Monday, November 12, 2007

Summitt calls leadership award one of a kind

Lady Vols' Hornbuckle, Cain remain sidelined

Pat Summitt was mingling with select company Monday night.

The Tennessee women's basketball coach traveled to New York to be honored after being named by U.S. News & World Report magazine in its weekly issue as one of America's best leaders.

"I think obviously because its really a leadership award and not a coaching award, it's unique to any award I can remember receiving," said Summitt before departing team practice Monday afternoon.

Summitt is among 18 individuals featured in the magazine. Other include James Baker and Lee Hamilton, co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, actor Michael J. Fox, founder of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"I'll be in awe of a lot of these people,'' said Summitt, who is the lone honoree connected with sports.

The magazine issue explores elements of leadership in society today. It also features a national poll in which 77 percent of those surveyed believe there is a leadership crisis in the country.

"Americans may have lost confidence in the current crop of leaders, but they haven't lost hope,'' said U.S. News & World Report editor Brian Kelly in a press release.

Regarding the honorees, Kelly said: "This group's conviction to lead in authentic and effective ways is truly remarkable."

Down on Depth: The Lady Vols were down to eight players for Monday's workout. Freshman center Kelley Cain remained sidelined after suffering a knee injury last Wednesday. Senior guard Alexis Hornbuckle, who has dealt with tendinitis throughout her UT career, also sat out.

"If we stay healthy we're a great basketball team,'' UT associate head coach Holly Warlick said. "If our numbers are low, it cuts into what your game plan is."

Hornbuckle indicated she's OK with a game against Oklahoma looming Thursday in Tampa, Fla. Cain was examined Sunday by Dr. Greg Mathien, UT's orthopedic specialist. For now, the prognosis remains uncertain.

"We get her back to practice, then we'll see what happens,'' said Jenny Moshak, the Lady Vols' assistant athletic director for sports medicine.

Notebook: UT remained a unanimous No. 1 in the weekly Associated Press Top 25 poll. Oklahoma dropped three spots to No. 9 after losing to No. 3 Maryland Sunday, 76-66. ... The Lady Vols spent considerable time Monday working on their transition defense. ... Warlick on UT's ability to play through a slow shooting start in Sunday' 76-56 victory over Chattanooga: "We didn't have to coach effort. They didn't let their offense affect their defense."

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