(New Orleans, La.) Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball player Megan Whittaker made the absolute best of this basketball season. When she wasn’t busy draining threes for the Wolf Pack and playing an integral role as a starting guard in their journey to a SSAC West Division Regular Season Championship and a trip to the NAIA National Tournament Quarterfinals, she used her passion for the game of basketball to assist another squad: the New Orleans Pelicans.
“A representative for the Pelicans visited campus to recruit members for the Swoop Troop,” explained Whittaker, “and I asked them for the contact information for the statistics department. Growing up, I worked the scoreboard and scorebooks for basketball camps and I’ve always been interested in stats, so I wanted to learn more about how the NBA statistical department worked.”
Whittaker balanced the full schedule that comes with the territory of being a student-athlete with part-time employment by New Orleans’ NBA team, the New Orleans Pelicans. As a game night employee, Whittaker assisted with distributing statistics to members of the media before, during and after home contests and took part in recording and transcribing interviews with coaches and athletes.
“Megan was an essential part of the New Orleans Pelicans game-night staff during the 2013-14 NBA season,” said Brian Travis, Basketball Communications Coordinator for the Pelicans. “Her strong efforts, positive attitude and affinity for teamwork contributed to the staff that disseminated essential information to local and national media.”
Despite this year’s Loyola women’s basketball squad advancing deep into the postseason, Whittaker never felt that she couldn’t handle both roles.
“The Pelicans were extremely flexible working around my school and basketball schedule,” she stated, “so I did not have a hard time balancing being a student-athlete and maintaining this part-time position.”
As it turned out, Whittaker joined the Pelicans crew at the perfect time. The annual NBA All Star Weekend graced the newly branded Smoothie King Center this year, where Whittaker performed similar duties to those she was responsible for at Pelicans games while rubbing elbows with some of the greatest in the game, past and present.
“This opportunity taught me a lot about how the communications and media department work in the NBA,” Whittaker concluded. “It sparked an interest in a possible career path working for the NBA.”
Whittaker will begin her senior year next semester, and she plans on continuing her work with the Pelicans through the 2014-15 season.
“Megan’s passion for basketball shined through her work this year,” Travis stated. “We look forward to having Megan continue to contribute to the Pelicans moving forward.”
In her first year with the Wolf Pack, Whittaker made the 2014 Daktronics-NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete list, the SSAC All-Academic Team and the 2013-14 Women’s West All-Divisional Team and started in all 35 games for Loyola. The accounting major has maintained a 4.0 GPA in her first academic year at the university.
“I would highly recommend this opportunity to future student-athletes who like the game of basketball and are interested in mass communications,” Whittaker concluded.