Summitt Paves The Way For Local Girls Teams

Posted at 11:12 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 14:26:48-04

Coach Corey Allen says his AAU traveling team takes basketball seriously.

He says it's a lot different than when he was growing up, when you didn't come across many girls teams at all.

"Mostly kids then played community centers or you only played in the winter," he said, "but now you play all year round, girls train all year round."

And his players say they aren't just playing for fun.

"We won nationals one year and we won state twice in a row!" several of them chimed in together.

They're part of the modern wave of competitive women's sports, attributed widely to the simultaneous rise of Title IX and legendary women's coach Pat Summitt.

"She's very inspirational to me to be like I want to grow up and be like her," said one of Allen's players Zariah Hutchinson.

Coach Allen played for UT Men's Basketball when Summitt was there.

"Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols always practiced before us and their practice was rough," Allen laughed, "I don't know if I could play with them to be honest."

He says her strategy was about competitiveness, not by yourself but with your team.

"Everything they did the team had to do it or everyone played the penalty and that's one thing I took from her," he said.

It's something he hopes rubs off on his middle schoolers who love the game.

"I I didn't  play basketball I really don't know what I'd do," said Carleigh Wilson as some of the other girls nodded, "it's the only thing that interests me."

Almost all the players want to play through college. Many hope for scholarships at, you guessed it, UT.

Because like Summitt they know lessons in basketball are also lessons in life.

"When you loose theres always room to improve, you can just get better,"Hutchinson said.

Helping Summitt's legacy live on, simply by playing the game at the highest level they can.