- Glenn Nelson, ESPNHS HoopGurlz
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For their last game of the summer, in Santa Ana, Calif., all the girls on the JBS club team played with No. 23 written on their shoulders.
href="http://insider.espn.go.com/ncw/recruiting/tracker/player?recruitId=76134&season=2010">Brittany Shine, who wore No. 23 for JBS, had been sidelined for most of the summer with a sprained right foot.
"That's how important everyone felt she was to our team," JBS coach Sean Chambers said.
The superlatives seem to flow where Brittany Shine is concerned. Shine's high-school coach, Michele Massari of Sacramento, which should be a nationally ranked team this coming season, goes as far as to call her "special."
Florida, one of the up-and-coming programs in the SEC, thought enough of Shine to wow her during an official visit last weekend and slam the brakes on her recruiting process. Right after a home visit by Washington and mere days from an official visit to the Husky campus in Seattle, the No. 89 prospect in the ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred called coach Amanda Butler on Wednesday and committed to the Gators.
Though highly intrigued by Pittsburgh and Washington, for Shine the trip to Gainesville, Fla., was enough to close the deal.
"When I saw Florida, I got a feeling that you get when you really want to be somewhere," said Shine, whose first official visit was to Pitt a week earlier.
Butler and the Gators are getting an explosive, 5-foot-10 guard who is driven. The driver, Shine says, is the WNBA. To reach it, she works out nearly two hours with a personal trainer, then practices another two hours or so with her Sacramento High School team.
Chambers, for whom Shine has played since the eighth grade, calls his prodigy a "gym rat." She played one game at the End of the Trail to start the summer in Oregon City, Ore., but was shut down after the pain increased in her sprained foot. Shine played another game, dropping 26 points on the highly touted Northwest Blazers in Las Vegas after the mid-July break, but was shut down again by Chambers, who nevertheless was sympathetic to her desire to play on.
"She is one of those kids who is born and bred basketball," Chambers said.
Another motivator, Shine says, is a state championship that has eluded Sacramento the past two years. Shine is aptly supplemented on the team by top prospects Erica Barnes, who is 6-2, and Kyra Dunn, who is 6-3. National powers such as Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Mary's have proved major obstacles in Northern California.
The three seniors are on a mission to break through this season, Shine said, and her daily workout regimen is hoped to be an impetus.
"I hope it sets an example," Shine said. "That's what I try to do."
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Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the Parade All-American Selection Committee, he formerly coached girl's club basketball, was the editor-in-chief of an online sports network, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.