I’ll have much, much more in the next couple of days and weeks, but I just stopped by for a chat with Dawn Staley and wanted to pass on a few nuggets.
* Schedule – The non-conference slate is done. It hasn’t been announced yet because all contracts haven’t been returned. The SEC has yet to release the conference portion of it. While it’s not official, I understand that it’s possible that USC resumes its usual late-December matchup with North Carolina in Myrtle Beach. The Gamecocks had to pull out of it last year when that game was going to be the day next to another scheduled game. It will be a good game, not only because of the two programs’ power but because UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell, like Staley, is also getting into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 8.
* Team – Everybody’s on campus and doing fine. The summer work went well and all of the newcomers have settled in. The only injury of note was Tiffany Davis’ repaired knee, but since she injured it so early last season and has had nearly a full year of recovery, she’s doing well.
* Speaking of the Naismith, Staley is ready for the induction. USC is paying for the entire women’s basketball support staff to go to Springfield, Mass., with her so they can watch Staley get enshrined. The team will stay behind to practice.
* Staley had an empowering time on her recent trip to Africa. She went with the Clinton Foundation (former President Bill Clinton) and visited several countries in the continent. Staley helped with wellness clinics and financial management programs, and got to see things such as people who have basically been deaf their entire life be fitted for a hearing aid and hear for the first time. She’s now up to six continents visited and three Presidents met (Clinton, W. and Obama).
* The innersole project continues to boom. Staley has had over 1,000 pairs of sneakers donated and has distributed about half that to local children. The donations continue to pour in from WNBA teams, Staley’s friends or colleges; Brittney Griner recently donated a pair of shoes. Now they just have to find a child who can wear size 18 sneaks.
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