Marquelle Dent has already given a lot to the state of Wyoming. As a guard with the Cowgirls from 2012-16, Dent became the first Wyoming player in program history to record 1,000 points, 500 assists and 175 steals.
Now, she’ll be giving to the state in a different way. Wednesday, Dent was announced as an assistant for Laramie County Community College.
“I’ve always known in the back of my head that I always wanted to get into coaching,” she said. “I thought I would be playing for a lot longer, but things change, and now I’m ready for kind of this new journey I’m going on.”
Dent, a two-time all-Mountain West point guard, signed a six-month contract last August with CAB Madeira, a professional team in Portugal’s Liga Feminina de Basquetebol. She ended up stateside after three months and a few games, however.
“It was definitely a different experience over there,” Dent said. “The basketball was different. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, so I ended up coming back home. They say that you kind of have to be a different breed, I guess, to play overseas. I’ve kind of heard that before, and I don’t know, it was just not an experience for me.
“And so I ended up coming back home and kind of got into coaching and fell in love with it, and so that’s kind of where I’ve been going from there.”
Dent helped out at Central High School and has helped coach a seventh and eighth grade team and a high school team with the Wyoming Beasts AAU club. Her brother Terrance, a former LCCC player who also coaches two teams with the Beast, heard about an opening at his old school. She applied, and got the position.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to get to coach some other girls and continue to coach the girls I’m coaching right now,” Marquelle Dent said.
The specifics of her position are still being worked out, Dent said, but she has a general sense.
“I know I’ll be doing some recruiting and kind of just helping out with the guards a lot, which I’m really excited about,” said Dent, whose father, Sean, played at Wyoming. “Especially because I played the point guard position, I think I have some pretty good knowledge to give back to the girls that are going to be on the team.
“And I think I have a pretty good opportunity to talk to kids around the region, just because I do have a lot of contacts within Colorado and Wyoming at the high school level. Definitely excited to get out and recruit and get some good players coming to LCCC.”
Dent said her high school coach, Carl Mattei, and Wyoming women’s basketball coach Joe Legerski both inspired her to become a coach herself.
“My high school coach, I always loved playing for him,” said Dent, who played at Regis Jesuit near Denver. “He started his own AAU program, and I kind of always have just wanted to do the same thing. And then obviously Coach Joe has always been a great coach and I kind of take some of his ideas sometimes and incorporate them within my club team.
“But I just love the game of basketball. I love being around it. I’m super passionate about it. And so that’s kind of just been the driving force to get into coaching, since basketball is officially over for me playing.”
There are worse role models to have than Legerski, who was named the Mountain West Coach of the Year earlier this year. The Cowgirls finished second in the conference in 2016-17 and reached the WNIT.
“It was super cool,” Dent said. “I’m still close with a couple of the girls on the team, especially Liv (Roberts) and Natalie (Baker), and seeing them kind of blossom into players that I knew they always could be is really cool. Especially Liv. She was a beast last year.
“So it was cool getting to watch them be successful and I hope they kind of bring that same mentality this year. It was definitely fun to get to watch them. It was coming. I knew they were going to be a good team. They were just young when I was playing with them, and so you get a couple more years under your belt, and that’s when people start kind of taking off. We all saw that last year with that group.”