Portland, Ore. (KOIN) — For Bendu Yeaney the circle is finally complete.
When the Arizona guard decided to put her name in the transfer portal to find her third collegiate home she knew she wanted to be closer to actual home. Within hours of coaches being able to contact her, the coach who made her one of her first offers when she was a Portland high school basketball player reached out again.
“He was the first coach that texted me,” Yeaney said.
Scott Rueck had recruited Yeaney while she was with St. Mary’s Academy where she averaged more than 28 points a game, earning her three all-league selections and a McDonald All-American nomination in 2017. So when her phone pinged that night, the message subject and sender was exactly what she hoped for.
Hey Bendu, I’m really excited you’re in the portal. I want to call you tomorrow, do you want to have a conversation with us?
Yeaney didn’t even have to think about her reply to Rueck. She grew up going to Beaver games and sharpened her game scrimmaging against some Beaver legends like Jamie Weisner, who’s playing professional basketball in Canada, and Sydney Wiese, who’s played five WNBA seasons.
“It kind of came full circle,” Yeaney said. “I felt like that was a place I always wanted to go and it just didn’t work out the first time or the second time but third time’s the charm.”
Rueck couldn’t agree more.
“Bendu is the perfect person at the perfect time for our program,” the 12-year Oregon State head coach said in the release announcing Yeaney’s transfer.
Yeaney says she knew Oregon State might be looking to add guards to their roster, which was part of the reason she put her name into the portal to begin with.
“I knew he needed guards,” Yeaney said of Rueck’s program. “I was just kind of hoping that he was going to want me as much as I was going to want to come back home and it worked out for both of us.”
When announcing Yeaney’s return, Rueck left no doubt about his excitement at adding the sixth-year senior to his squad.
“Bendu is a great defender, an attacking offensive player, has great court vision and fits our program extremely well. We are blessed to be able to add such a dynamic person and player with a wealth of experience and leadership ability,” Rueck said.
That experience includes having made the NCAA Tournament in each of her previous stops. Her sophomore season she started all 33 games for the Indiana Hoosiers on their way to the NCAA Tournament. At Arizona, she and her Wildcats made it to the 2021 National Championship game, and this year she scored double-figures in eight games, including a season-high 15 points in Gill Coliseum.
“I’m able to help the young’ins, teach them how to move about,” Yeaney said. “How to play in big crowds, how you have to make sure you’re always a tight-knit group. I’m just going to try and bring my leadership that I’ve had all my life and see if I can help them keep continuing to have the success they already have.”