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of  ‘claws struggles. Now she and Sally Jenkins are spreading the word the hope that it will help others: Chamique Holdsclaw confronts her ‘little secret’ of depression

The greatest athletes are all about controlling the body with the mind, and for a long time, Chamique Holdsclaw could do that. She could hover around the basketball rim and create any shot, her imagination pulling the strings of her arms and legs. Then one morning, her mind quit on her. She couldn’t make herself put on a pair of shoes, much less elevate. She lost track of three straight days sitting on a couch in the dark, eating Fruity Pebbles. The devastating onset of depression was “my little secret,” she says.

It’s not her little secret anymore. It’s the subject of a big-hearted autobiography called “Breaking Through: Beating the Odds Shot After Shot,” and in it, Holdsclaw details her mortal struggle with despair, including her nervous breakdown as a star with the Washington Mystics in 2004, and a never-before disclosed suicide attempt when she played for the Los Angeles Sparks in 2006.

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Tyler Summitt battling alongside his legendary mom

The hard part was knowing that Pat Summitt’s every move from that announcement on would be viewed through the prism of Alzheimer’s. And snap judgments would be made based on scant information.

If fans saw assistant coach Mickie DeMoss doing most of the talking during a timeout, it must mean that Pat was feeling badly. If the team had a bad game, it must mean that Pat isn’t in charge anymore. And everyone wants to know how long she can and will coach.

“It was obviously the right move, going public,” Tyler said. “Her program’s always been an open book. But it has put a bigger spotlight on this.

“She is still the boss – of the house and of this office. Whatever is going to happen after this season, it’s up to the boss.”

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more than South Carolina winning against Tennessee for the first time since 1980. At TBA.

From Hoopgurlz: Tough decisions ahead for Lady Vols

Out of deference to the icon and true pioneer Pat Summitt has been for women’s basketball, people have been hesitant to discuss the consequences of her early onset Alzheimer’s. But many have wondered: How much longer does Summitt have before she must give up coaching? What are the Lady Vols’ plans for her succession? And what kind of effect is that having on Tennessee’s recruiting?

If ever there was a surefire “franchise player,” a future face of women’s college basketball, among underclass high school girls today, it is Kaela Davis, a junior at Buford (Ga.) who is ranked No. 2 by ESPN HoopGurlz among prospects in her class. And for 19 months, she has been the coming foundation at a Tennessee program that possibly will no longer be led by Summitt, as unfathomable as that might once have seemed.

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Holdsclaw surprises Summitt with gift – Delivers letters of 60-plus former players

Holdsclaw, a four-time Lady Vols All-American from 1995-99, presented Summitt with a collection of letters written by former players and managers detailing their relationship with Summitt and her influence on their lives.

“I know my relationship with Coach Summitt through the death of my grandmother and me going through my ups and downs,” said Holdsclaw, who has dealt with depression. “What I realized from these letters is coach has helped these players through some of the most difficult times of their lives. When I’m reading them, I’m thinking, ‘Wow she’s had an impact on their lives.'”

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From Mechelle: Assistants play even bigger roles – Pat Summitt’s longstanding practice of empowering staff made transition more fluid

“There are times I get emotional,” Warlick said. “But you look at Pat, and she’s like, ‘What’s the problem?’ She gives me strength.

“But it hits you at weird times. Somebody stopped me in the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving, and this lady was just like …”

 

Warlick pauses and sighs. She fully appreciates that people want to express their concern and their support, but when they start tearing up, it’s hard for her to want to do anything but flee.

“I was just thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’ve got to get out of here,'” Warlick said.

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From Sally Jenkins: Pat Summitt, Tennessee women’s basketball coach, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease

Full disclosure: It is the measure of Summitt’s large-heartedness that she could call any of a half-dozen people her closest friend. This writer has only one: her. “I would rather drive stakes through my own hands than write this story,” I said.

Sally also did a Q&A with Tennessee women’s basketball assistants Mickie DeMoss, Holly Warlick and Dean Lockwood

At Sports Illustrated: Ex-Lady Vol Marciniak on Summitt’s diagnosis, her future and more

Fortune Magazine’s Patricia Sellers: Tough love: Behind Pat Summitt’s leadership coaching success

ESPN Blog: Tyler Summitt stands tall for his mother

Washington Post’s Jenna McGregor: Pats Summitt’s Back-up Team

Dan Fleser: Tabor Spani: Pat Summitt, Lady Vols still thinking national title
…and Pat Summitt: UT assistants ‘have my back’ Summitt hints action plan discussed
…and Mayo Clinic tests troubled Summitt
…and Pat Summitt diagnosed with early onset dementia – Lady Vols basketball coach has no plans to step down

From VolunteerTV.com: Vol fans stand in support of Pat Summitt and Join ‘We’ve got your back Pat’ by clicking here.

John Adams from GoVolsxtra.com writes: When it’s time, Lady Vols will be left Summitt strong

From the Tennessean’s David Climer: Pat Summitt won’t take diagnosis lying down

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