She started as a simple YouTube sensation and has transitioned into a budding superstar that could reshape the face of women's college basketball.
Baylor freshman Brittney Griner first became nationally famous for a YouTube video that showed her going through a variety of dunks in practice as a junior at Houston's Nimitz High School. The video has gathered more than four million views on YouTube.
Griner has now taken her highflying abilities to Waco, where she is currently throwing down slams for coach Kim Mulkey. Griner had two dunks Saturday night against Texas State, including a two-handed slam on a fast break that sent the home crowd at the Ferrell Center into a frenzy.
The dunking is fun and the gawking never stops when Griner is around, but let's just step back and look at the implications that this has not only for Baylor as a team, but the entire women's college basketball scene.
Griner is one of the tallest women playing college basketball today at 6'8" (Michigan State's Allyssa DeHaan is 6'9") and because of that, good things are happening. Griner has already set the Baylor single season shot blocking record with 88 blocks through 14 games. After Griner set the record against Texas State, Mulkey was quoted in the Waco Tribune-Herald as saying, "They say records are meant to be broken. I'm not sure that when she finishes her four years that anyone will come close to her shot-blocking record." The current record is held by former TCU Horned Frog Sandora Irvin, who collected 480 blocks from 2002-2005.
Despite her great height, Griner is still a very young and raw player who has work to do to become a truly dominant player. She leads the Lady Bears in scoring at 19.6 points per game and rebounding with nine per contest. Surprisingly, she is not leading the team in field goal percentage, despite being the closest person to the rim. That lead goes to Ashley Field, who is shooting a whopping 70 percent from the floor. Griner is shooting 56 percent, but also has 61 more shot attempts than anyone on the team.
The fact that women's basketball players almost always stay all four years of college has Kim Mulkey salivating on what she can do with Griner, both individually and as a team through her. Baylor only has one senior, forward Morghan Medlock, on its roster this year. Griner not only has the on court effect, but affects things off the court as well, as she can help bring in recruits to an already deep and athletic Lady Bear team. Who wouldn't want to play with a 6'8" center?
Brittney Griner's arrival at Baylor has already started to shift things in the women's college basketball world. The Lady Bears have already won one national title, in 2005. With Griner on the court and lots of talent surrounding her, there may be more on the horizon.