Drexel Guard Maura Hendrixson was one to watch this season. The fifth-year hooper averaged the third-most assists in the country with 7.8 assists per game. She posted eight games with 10+ assists. She started all 30 games she played and averaged 36 minutes a contest. She knocked in 5.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals a contest.
As she finishes her time at Drexel, Hendrixson reflects on her college basketball career and discusses upcoming moves.
Carrie Berk: Why basketball?
Maura Hendrixson: I started playing basketball when I was about four or five. I have three older brothers who played in grade school and high school. I wanted to do whatever they did, so I went outside and played with them. I played both basketball and soccer growing up. Honestly, I was just better at basketball than soccer, so I decided to pursue that. I was really close with all my teammates, and they all wanted to play in college as well and go DI. I was influenced by them. My mom also really helped me out. She pushed me to be the best I could be. When I was getting DI offers, I realized how committed I was and how much I love the sport.
CB: What’s your most valuable asset as a player?
MH: My vision. I see the court so well. Everyone always says I can see the next play. Sometimes I would have these turnovers as I was throwing the ball because I saw the next play, but they didn’t see it. I also set my teammates up for the best opportunities. So, if I have a shot and I’m kind of defended but can still take a shot, I use the extra pass.
CB: How have you grown on the court over the years playing college basketball?
MH: My confidence has grown. When you come in as a freshman to a DI program, you’re not the best anymore. I was learning the system, the plays and how to play with everyone again. As I got older, I definitely got more confident on the court. Obviously, your coaches believe in you and what you do best, but at the end of the day, it’s about how you feel on the court. My fifth season, I was the most confident I’ve been in all five years.
CB: What has helped you build confidence?
MH: Practice—extra work, extra shooting, and playing one-on-one with the best players. I played with one of my teammates to get better on defense. Knowing the plays, knowing what was going on, knowing the scout, all the little things leading up to the game also built my confidence. As a freshman, I didn’t know how important that all is.
CB: Has it been difficult keeping up with a traditional college curriculum with your sports schedule?
MH: My major is marketing, so it wasn’t too difficult. I feel like it really just depends on your major. Some of my teammates are health/science majors, and they definitely have more work and tests. Time management is important. Our coaches had us up at 7 a.m., and we would leave at 7:30 so if we had an 8 a.m. class, we could get all our work done. My practice block was noon to 3, and we either had an afternoon or morning class. If I had a morning class, I would get all my work done in the afternoon. If I had a night class, I would do work from my 7 a.m. lift until practice.
CB: Who are some of your biggest inspirations off the court?
MH: Growing up, I looked up to Skylar Diggins from Notre Dame. I knew I wanted to play on a college team and be one of the go-to players. In college, I was inspired by my older teammates. As a freshman and sophomore, I looked up to Aubrey Brown. She was a fifth-year and knew the system so well. I wanted to be like her.
CB: What’s the best piece of advice your coach has ever given you?
MH: Have fun. It’s a stressful sport. It’s time-consuming, and it’s a very long season. Eight months you’re going at it, then you maybe have a week or two off, and then you’re in post-season, summer session and pre-season. It’s really a year-long sport. I have my ups and downs, but I always have fun at the end of the day and remember why I started playing basketball in the first place. I’m playing with my best friends, playing the sport I love.
CB: What motivates you to continue playing basketball?
MH: I’m a very competitive person, and I really like winning. Basketball allows me to win at something, so that’s really fun. Also playing with my best friends is an opportunity I’ll never get again. That’s why when it came to fifth-year eligibility. It was a no-brainer for me.
CB: What skills do you still hope to improve on?
MH: Being confident as a leader and taking control. Coming in as a fifth-year, I was put in a leadership position because I was the oldest. I’ve always been someone that has people tell me what to do, and I’ll do it. I’ve never been the type of person to tell people what to do. Being a fifth-year taught me to accept being in a leadership role. It taught me that I can lead a team off the court as well.
CB: This year, you partnered with a non-profit as a part of the Assisting Others program. How did you take part in this initiative, and what does the charity you chose mean to you?
MH: Every assist I got, people could either make a pledge or a flat donation. I got 233 assists this past season, so I raised over $5,000. It was really cool to bring life into the sport. I raised money for a non-profit supporting Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome. My very close family friend is three years old and just got diagnosed with RTS. They took all these tests and didn’t know what was wrong with him. It’s a very rare disease. I had never heard of it before him, so I saw Assisting Others as a great opportunity to educate people.
We did a game for him that he came to, which was really cool. I wanted to raise awareness for people with disabilities since they can’t get these opportunities we have. Assisting Others is definitely going to continue next year at Drexel. Someone can take part in the program and raise money for a different organization.
CB: What are your post-college basketball goals?
MH: I’m not going to continue playing basketball. My older teammates are in a league for fun, but I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want to randomly hurt my knee or shoulders, so I’m just going to do other workouts. I’ve thought about going overseas, but it’s just not something I want to do. I’ll take everything I learned in college and bring it into the work world. I’ll use my time management skills, the ability to be sociable and work in teams with different people.