In continuing my "series" on women in college sports, this week it is my honor to present to you G Shavonte Zellous.
Picture it, May 2003, Orlando Florida. Shavonte Zellous, captain of her Jones High School basketball team (30-2), leads her team to the state championship. She is the MVP of the state tournament, and her team finishes well in district and regional play as well. A standout in basketball, she is also captain of her track/field team and district or regional champion in four track and field events. Colleges are lined up to talk to this girl, right? Wrong.
Picture this. May 2003, Pittsburgh. Agnus Berenato, is the new head coach of the Pittsburgh Panther's women's basketball team. The Panthers had finished the 02-03 season 12-16 overall. She expressed interest in Zellous, basically because her team was "so bad, that we needed anything." It took a full year for Berenato to see what she was getting because Zellous was redshirted her first year at Pittsburgh.
Fast-forward to the 2006-2007 season. Zellous is a sophomore and among her achievements were a spot on the All-Big East First team and being named the Big East Most Improved Player. And Pitt finishes the season 24-9.
Zellous is now a senior. She is well on her way to being the first player at Pitt in 17 years to reach 2,000 career points. She is on the Wade (National Player of the Year) watch list. She went to the boards for 42 points against Florida, which was half her team's point total. And while these individual accolades are nice, the effect Zellous has on her team is even nicer. Pitt has started this season at 9-2 overall.
Shea Ralph, Pitt assistant, says that Zellous "is the type of kid who can create her own shot. You don't have to run an offense" for her because she is so successful at attacking the boards. Ralph says he is highly critical of guards because he came out of a UConn program where he "played with and among the best." His one critique of Zellous is that she needs to become a better three-point shooter. He believes that if she does that, "she'll be unguardable."
Berenato took a risk with this girl who's athletecism may have been borderline for any good D-1 team. And that gamble has paid off for Pittsburgh. And the last one picked at the kickball game gets the last laugh.
- Locker Room
- how it works