DURHAM, N.C.— Over the summer once again, the Blue Devils will be catching up with Duke women's basketball alumnae to see what they have been up to since leaving Durham. Our first alumna for the summer is 1999 graduate Payton Black Hobbs.
Hobbs saw action in 127 games, while making 49 starts from 1996-99 with the Blue Devils. She averaged double-digit scoring in each of her first three years and was a part of Duke’s first NCAA Final Four squad in 1999. She scored 1,312 points, had 541 career rebounds, 104 assists, 86 steals and 78 blocked shots. Hobbs earned All-ACC Freshman team honors in 1996, after averaging 10.6 points and 5.2 rebounds.
GoDuke.com: Since graduating from Duke, what have you been up to?
Payton Black Hobbs: It has been an exciting 20 years since graduating Duke in 1999. I have traveled the United States as lead spokesperson for a mobile marketing tour, played professional basketball in Germany, and found my home in the world of education. I have spent the last 18 years teaching, coaching, and leading in both private and public schools. I taught Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade; coached middle and high school basketball; and have served in a leadership capacity as a Curriculum and Instruction Specialist, Assistant Head of Lower School, and Head of Lower School. I am currently the Associate Director of Admission at La Jolla Country Day School in California. I also just recently launched my own leadership development team called PLH: Passionate Learning Huddles (www.plhteam.com) that supports, inspires, and empowers leaders on their personal and professional journeys. I have been married to my husband Alfie for 12 years and we have two children Simone 9 and Tre 7.
GD: How was your experience playing overseas in Germany?
PBH: What I enjoyed most about playing basketball in Germany was the chance to immerse myself in another culture and broaden my perspective of the world. I also appreciated the opportunity to have basketball as my "full time job" and being able to completely dedicate myself physically, emotionally, and mentally to the sport for the first time.
GD: Do your kids play basketball/other sports and have you been able to mold them into Duke fans?
PBH: Simone and Tre both enjoy playing sports. Simone swims, plays volleyball, and is just getting interested in basketball thanks to her PE teacher at Country Day, who just won the state championship. Tre loves any sport with a ball and his favorites are soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. They are both Duke fans but Tre definitely gets much more excited watching the games than Simone. He has his Duke jersey and shorts, thanks to his mom-mom (aka Sherry Black) that he loves to put on when he watches the Blue Devils play on T.V. Zion made a huge impact on Tre and was memorized by his level of play and sportsmanship.
GD: When you have coached, did you implement plays, drills, etc., from your Duke days?
PBH: YES!! I remember going through my Duke playbook when I got my first coaching job and using as many of our basic plays as I could with my middle school girls. When I was coaching at Ravenscroft and Krista Gingrich was coaching at Durham Academy, we would laugh when one of us would call a what we both knew was a "Duke" play. I tried to avoid the drills I hated the most as a player, except for "free throws down the line," and definitely included my favorite drills as often as possible.
GD: Have you been able to keep in touch with many former teammates/coaches?
PBH: There is a core group of players that I stay in touch with and they span the four years I spent there. We try to have a weekend getaway trip every year to Naples, Florida or we will gather in Durham to see a game together. The bonds that were formed during our experience together at Duke are some of the strongest and most special I have and will ever have. Thanks to social media, I am also able to keep up with players and coaches that I may not physically see. Say what you want about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but I am grateful for the connections:)
GD: Do you still follow DWB and watch games when they are on television?
PBH: Now that we live on the west coast, we only watch the big games that are shown on national T.V. Before we moved to California, we tried to get to a few games in Cameron so our kiddos could see the action up close and personal.
GD: Have you been able to make it back to Durham recently?
PBH: I actually lived in Durham for the past 16 years before moving out to California in June 2018 so yes:)
GD: Since leaving Duke, who are a few DWB players you have enjoyed watching play?
PBH: Lindsey Harding and Jasmine Thomas
GD: Do you get a chance to play basketball any these days?
PBH: My basketball playing days are over other than playing a game of “Pig” with my son.
GD: When looking back on your days at Duke, what are some of your favorite memories?
PBH: 1999 Final Four experience and also the Elite Eight game where we beat No. 1 Tennessee. The energy and excitement that surrounded us during this tournament was amazing.
GD: Have you developed any new hobbies, etc., that you are involved with these days?
PBH: I love to read, write, swim, play tennis, do yoga, and listen to live music
GD: How has a Duke degree helped you?
PBH: Duke University is known across the world as an elite educational institution and with that comes a lot of respect and confidence from employers who are reviewing my educational background.
GD: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to our current student-athletes?
PBH: Spend time getting to know your professors and engage in the community beyond your team and sport. There is a tremendous amount of mentors, resources, and experiences that are available to you in college that will be invaluable to you when you go out to lead and serve in the world.
GD: Do you remember a specific class and/or professor at Duke that you really enjoyed while in school?
PBH: The summer I was able to take classes at the Duke Marine Lab was one of the most enjoyable learning experiences I have ever had. All the classes were relevant, hands-on, and engaging. There is something special about actively engaging in the learning process where you can touch, see, small, hear, and interact with the content you are covering instead of just reading about it.