Freshman guard Brooklyn Pumroy has played a bigger role than expected for Terri Mitchell’s squad, but she certainly hasn’t shied away from it.
With junior guard Gabi Minix out, Pumroy has started five of the Golden Eagles’ six games. She notched 17 points in Marquette’s 77-74 overtime win over South Dakota State last Wednesday and helped lead the team to a 51-48 win against Fordham Saturday with 10 points.
Her efforts have already left a big impression on assistant coach Tyler Summitt.
“I think the major strength for Brook is that it’s there,” Summitt said. “It’s just a matter of getting her to be at the right place at the right time. She has so much potential, as you could see in the South Dakota State game, that she carried us. She and Arlesia (Morse) really helped carry us out with their shooting.”
While committing to one sport is a tough process for other players, for Pumroy it was always basketball.
The Fairborn, Ohio, native comes from a “basketball family,” and because of her shorter stature grew up idolizing point guards like Steve Nash. Her grandfather played collegiate basketball at Ball State and her father, Rick, played in high school before blowing out his knee.
“Knowing that about my dad, he was always a great athlete, and I know he could’ve done more,” Pumroy said. “It’s almost like me trying to do what he couldn’t do. I’ve never really told him that, but it’s motivated me.”
Pumroy helped Fairborn High School to a 21-3 record and an appearance in the district finals in 2011. She was named to the Dabbs Miami Valley All-Area First Team that season before sitting out most of the 2012 season with a knee injury.
Marquette at first seemed like a random choice for Pumroy, but after visiting, she fell in love with the family atmosphere the team displayed. Summitt has observed her family’s closeness and said she’s brought it along with her into college.
“We joke with her a lot about being from a small town, and about how she didn’t have that much competition,” Summitt said. “It wasn’t like there were a lot of Big East or Division I players where she was. But again, her family’s so close. Her brother, Jordan, had his first varsity game, and she was calling him wishing him good luck last time I saw her.”
Pumroy admitted she was expecting to learn more from the bench than on the fly and that she still has a long way to go regarding the basic IQ of the college game, but she has taken advantage of her position.
“I knew what my role was coming in here, and I knew that coming from where I’m from, there’s a lot more to basketball here than at high school. I understand that’s something I’m going to have to work on, and I work on it every single day.”
Her ability as a scorer has helped Pumroy make a name for herself so far, and Summitt sees it as one of her biggest strengths.
“She can shoot the three, hit a pull-up and take it to the hole,” Summitt said. “She has the big three in terms of coaching. It’s great to have somebody who can do that, because then they have to respect her, and that opens it up for everybody else.”
With that style, Summitt believes Pumroy will continue to contribute and fill a key niche in the roster even when Minix returns.
“It’s really about finding ways to facilitate within the structure,” Summitt said. “We give our players a lot of freedom within our structure, so she’s still trying to figure out, ‘Hey, am I supposed to do this, and what’s the best way?’ The sky’s the limit for her.”