Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sancho Lyttle is getting a lot of press. From the .com.

Up until this season, the bench is where Lyttle had been making her living in the WNBA. Of the 120 games she played in prior to 2009, she started just 36 of them. Being a reserve didn’t bother Lyttle so much. After all, she was still relatively new to the game. The 28-year-old didn’t start playing basketball until her senior year of high school after making the switch from track.

“It wasn’t really getting out of track as much as trying to learn something new,” Lyttle said. “That’s when I started to pick up basketball as a hobby to try and learn the fundamentals of it.”

Lyttle’s short-lived high school basketball career led her to Clarendon Junior College(Clarendon, Texas) for two seasons before a scholarship offer came from the University of Houston. Despite a light basketball resume, coaches there saw potential due to her athleticism and height.

That college offer came from Joe Curl - who, himself spent many years coaching at the Junior College level.

University of Houston coach Joe Curl is a big believer in the junior college players, and not just because he coached at Trinity Valley for three years. He just point to Sancho Lyttle as an example of what JUCO’s can do for international and developing players. Lytle came to the States from St. Vincent, in the British West Indies, “a great athlete who had incredible potential,” noted Curl. But, she had only played netball, never “American” basketball.

“I give her junior college coach (Wade Scott, Clarendon) all the credit in the world for her development.”

“The junior colleges are worth their weight in gold. I’ve always believed that. In Sancho’s case, to get over the hurdles she needed to be able to be successful at the D-1 level junior college was absolutely priceless. Small town. Small classes. A coach that could drill her on the fundamentals of the rim, the backboard, her footwork. And she had the heart, the brain to do whatever she was asked.”

Houston weathered a few SEC and Big 12 storms before they signed her in 2003 “and the rest,” said Curl, “is history. She came in here and took us to a #3 seed in the NCAA tourney, a #8 seed, I believe, in her senior year and was a #5 pick in the WNBA draft. I think she improved a lot while she was here, but I really felt her real basis of who she is right now as player and a person…I give a lot of credit to Wade Scott and the program he had there.”