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Former Ohio State standout Makayla Waterman joins women’s basketball coaching staff

An NCAA waiver allows Waterman to become a student-coach this season.

Ohio State Athletics

Following a five-year career on the court for the Ohio State women’s basketball team, Makayla Waterman is joining Kevin McGuff’s staff as a student coach, thanks to a waiver granted by the NCAA.

The forward led the Buckeyes with 40 blocked shots in 2018-19, and finished her redshirt-senior season averaging 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. In addition, she was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team. During her career, Waterman — a former top-100, four-star prospect — was on two Big Ten championship-winning teams, played in three NCAA Tournaments, and saw action in 126 games.

Waterman began this season as a manager for the team, but was granted permission to coach while she pursues her masters degree in sport coaching. This will allow Waterman to participate more directly in practices, in the film room, and during games.

Waterman’s transition comes at a perfect time, as due to a crazy confluence of graduations over the past two years, the team is welcoming in eight new players — including seven true freshmen — and two new assistant coaches. The former player’s ability to have a foot in both worlds should be invaluable for the team’s success this season.

“Coach McGuff really wants me to be sort of a translator for him with the eight new players and coaches we have in our system this year,” Waterman said. “I’ve been around him for five years now and I have a good feel for when he wants something done a certain way and I can help with that. It will be good for me to connect with the players in that way and I can help them through the tough times this year.”

In Waterman’s first practice in 2014, she suffered a torn ACL, delaying her on-court collegiate debut. However, that allowed her to continue playing as she earned her degree in psychology in 2018, and to begin graduate school thereafter. Waterman understand that this opportunity to be a fully-involved student coach as an opportunity to help her transition from seeing the game as a player to a coach.

“I told Coach McGuff that I want to observe and soak in as much from him and the other coaches that I can this year,” said Waterman. “I played for five years here so I have a lot experience on the player side. But I want to see the game from the coaching perspective.”

The Ohio State women’s basketball team will begin their 2019-20 season on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. ET as they play Valparaiso in Springfield, Ohio.