By Dylan Tehada
Devon Brookshire is packing up her bags for Germany as she continues her professional career playing ball in Europe. Throughout the offseason, Brookshire has been preparing for her seventh season in Europe and working on her game at the UPB facility. As she continues her offseason grind, we took a moment to speak with Brookshire about what led her to the path that she is on currently and what the game of basketball means to her.
Brookshire began her basketball career at the age of five where she fell in love with the game. Ever since she picked up a basketball she has worked on her craft and developed a strong passion for hoops. She attended high school at Bishop Montgomery in Torrance, California where she won All CIF 3 times and led her team to two CIF Finals appearances. After an impressive high school stint, Brookshire took her talents to the Big 10 where she began the next chapter of her career at Northwestern University on a full ride scholarship.
After two years playing for the Wildcats, she transferred to St. Mary’s University where she wrapped up her college career. Throughout her young career, Brookshire was inspired by WNBA players such as Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker to one day play professionally. She recounts how watching her role models at a young age made her determined to pave a professional career for herself.
“I [loved] Lisa Leslie. She's on the Sparks. I'm from LA. We would go to all the games. Then when Candace Parker came [to Los Angeles] I would watch her games at Tennessee and take notes and then go practice her moves in the backyard. So I think those two really stand out from a young age for sure,” Brookshire said.
Looking up to these role models and continuing to work on her craft served Brookshire well as she embarked on her own professional career in Europe after college. She began her career in Ireland and since then has played in countries all around Europe such as France, Spain, Latvia, Portugal, Sweden, Australia, and now Germany. Playing basketball in another country presents a great deal of obstacles whether it be getting accustomed to different cultures or adjusting to different rules in basketball. Brookshire faced these challenges head on and maintained her love for the game. Her key to finding success while playing ball in Europe: adaptability.
“I think adaptability, especially going to a new country, a new culture, a new team. Every season, you have to learn how to adapt on the fly. And not only off the court, but on the court, like what does this team need for me? What does this coach want from me? But how can I still be me in those situations? I think that's the biggest key to lasting overseas,” Brookshire said.
As she prepares for her seventh season in Germany, Brookshire has been honing in on skills she seeks to develop and also prioritizing in game reps to expand her skillset. After her season in Sweden finished in March, Brookshire quickly transitioned into another season playing in Australia. Since focusing on getting in game reps has been her focus, Brookshire has been playing most of the summer and has only had about a month off to train and recover from the two seasons she’s played in this year. During her offseason, Brookshire has been training at UPB with Coach Packie Turner and has been focusing on specific skills such as her mid-post moves and shooting ability as a stretch four.
Another key to Brookshire’s basketball success has been how she hones her mental skills. Throughout her career she has been a strong advocate for training the mind in order to help players reach their full potential and has taken plenty of action in this area of the game. As a psychology major in college, Brookshire learned firsthand the importance of training the mind and how helpful it can be to enhance your life on and off the court.
She is a former RISE athletes mentor, which aims at inspiring young athletes and improving their sports performance. Currently she offers mindset coaching via one on one sessions and seeks to continue making an impact in spreading awareness about training the mind. UPB and Brookshire share this focus on mental skills training, and in fact this exact aspect of the game that UPB strives to advocate for is exactly what drew Brookshire to work with Coach Packie and train at the facility.
“[Training the mind] drew me to Packie and to UPB basketball. There's been that component from the beginning of this organization. So that was really important for me, and Packie has such a good understanding of the mental side of the game, and has helped me so much with it,” Brookshire said.
Brookshire is continually striving to make her impact on the mental side of the game of basketball. Whether it be working with young athletes to give them tips and advice about how to best practice mental skills training or working on honing her own mental skills, Brookshire seeks to share and deepen her knowledge of the mind. She preaches that the first step to training the mind is simply taking a deep breath.
“I would say, the easiest way [to train the mind] is just to start with the breath. Even in the morning, take 10 deep breaths and you can see how that changes. That's something that takes two minutes, and can really just start your day on a good note. I think it really all just starts with awareness and being aware of how, you know, we're responding to certain events and controlling that as well,” Brookshire said.
We are excited to see Brookshire continue her career in Europe and know she is in store for a great season. We wish her all the best in the upcoming year and are looking forward to training with her again soon!