Boever granted sixth year of eligibility


By ROBERT MYERS Sports Writer

There are fifth-year seniors and then there is Gabby Boever. 

After being granted an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA, the South Dakota State University guard will be returning to the Jacks for a sixth season, something that never happened before for Head Coach Aaron Johnston, who will enter his 16th season at the helm of Jackrabbit women’s basketball.

“In basketball in general, it’s probably a lot less common,” Johnston said. “In some of the more physical contact sports like football it happens, not regularly, but a lot more, but this will be the first time it’s happened for us and we’re excited to have Gabby back. We’re excited to see what she can do with another year.”

Boever previously redshirted her first year on campus following an injury and was on track to finish her career in 2015 until a knee injury last July challenged those plans.

From then on Boever worked to rehab the injury, but by the time January rolled around, her hopes of getting back on the court began to dim. Later, Boever made the decision to apply to the NCAA for another year of eligibility. 

Boever is currently scheduled to graduate in May with a human development and family studies degree, but plans to pursue a recreation administration minor with the extra year the NCAA has given her. 

“The NCAA wants to have players competing for four years, or wants to give them that opportunity to compete for four years,” Johnston said. “When Gabby had two years taken away from her because of injury, she was in that pool of athletes that often times can get an extension. Each case is unique and if our people, Kathy [Heylens] in compliance and David [Kragness] in sports medicine, if they didn’t have all the correct paperwork it probably wouldn’t have gone through.”   

Boever will return as a senior member of SDSU’s roster. Chloe Cornemann will be the only other member of the senior class, and Boever has two years of SDSU experience on Cornemann. But to Boever, the age differences between her and her teammates will not be a big deal. 

“It’s not going to be any different,” Boever said. “All of these girls are basically my sisters. We’re such a tight knit group and you really can’t tell age difference.”

Though calling her teammates sisters, Boever does plan to take advantage of her experience and lead her team by words and example.

“Hopefully it’s going to be easier next year for me to be more vocal, considering I haven’t really been that type of leader. I’ve always just kind of played and hopefully everyone follows my way of playing and my effort,” Boever said.

A two-year starter at point guard, Boever’s return to the starting lineup will not be an easy one with new recruits only adding to what is already a crowded backcourt. As a result, fans could see Boever playing several positions next season. 

“I think we’ll use Gabby in a lot of different ways next year,” Johnston said. “We could use her in the point a lot, but we could also use her in other positions due to her experience and her strength. … She’s very instinctive. I think we forget just how instinctive she was on offense and defense. She could be in a system, but she can make plays outside of the system because of her instincts, so I think she can really help us out.”

Though Boever’s return gives his team depth and leadership, Johnston is most excited about what Boever will get out of it. 

“I’m really excited for Gabby first and foremost,” Johnston said. “That’s really what this is about. Any time someone gets a year back like this, obviously it can help a program out, but more than anything, it’s just neat for the person, Gabby, to have a true senior year.”