The Future of High School: Griner


Already a YouTube legend thanks to her incredible dunking ability, Brittney Griner of Nimitz (Houston, Texas) is ready to elevate the women's game. The nation's No. 1 recruit heads to Baylor next year.

ESPN RISE: What would be the dream scenario for your future?

Griner: If everything goes well, I see myself playing in the WNBA and overseas as well. I hope to play in the next Olympics in London. That's always been one of my dreams — to play in the Olympics, especially in London. Just being able to represent my country, that's a big honor. I would love to be able to do that.

ESPN RISE: Realistically, where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Griner: Five years from now, I'll just be getting out of college and expect to be playing ball. If it isn't playing ball, maybe coaching. But I think I'll be playing. If not here in the United States, then somewhere overseas. I'd like to play in Spain.

ESPN RISE: If for some reason your sport doesn't pan out, what do you want to do with your future?

Griner: I'd like to stay in sports, maybe as a coach or even a sports photographer or something like that. But mostly I'd like to be able to teach younger kids. Not just about the game of basketball, but teach them life lessons like (Tennessee coach) Pat Summitt and (Baylor coach) Kim Mulkey do.

ESPN RISE: Put yourself in charge of the high school sports world. What do you think needs to change the most?

Griner: I'd like to change the traveling schedule for girls' sports, not just basketball. Boys get a lot of exposure in most sports and girls don't get much exposure and I think we should. There are girls now who would love to challenge the boys and compete against them, too. I think we could hold our ground head to head.

ESPN RISE: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing high school sports?

Griner: Girls staying healthy and not getting injured as much. In women's basketball, I've seen so many ACL tears, so that's a big challenge. Hopefully, something will change so it won't happen as much. For me, it's a matter of working on your knees. Something as simple as getting a resistance band and working your legs out and building up the muscles. Then when you're making cuts and fast stops, you won't hurt your ACL.

ESPN RISE: How do you think high school sports will be different for the next generation of stars?

Griner: The competition level is going to be raised. I know that because I can see it now and it's going to get a lot harder and more competitive. I see the skill level continuing to go up. I hope I inspire some girl who sees my clips to go out and do something that I haven't been able to do. That's how I was when I first saw Candace Parker dunk. I was like, "Now I want to dunk." Lisa Leslie, too. I'd like to see something do something I haven't. It's just going to help improve women's basketball and help put us on the map.

ESPN RISE: In what ways do you think these tough economic times will impact the future of high school sports?

Griner: It's going to impact it a little bit. Coaches won't have enough equipment. And if coaches don't have the equipment they need, they won't be able to teach fundamentals and do all the things they do to help players get better. And there probably won't be as much traveling and going off to enter big tournaments.

ESPN RISE: What is one change you'd like to see made to recruiting?

Griner: Once you sign, I feel that you should be able to call the coach as many times as you want. And if they're at your game, you should be able to talk. I don't understand how you've already signed your letter, everyone knows you're going to that school, but they can't come to all your games. That's really strange.

ESPN RISE: How will technology impact high school sports and recruiting?

Griner: It helps staying in touch. Not with the coach, but with other teammates and other girls on the team. It's a lot easier than getting everyone's number. We send messages to each other on Facebook and MySpace. You can look up profiles of players on that team and see what kind of people they are and if that's the type of people you want to be around for the next four years. Me and some of the other recruits coming in to Baylor from out of state like Jordan Madden from Arkansas and Mariah Chandler from Georgia stay in touch through texting and Facebook.

ESPN RISE: What's going to become the biggest trend in high school sports during the next decade?

Griner: Messaging on Facebook. It's already big and the NCAA will probably try to make a rule on that if they haven't already tried. I think it should be allowed and I really think text-messaging should be allowed. I'd rather have Facebook or texts than 100 people calling me.

ESPN RISE: Is there any lesson you learned during high school that will help you in your future?

Griner: If I fail at something to keep trying until I get it. A lot of times I'd fail at something and I'd add that to my goals and try to achieve it. And every time, I've succeeded in it. No challenge is too big to conquer. Just growing up I was taught that by my parents and applied it to basketball.