Friday, June 8, 2012

Nikki McCray's career was time well spent

Nikki McCray's (Collierville) sense of time didn't foreshadow her sense of timing.

The first definitely was a deficiency, requiring the forceful suggestion of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt and the generosity of a family member. When McCray arrived at UT as a Prop 48 freshman in 1990, Summitt advised her, "You're going to need a watch." McCray's aunt responded by giving her niece the timepiece off her wrist.

"I had no sense of time," McCray said. "I was late, late, late. That wasn't acceptable."
She wasn't tardy, however, for the explosion in women's basketball that coincided with the 1996 Olympics. In fact, she couldn't have plotted the arc of her career any better to take advantage of the opportunity.

"We talk about the timing of everything," McCray said. "The thing I've prided myself on is the people I've associated myself with."

She'll be in good company this weekend as a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2012. McCray, an assistant coach at South Carolina, will be inducted along with five others, including South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley.

The induction ceremony is at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Bijou Theatre.

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