It's a day for prodigious offspring here at College Basketball Nation. First, it was the rising star of Marcus Jordan, son of Michael. Now it's the, um, "star" of Tyler Summitt, the son of legendary Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt, who has sprinkles of Jordan in his own tale.
In sixth grade, Summitt was cut from his school's basketball team. Eight years later, he's a member of Bruce Pearl's No. 17-ranked Tennessee squad, and he nailed a three in the waning moments of Tennessee's 86-56 win against Middle Tennessee State on Tuesday. Summitt isn't a Division-I basketball player, really; he's one of those walk-ons that doesn't see the court until the game is really, really out of hand. But he doesn't seem to care; his attitude is as realistic, and refreshing, as you could possibly ask. From the Knoxville News-Sentinel:
"The best part of this for me is just being on the team with heavily recruited guys like Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris,'' Summitt said. "I don't care if I play another minute. I just want to give my all in practice and be a part of the team.''
"I remember I was crying when I came home [after being cut in sixth grade], and Mom walked into the room with two basketballs, one under each arm,'' he said. "She said 'if you wear these basketballs out, you will make the team.'
"Every year she would make me write down my goals, and at the bottom of every list, I always wrote I wanted to be a Tennessee walk-on. It's always been my dream.''
It's a cool story, and the News-Sentinel's accompanying photo -- Summitt being mauled by much-taller teammates Brian Williams, Cameron Tatum and Renaldo Woolridge after his three Tuesday night -- reinforces the coolness. Tyler Summitt's dream was to be a walk-on at Tennessee. For the son of Pat Summitt, it seems like a modest dream, but he's living it. How many of us get to say that?