Thursday, May 22, 2008

Player Profile: Ivory Latta

Name: Ivory Latta
Born: September 24, 1984
Place of Birth: McConnells, South Carolina
Height: 5-6 (1.68 m) (but more likely 5-4, or 1.63 m)
Weight: 143 (64.9 kg)

High School: York Comprehensive High School (South Carolina)
Colleges: North Carolina

Years Pro: 2

Position: Point guard

Kudos: 1) Named the 2003 Morgan Wooten National Girls HS Basketball Player of the Year, an award given in conjunction with the McDonald's All-American Game.
2) January 10, 2003 was Ivory Latta Day in York, South Carolina.
3) Scored 70 points in a HS game. Had 50 or more points eight times in her senior year, averaged 44.6 points per game.
4) Homecoming Queen at York HS.
5) Two-time South Carolina Miss Basketball.
6) All-ACC Freshman Team in 2004
7) All-ACC First Team in 2005 and 2007
8) Whew. Pretty much the Everyone-and-her-grandmother's Player of the Year in 2006.
9) Her #12 is one of only two jersey numbers retired by the North Carolina Women's Team.
9) Drafted as a first round pick (#11) in 2007 by the Detroit Shock.

Nickname: Lacking one. The worst thing she's been called is "Latta Nothing".


Ivory Latta was born as a rather sickly child in McConnells, South Carolina, with a population of 312. After several long stays at a hospital in Rock Hill, Ivory's illness was finally diagnosed - asthma.

Like many asthma suffers in infancy, as her respiratory system got bigger, the asthma abated. Ivory said that "the more she ran, the better she felt" and she took up sports with a vengeance, including taking up basketball at the age of five.

However, since childhood her small size was a handicap. Taller players would routinely try to post up on her -- that is, turn their backs towards her, receive the ball and try to physically bump her out of position through incidental contact in the area close to the basket, like a truck backing up.

Latta preservered and was pretty much a superstar in Girls Basketball in South Carolina. She would graduate high school with a GPA of 3.9, and the outgoing and energetic Latta would be named Homecoming Queen.

Latta went to the University of North Carolina, where she majored in exercise and sport science. She was just as stellar at UNC as she was in high school. (She even made friends with Ludacris!) While at UNC, Latta brought her emotion and exuberance to her game, listening to a lot of music to get in the right state of mind.

Her greatest challenge was an injury that occurred in 2006 during a NCAA Final Four loss to Maryland, where she tore her lateral meniscus and required knee surgery. She rehabbed during the 2006-2007 off-season.

In 2007, she was drafted by the Detroit Shock, but she proved unable to crack the lineup despite being a #1 draft pick. Was it because she had limited mobility from the surgery (as some claim) or was it because the Shock were a well-disciplined championship squad that simply had no room for an extra player as a starter?

Latta went to Israel to play with Elizur Holon in the 2007-08 offseason. During the offseason, she was selected from the Shock by the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Expansion Draft.

The sad part of the story is that since Latta has not played regularly, she hasn't had a chance to answer the naysayers, who claim either limited height, limited mobility, or both make Latta one of those players who were great in college but are role-players at best in the WNBA. Hopefully, time with the Atlanta Dream as a starter will give Dream fans (and WNBA followers) an answer one way or another.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ivory is tha best player ever i wanna be jus like her i won't to go to North Carolina like her too..but i think u shoulda stayed with detriot yall made a good team detriot is my fav tweety and smith are good to but ivory is always gone be my fav player i love that break ankles u did when u were in North Carolina