubt he is in control of his emotions, his feelings are mixed.

“Kind of sad it’s coming to an end,” said Lacy, whose Cougars will face California on Wednesday at noon. “I’ve been here four years and it’s starting to hit me.”

Lacy is also excited. He’s excited for the next chapter of his life to begin, as well as the next chapter for WSU basketball — a program Redding said will feel Lacy’s impact for years to come.

This story is courtesy of The Murrow News Service, which provides local, regional and statewide stories reported and written by journalism students at The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.

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