All eyes on Jackson center

January 04, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

From the moment she walks into the gym, Sarah Elliott is the center of attention.

She's the one folks are pointing out to the people sitting next to them as she stands head and shoulders above her teammates.

And she's the one with two or sometimes three defenders sticking to her in virtually every game she plays.

That was the case again Saturday for the 6-6 Jackson County center in the Stuart Powell City of Firsts Basketball Classic at Danville, where she was arguably the best-known player in the 13-game event.

But it doesn't seem to faze the easygoing Elliott.

"She plays the game level-headed," Jackson coach Greg Parrett said.

That was evident when Woodford County held the Miss Basketball candidate to 10 points and 12 rebounds - far below her season averages of 29 and 18 - and Jackson had to rally to win 51-49.


"Her last game she got 48 points and tonight she got 10, and I think she's just as happy that we won as she was getting 48," Parrett said. "Sarah does have some individual goals, but they're very secondary to our team goals."

After making Kentucky her college choice last fall, Elliott seems to have even more eyes on her than ever before.

But she is also clear about what she has to do in the coming months to prepare for playing at Kentucky.

"I've got to get in better shape," she said. "I'm in shape, but I'm not where I need to be. And I need to work on my ball movement and just being stronger, really."

Elliott said she became a believer in Kentucky coach Mickie DeMoss before DeMoss coached her first game. She spurned Purdue and Notre Dame to become part of an impressive recruiting class in DeMoss' first year.

"She laid it out, the way it's going to be," Elliott said. "She said, 'It's not going to be easy, but wherever you go it's going to be like that.' I felt like that was the place I needed to be."

Elliott has helped Jackson earn four straight trips to the Sweet Sixteen - the Lady Generals reached the finals in 2002 - and two All "A" Classic titles, but she has also been sur-rounded by talented teammates.

"You can look at our overall success, and we couldn't accomplish that without six or seven or eight good players every year," Parrett said.

That said, Parrett is aware that coaches don't often get the chance to work with players like Elliott, who is just the second Division I signee in the school's 37-year history.

"I thank God for allowing me to be part of something like this,"Parrett said.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing for Elliott, too, who said she has enjoyed the opportunities she has had in high school but now looks forward to the next chapter.

"It's going to be a new experience for me," she said. "I'll get an education, I'll get to travel, I'll get everything I can out of this."

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