Thursday, May 26, 2005

Summitt to discuss future with Mystics, new owner

Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt said Wednesday that her future with the WNBA's Washington Mystics will depend on her discussions with the team's new owner, Sheila Johnson.

"It seems kind of open-ended,'' said Summitt, who has served as a consultant with the team for the past three years. "We haven't had any type of discussions. Obviously I have to have that.''

Summitt's contract with the Mystics runs through this season.

Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, joined Lincoln Holdings LLC to purchase the Mystics from Abe Pollin's Washington Sports & Entertainment.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Today in History - May 24

Five years ago: Isiah Thomas, Bob McAdoo and Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt were elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Summitt driven by Final Four loss

Tennessee coach glad to slow down, spend some time back in hometown

With each tap of her Sharpie, Pat Summitt revealed why she is the most successful coach in NCAA Division I basketball history.

Though it had been six weeks since her Lady Vols lost a 16-point lead against Michigan State in the Final Four, Summitt recounted the story Tuesday in the serenity of the back patio at the Clarksville Country Club during a stop with the Big Orange Caravan like she just walked off the court.

With each point she made, her Sharpie showed her distaste for defeat.

"I have to remind myself not to think about the last game," said Summitt as she rapped the black marker on the table to emphasize her frustration. "As a coach I never — in a big game like that — I have never seen a big lead get away from us. A 16-point lead in a game of that magnitude, it's still in my gut.

Then Summitt looked up with a smile and gave the silver lining.

"There hasn't been a day that's gone by that I haven't thought about it," Summitt said. "But that's kind of my personality, and that will help us because I will chew on that all summer."

Just like she has done with her competition for the last 31 seasons.

In becoming the most successful Division I basketball coach in NCAA history, surpassing Dean Smith on March 22 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 75-54 win over Purdue, Summitt has amassed 882 wins against only 172 losses.

For that reason, and her hometown charm, fans lined up two and three wide Tuesday at the Clarksville Country Club to get a word, handshake and autograph from the girl from Henrietta who always loves to come back to Clarksville.

"(Coming home) means some of the best home cooking you could ever want or wish for, and it's just special," Summitt said. "It's a different pace here. Usually I don't go anywhere except for to the house or to church."

That's where she spent Mother's Day.

While her husband stayed at her parents' Henrietta home with her sick father, Summitt thanked her mom for surprising her the night she passed Dean Smith with win No. 879 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"That was very special," said Summitt as the emotion crept into her voice. "And my husband stayed with dad, and that was really neat."

Summitt said she can't thank her mother enough for making it to her record-breaking night when the University of Tennessee surprised her after the game by naming the court, "The Summitt," in her honor.

"I was just totally taken aback and touched by it," Summitt said. "I started crying. I guess I am more emotional than people realize.

"My intensity is one form of emotion, but I show my feelings whether it is laughter or crying or whatever," Summitt added. "And that night it just happened. I was like, I just can't believe this. I can't believe it."

Similar sentiments came from the Clarksville fans who got to meet her Tuesday.

Rachel Vestal, a 14-year-old freshman at Rossview High School next year, said she really enjoyed getting the opportunity to meet Summitt in person before she attends her first Summitt basketball camp this summer.

"It was really cool," Vestal said. "It helped me because I was nervous about going to the basketball camp because there are people from all over the country there.

"But she made me really happy and made me feel better about it."

Vestal said she hopes the camp will not only make her a better basketball player, but will help her understand what makes Summitt the winner she is.

To that, Summitt provided some insight.

"I never expect any less," Summitt explained. "... I think in order to get (to the top) every year you have to plan to be there every year."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

USA Basketball Women's Committees

The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee is charged with the selection of players and coaches for USA Basketball's Senior National Teams that compete in the Olympics, FIBA World Championships, Olympic and World Championship qualifying events when required, and other assigned senior level competitions.

Renee' Brown, the WNBA's Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations who served as chair of the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee for 2001-04 quad, will again chair the Senior National Team Committee for 2005-2008. Reappointed by the WNBA from the 2001-2004 Senior Committee were Carol Blazejowski, New York Liberty senior vice president and general manager and 1980 Olympian; Kelly Krauskopf, Indiana Fever senior vice president and chief operating officer; Seth Sulka, Phoenix Mercury vice president and general manager; and Penny Toler, Los Angeles Sparks General manager. Also tagged for the senior committee by the WNBA were Van Chancellor, Houston Comets head coach and head coach of the 2004 USA Olympic and 2002 USA World Championship teams that captured gold; and Roger Griffith, Minnesota Lynx chief operating officer. The NCAA assigned University of Tennessee and 1984 U.S. Olympic Team gold medalist head coach Pat Summitt, and rounding out the 10-member committee are athlete representatives Jennifer Azzi, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, and five-time Olympian and four-time Olympic gold medalist Teresa Edwards.

The USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee is responsible for the selection of players and coaches who compete in collegiate-aged international competitions including FIBA's U19 and U21 World Championships, FIBA Americas' U19 and U21 qualifying tournaments, Pan American Games, World University Games, and other assigned events.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Anosike gets chance to expand her horizons

St. Peter's product heading for Colorado to try out for two international teams

With a full season of college basketball at the University of Tennessee and an appearance in the Final Four under her belt, St. Peter's HS product Nicky Anosike will get a chance to add another impressive line to her resume next week when she participates in the USA Basketball Women's National Team Trials in Colorado Springs.

The Trials, which run from May 19-22, will be used to select the squads that will represent the United States this summer in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship and the World University Games.

"It was definitely a goal of mine," said the 19-year-old University of Tennessee center, and All-Southeastern Conference freshman team selection this season. "I learned a lot last season and I think I am 10 times the player I was at the start of the season."

That was evident to anyone who watched Anosike's startling rise in coach Pat Summitt's rotation this season.

"I learned a lot last year," said Anosike who appeared in all 35 Tennessee games, starting 25 for the Vols. "Just playing with a team like Tennessee for a whole year and being around coach Summitt, you learn a lot."

For the moment, Anosike is engrossed in intense all-day summer classes, the Lady Vols' offseason workout program and moving into a different apartment in Knoxville.

"I'm just trying to get settled in, take it one thing at a time," admitted Anosike, who departs for Colorado one week from today. "By this time next week I'm sure I'll be way more excited."

Anosike will be the only Islander at the tryouts and the only Volunteer. Teammate Candace Parker, who was expected to get an invitation, is still recovering from a knee surgery.

Two teams will be selected -- one for the Under-19 World Championship in Tunis, Tunisia, July 15-24 and one for the World University Games in Imzir, Turkey, from Aug. 11-21. Duke's Gail Goestenkors will direct the Under-19 squad. Kathy Delaney-Smith of Harvard will coach the World University team.

Five other SEC players -- LSU's Seimone Augustus, Quianna Chaney, Sylvia Fowles and Erica White and Auburn's Keshonda Carter -- as well as Lindsay Bowen and Liz Shimek of national runner-up Michigan State received invitations.

Of the 57 players invited, 37 have prior USA Basketball experience, eight from last summer's Under-18 World Championship Qualifying team, from which Anosike was cut.

After the four-day tryouts, the two 12-member teams will be announced. Anosike is one of only 13 invitees eligible for both teams.