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Juco jolt (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday December 19, 2006 5:35PM; Updated: Tuesday December 19, 2006 5:51PM
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The 2006 WBCA junior college player of the year, Bobbitt spent the past two seasons preparing for this. After all, with five national championships, Trinity Valley mirrors Tennessee's success on the junior college level. That's exactly why Bobbitt chose the school when she realized junior college would be her best option out of high school.

"They had just won a national championship," Bobbitt said. "I wanted to play with the best and against the best. That's what I did, and it's what I'm doing now."

Although it's not the same as the jump from high school, the move from junior college to Knoxville was a bit of an adjustment. The lights are brighter. The stands are fuller. And the games are bigger.

The Lady Vols play the toughest schedule in the country, loading up with games against the top-ranked teams. And Bobbitt has struggled in a few of them, especially on the road. At Arizona State, she matched her three assists with three turnovers. She gave the ball up twice as many times at North Carolina -- Tennessee's only loss.

"It's not so much that it's hard teams, but at the other arenas, I didn't know what to expect," Bobbitt said. "I got too nervous and got out of my comfort zone. But I just had to play my game the way I can, and run the team."

Other adjustments have come more easily. After two years of cramming into vans for road trips, Bobbitt now enjoys charter buses and airplanes. Instead of tiny gymnasiums, she plays before a packed house at Thompson-Boling Arena. She wears nicely laundered uniforms and runs around in fancy new shoes.

"They are so appreciative of the opportunities they have had here," Summitt said. "Whether it's how we travel, the gear they receive, the running shoes for conditioning, the basketball shoes for playing. When they got their basketball shoes it was, 'Thank you coach.' They thanked everyone. They appreciate everything. Honestly, it has been a breath of fresh air. These kids really do appreciate everything because this is a different environment and different circumstances."

It's not the shoes and catered meals that Bobbitt appreciates most, though.

"It doesn't get any better than playing for Pat Summitt," Bobbitt said. "My time here is short, but I'm going to enjoy every moment."

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