Freshman Bockman achieves success as varsity basketball starter


Ellie Palaian

Freshman Devin Bockman dribbles down the court during the Knights game against Chapel Hill on Friday December 9th. The Knights won 64-30.

Ellie Palaian

At 3:45 p.m., when the end-of-day school bell rings, freshman Devin Bockman doesn’t head home. Instead, she has 10 minutes to get dressed and on the baseline in the gym, then after two hours of basketball practice, she heads to the soccer fields. 

Bockman started playing basketball when she was three years old, and her first coach was her mom, Danielle Ryan, otherwise known in the community as Coach Dee. 

“When she was two and three, she came to the gym with me while I was working because it was all nights and weekends,” Ryan said. “She would just jump in the car with me and kind of hang out with me, and she would always have a basketball in her hand.”

Ryan ran the popular church basketball league Haygood Hoops for six years before transitioning to a full-time job at Mary Lynn Elementary and then coaching basketball at Inman and Howard Middle School. 

She appreciates the connection basketball has created between her and her daughter. 

“It’s a love of mine,” Ryan said. “It’s always been something she and I have done together. We spent a lot of time together on the basketball court and it all kind of rubbed off on her, and I think it’s become a love of hers too now.”

Bockman is on the varsity girls basketball team and frequently starts on the court as a freshman. Girls head basketball coach Martravious Little says he didn’t have a hard time deciding to put her on varsity. 

“Devin has shown since day one that she loves to work,” Little said. “As a freshman I felt like she was one of my better cards. So it wasn’t a very hard decision [putting her on varsity], just based on her work ethic and the ability to want to learn.”

Bockman’s potential shows on the court, and Little believes she’ll be a great asset to the team in the upcoming years.

“She’s so young, she can shoot the ball and she loves to listen,” Little said. “So you have somebody that is full of talent and loves to listen, her upside is just amazing. She’s going to be big.”

Varsity girls basketball co-captain, Junior Briaiah Lewis, recognizes Bockmans effort and abilities on the court.

“She’s a great player, and she has taken on the pressure of high school basketball really well as a starting freshman. She works very hard. ” Lewis said. 

One of Bockman’s strongest attributes is her leadership abilities. She is the captain of her club soccer team, Inter Atlanta, and her leadership abilities are evident on the basketball court. 

“I’ve always said that on every team, especially on a team like ours that is young and full of soccer players, is that you need someone who can lead and can direct other players who might not necessarily know what they are doing or where they need to be. And she definitely does that,” Lewis said. 

As the captain of her soccer team, Bockman stepped into a new role. 

“It’s nice because I’ve never been [a captain] before,” Bockman said. “I definitely have to have a better attitude and just make sure I’m communicating with everyone on the team and make sure I’m a leader on the field.”

Bockman is the youngest of five in her family. She and her four older siblings were adopted by their moms, Ryan and Midtown’s principal Dr. Betsy Bockman. 

“I like [being part of a big family],” Bockman said. “There’s always someone you can talk to, and it’s a nice environment having a lot of siblings.”

Long-time friend and teammate in soccer and basketball, Alexia Davis appreciates Bockman’s leadership qualities.

“She’ll let us know what to look out for in a team, and after games she’ll let us know what we can work on to do better,” Davis said. 

Davis and Bockman have known each other since preschool and have been playing basketball and soccer together for years.

“It’s always fun. She’s like my best friend in sports,” Davis said. “We’re just always together and we have a relationship where we can always calm each other down and we’re always there for each other, and she’s just really great.”

Bockman is able to juggle basketball, soccer, and school very well. 

“She’s very disciplined, she’s very organized, and dedicated to everything she does,” Ryan said. “She gives 100 percent effort, and she’s done an amazing job of balancing both [sports and school] because they’re both very time consuming, both sports at this level along with being a student on top of that.”

Ryan has enjoyed transitioning from a coaching role to being able to support her daughter from the stands.

“It’s been so fun to watch her and just step into a role of being a supporter and a cheerleader more than a trainer or somebody talking about the x’s and o’s,” Ryan said. “I’m just really talking more about what it means to be a teammate, what it means to be a good leader, and just being really supportive of her. It’s been really fun for me to kind of step back and play that role only now.”

Off the court, Bockman’s overall positive outlook and presence creates a good environment for her friends and family.  

“She’s always positive, she’s always upbeat, she’s always smiling,” Little said. “She just has an attitude that people want to be around. She’s always giving off energy as opposed to taking energy.”