In the Adidas Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas, one of prep basketball's leading summer events, Charde Houston, the first female player in the tournament's nine-year history. The 6-foot guard, who was a second-team Parade All-America as a junior at San Diego High last year, suited up for the EBO/ EA Sports team alongside stars such as DeMarcus Nelson (committed to Duke) of Vallejo ( Calif.) High, Dwight O'Neil ( Fresno State) of Washington Union High in Fresno and Lorenzo Wade ( Louisville) of Cheyenne High in Las Vegas. "I was surprised when she first walked into the gym," said Nelson, "but I knew who she was. I heard she can play."
So had EBO/EA coach Darren Matsubara, who consulted with Houston's high school coach before inviting her to join some 5,000 other players in the 400-team tournament. Houston averaged 35.6 points per game last season and needs 771 points to break Cheryl Miller's state record of 3,446 in a career. The week before the Big Time, Houston was named MVP of the Adidas Top 10 Camp in Atlanta, the top summer camp for female players. And with a 3.8 GPA and an 1,080 SAT score, she has a wealth of future options. Coaches from UConn, Tennessee, UCLA, Texas, Kentucky and Cincinnati attended her games at Big Time, as did a scout from the WNBA's Indiana Fever. "In Atlanta I was a superstar," said Houston. "Here I am just a player."
Wearing her lucky red patent-leather Tracy McGrady Adidas shoes—which she only breaks out for big games—Houston played 28 minutes over four games and scored five points before her team was eliminated. She was forced to play on the perimeter more than she's accustomed to, but her quickness enabled her to hold her own defensively. "It was something I wanted to try, and I'm happy I did it," she said, "I know this is going to help me as I move on to college. But it will also be nice to get back to playing against girls."