Feb. 5, 2009

By Lara Boyko

Special to NCAA.com


Whether it is scoring enough points, grabbing enough rebounds or dishing off enough assists, making it into the record books is noteworthy.


Yet it was just this week when 5-foot-10 redshirt senior guard Shavonte Zellous on the No. 24-ranked Pittsburgh women’s basketball team showed that Pittsburgh is worth paying attention to not just because it is the home of the current NFL Super Bowl Champions. Instead, it was the milestone of scoring at least 2,000 points that she made look easy.


“After the Marquette game I was doing a radio interview with one of our broadcasters and he told me that I was close to scoring 2,000 points,” said Zellous, who is now the 13ths playier in Big East history to hit this mark. “I didn’t believe it and didn’t really focus on it because my attention has been focused on trying to lead the team and get us to where we want to go.”


“I give the credit to my teammates because they helped me to achieve this. It also means a lot to me because I was a late commitment and not too many schools were looking at me.”


Zellous, who has been recognized on several post-season award watch lists including the Naismith Award, Wooden Award and State Farm Wade Trophy this year, didn’t receive much attention as a recruit in part because basketball wasn’t her sport of choice from a young age.


“I was more of a track athlete since junior high when the track coach saw me running while I was playing and she approached me about joining the track squad,” said Zellous. “I wasn’t sure about it, but she told me that she thought I was going to be a star, so I decided to focus my attention on track. I especially liked the jumping events like high jump and triple jump. Once I stopped doing those I focused on the sprints and really liked those. I really liked running track.”


A love for running on the track soon turned into a love for running around a basketball court during her freshman year of high school.


“I was probably in 9th grade when I started playing basketball,” said Zellous. “I think it was my mom and my uncle who thought I would be a nice basketball athlete, so I started to take it more seriously.”


“I couldn’t make a lay-up to save my life and all I liked to do was run up-and-down the court so I could try to get steals and do other things. I really wasn’t a big factor in scoring.”


The first year may not have been that impressive, but with time, Zellous started to get noticed for her basketball skills. Yet even though she was a McDonald’s All-American nominee in high school, Zellous flew under the radar in the recruiting game. With only two schools extending offers to her, Zellous’ choices were limited.


“Many schools were not looking at me and with only two schools looking at me (South Carolina State and Pittsburgh), I like what coach B had to offer me which is why I chose to come here,” said Zellous.


Now along with reaching milestones on the basketball court in a Panther’s jersey, Zellous already has one degree – Administrative Justice -- under her belt and ready to embark on her next adventure whether it is as a detective or in playing in the WNBA after being a projected first round WNBA draft pick.


“It means a lot to me and I give my thanks to God for giving me this talent that I am allowed to showcase to everybody,” said Zellous. “It means so much to me and I have appreciated how the coaching staff and my teammates have allowed me to do the things I am capable of.”


“I am no idea what is ahead for, but I am ok with whatever God has planned.”