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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Mackenzie Rule

Team Captain: ‘You do it because your heart wants you to do it’

“I thought it was going to be tough, but actually everyone was really, really nice. I felt like I was nothing less than anyone else. They always made me feel like a part of the team.”

Mackenzie Rule has gone from walk-on to team captain during her time at St. Joe’s. In high school, Rule was told by head coach Cindy Griffin that she should considering walking on to the team.

“She told me in my senior year in high school that if I wanted to, I could walk on,” Rule said. “I think towards the end I was like, ‘You know what? I kind of what to do it. I like the place. I like the team.”

Linus McGinty coached Rule in high school at Cardinal O’Hara, where she was a four-year starter.

“What I remember most is her senior year,” he said. “She played unbelievably well…and she led us to the Catholic League championship and to the semifinals in the state where she played tremendously. I also remember when she was a freshman, she started. We were playing in states, [against] Downingtown East I believe. They had a big lead, so we made a comeback and they wound up fouling [Rule] at the end of the game. She’s from West Chester, so the crowd was screaming and yelling [at her]. She drains like eight free throws and we wind up winning the game.”

Playing basketball in college is every high school player’s dream. Although Rule has no regrets, she does admit that playing on the team made the college adjustment much harder.

rule

“The hardest thing is, you know, you come in as a freshman, school, basketball, it’s a lot of workload,” Rule said. “I’m really big into school, so I was focusing so much on school and then basketball was taking up most of the time in my day. It’s just tough to balance out time. It’s actually gotten so much better over the years and I’ve ended up to really like it, so I’m glad that I stuck with it.”

Despite being told if she tried to walk on she would, Rule was still ecstatic when she received the news that she had made the team.

“I was pumped,” Rule said. “I think I called my mom first. [Coach Griffin and I] kind of talked to her together. We had the conversation with my mom and [Coach Griffin] said I could walk on. So me and my mom were talking about it and I told my whole family.”

Now, a few years later, Rule has worked hard on and off the court to earn the title of team captain. In her freshman year, Rule played just four games and 2.5 minutes per game. In her sophomore and junior seasons, Rule played in thirty-eight combined games. Her outstanding work ethic has earned her more playing time on the court and recogni-tion among the coaches.

“I think being the walk-on and sticking through it and making sure that, even though I didn’t do summer classes, that I would come back in shape and ready to go,”

Rule said had been a goal of hers throughout her career.

“Maybe just prove to [the coaches] that I could be something like a captain of some sort.”

Rule acknowledged that the title of captain doesn’t provide any excuses for that work ethic to diminish.

“I just think it’s a thankless job. I would show up everyday. [The scholarship players] are getting basically paid to, and I would show up just for the love of it,” she said. “I think being a captain, you just do everything because you want to do it. You want success for the team. You don’t do it because you’re the captain. You do it because your heart wants to do it.”

It was past team captains that helped Rule along in her journey from walk-on to captain.

“I would say my freshman year, Erin Shields, she was a captain as a senior and probably one of the best players to ever play at St. Joe’s, and she was like technically my big sister on the team,” Rule said. “She would take me out to lunch a couple times and just made sure everything was good. She always checked in on me. I think my sophomore year was Natasha Cloud. She just kind of always had me under her wing. She would take me places if needed a ride. She just always was there to help me and make me feel a part of the team.”

Now it’s Rule’s turn to return the favor to new freshmen, and she’s well aware and excited.

“Tremendous kid. Great character,” McGinty said. “She’ll be a great captain at St. Joe’s!”

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