By John "Woods" Armwood III
The Washinton native, Talia Von Oelhoffen, was originally born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, she was raised in Eastern Washington. From the time she can walk, Oelhoffen remembers having some type of ball in her hands.
She’s the youngest of three with two older siblings, Jalyn, and Kamri. While her origin didn’t necessarily start with basketball, it definitely led to it being that all of her older sisters played, as well as her mother, Tondi Redden. According to SBLive, Tondi played Division I basketball at the University of Hawaii and was a defensive specimen. She set the in-game steal record (11) and single-season record for steals in 1989-90. On the other hand, her father, Kim Von Oelhoffen, played in the NFL for 13 seasons, according to Pro Football Reference.
Taking into consideration her family's past, Talia being sensational should come as no surprise. She admits being around genuinely competitive and talented individuals made that part of the game the most natural to her.
"The most natural part of the game since I was young was my competitive spirit,” stated Talia. “I tried to do all the little things to win, in fact, I always wanted to win by any means.”
Good Habits Leading to Other Good Habits
Oelhoffen was exceptional growing up and even more sensational throughout high school. According to ESPN, Oelhoffen was ranked 14th overall in the nation her senior year. However, during her senior year, she was put in a very tough predicament. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her senior season was cut exponentially short, ultimately, forcing her to want to continue playing. Sadly, the sacrifice of committing and enrolling early at Oregon State University was the fact she would be submitting her opportunity to be eligible to win the McDonald’s All-American and Gatorade Player of the Year. While many believe she would have won this award convincingly the reality of the situation is she didn’t.
However, she manifested her disappointment into a positive one and shifted her mindset going into college.
“Being a McDonald’s All-American has always been a dream of mine,” emphasized Oelhoffen. “I knew when I enrolled early what I was giving up, however, I realized it also didn’t mean much. The girl right beside me on the court probably was an All-American themselves, so I saw college as an opportunity to reprove myself to everyone.”
Talia Von Oelhoffen Attempting to Find a Healthy Balance
There’s a fine line between social life and prioritizing the game or profession one loves. Many find this difficult to do simply because of their passion and admiration for their craft they forget the outside factors. This is no different from the Oregon State Beavers product, Oelhoffen.
She admits she hasn’t had much of social life because of her devotion to the process. Though, she makes it clear she necessarily didn’t want one either. She’s been reluctant to big groups and new friends. Majority of her life, she’s always had a very tight group of friends and was content with that. Like many, most of her social life revolved around her craft and she made friends and relationships within it.
“I didn’t have much of a social life but I didn’t want one either,” firmly stated Oelhoffen. “I’ve always been a close group kind of person, however, if you’re looking for a social life it’s possible. It just was never for me.”
While still young, she’s beginning to understand the importance of finding a balance and even off-the-court branding. Due to the severe mental health crisis, she’s working to begin the process of transitioning. She understands many athletes suffer from mental health issues simply because many don’t self-identify from their respective sports which can be problematic going forward.
“It’s something I am getting better at and my happiness and wellness can't always revolve around basketball,” explained Oelhoffen. “Mental health has been affecting athletes for a long time because we are so dependent on the sport and it's problematic because the sport doesn’t last forever for many of us.”
Why Oregon State?
The Home of Beavers stuck out to Oelhoffen simply because of the familiar vibe of family they made her feel during her visit there. Oregon State also is only four hours away allowing her family to visit and support her pretty frequently. Ironically, another Washington native, Jamie Weisner, also played an effect on Oelhoffens' commitment.
“Thye drew me in because they made me feel like family, honestly,” stated Oelhoffen. “I watched a ton of Jame Weisner. Especially, in 2016, they went to the final four I just knew I wanted to be a part of the Pac-12.”
Ever since her commitment, she’s yet to look back. In fact, in her first game ever as a Beaver, she played against Washington State. Although they lost the game, her first shot ever fell from deep and it was one of the most telling moments of her life, her “Sh3GotGame Moment”.
This was the moment where she knew she had so much to accomplish within the Pac-12. While only playing in 11 games, she managed to make Pac-12 All American honorable mentions. The following season, she was selected to the All Pac-12 team. Though, she’s accomplished so much in such little time. Her biggest goal for upcoming years is to affect others on and off the court with her leadership and role on the team.
“While the accolades are nice,” she stated. “I much rather just go out there and play my best to help this team win games. From there, I will control what I can control and whatever happens from my efforts I will be able to live with.”
Basketball Continuing to Changer Her Life
Basketball seems to have been Oelhoffen’s life, in fact, she admits her life would be very different without the game of basketball. Many people's life experiences teach them life lessons. However, the game of basketball teaches the game of life.
“I don’t think the game changed my life because it’s all I’ve ever known,” she emphasized. “Life lessons many people learn through navigating life, I learned through the game.”
When it’s all said and done she’d like to be remembered as the basketball player who affected and helped make others better. Oelhoffen takes pride in being a good leader, however, she really wants to utilize her leadership skills to help and inspire others by using her platform to do so.
“One of my biggest focuses next year is I am focusing on using my platform to inspire and help others off of it,” she stated confidently.
In conclusion, when asked if there was any advice she’d like to leave for anyone who may relate to her story or anyone inspired by her, she responded:
“Never forget to always dream big, you simply never know what you can do when you put your mind to it. Also, things won’t always be happy and easy and that’s okay because that too shall pass. Most importantly, there is never progress without humility.”