Brittney Crews will never forget one shot.
A standout shooting guard at Jefferson High and Brenau University, Crews has taken several big shots during her career, but none were as important as a simple baseline jumper during a 1999 coach’s camp at Buford.
“That was basically her tryout and she didn’t know it,” her father Terry said.
That’s because University of Georgia coach Andy Landers was inbounding the ball, and prefaced the shot by telling the players in attendance he needed a shooter.
Crews quickly raised her hand and stepped onto the court. After much ribbing from Landers, who kept asking her if she was capable of making it, Crews said pass me the ball, jumped in the air, and drained it.
“All I kept thinking was ‘dear Lord, let me make this,’” said the 5-foot-9 Crews.
She didn’t realize it at the time, but that one shot impressed Landers, who said some candid words to Crews to get her motivated.
“After that it made me realize I wanted something more,” Crews said.
She wanted to be a Georgia Lady Bulldog.
So she approached her parents and informed her of the decision. She wanted to leave Brenau after two seasons and go to Georgia. Hearing his daughter say she was surrendering a full scholarship to move to Athens, Terry started asking questions, specifically about basketball.
“I asked her if she still wanted to play basketball,” Terry said. “She said yes, for Georgia.”
To make that move, she had to get a release from her scholarship at Brenau, which was disappointing for head coach Gary Bays.
“She’s a great kid with outstanding range and we were counting on her,” Bays said. “But every player has to do what’s in her best interest and she made a tough decision.”
With her parents’ blessing and a release from Brenau, Brittney created a DVD of her highlights and took it to
Georgia assistant coach Cam Newbauer in May. While in Athens, she crossed paths with Landers and told him why she was there. She also asked if he remembered her?
“He said, ‘of course I remember you,’” she said. “He said, ‘you were the one that made that shot.’”
Surprised at his recollection, Crews realized all she needed to do was get accepted to Georgia and she would have a good shot at making the team.
One application and one acceptance letter later, and Crews was on campus and in Newbauer’s office asking when she could try out. After a few days, Newbauer called and said to be at the gym at 3:30 p.m. the next day.
“I prayed all night,” Crews said. “This is what I wanted.”
Little did she know she already had her tryout.
After 10 to 15 shots on a side basket, Landers approached Crews and asked, “what are you thinking right now?”
“I told him I was trying out and wanted to be on the team,” Crews said.
“He said he wasn’t talking about that, he was asking what I was doing there,” she added.
Not sure how to respond, Crews was told the answer. Landers informed her she couldn’t tryout and play for this year’s team because it was against NCAA rules.
And then came the words she’ll never forget.
“Don’t freak out, you’ll just use this as your redshirt year,” Landers said. “I want you on the team.”
“I was blown away,” Crews said. “I couldn’t say anything.”
What she could do was get to work. Practice started this week, and although she can’t compete in games, she’s still reaping the rewards of being a Lady Bulldog.
“I feel like a spoiled brat because they give you everything,” Crews said referring to T-shirts, shorts and other Georgia garb. “God has blessed me, and it’s my dream come true.”
Unfortunately her dream of suiting up for the team will have to wait until next season.
“It’s gonna be rough because I’m very competitive,” Crews said of sitting out a year. “But then again, I’m excited because I can get plugged into the system so next year I can hit the ground running.”
And hopefully for Georgia, she hits it shooting too.
In a conversation with Landers earlier this week, Terry Crews asked the coach why he wanted Brittney on the team. With little hesitation, Landers looks at Terry and said five words: Because she can shoot it.
Landers knew that after seeing one shot.