On this date 10 years ago, 16-year-old Quanitra Hollingsworth – the nation’s youngest college basketball player – made her VCU debut, scoring 15 points while grabbing eight rebounds in an 82-50 exhibition win over Virginia Union.
Hollingsworth’s debut kicked off one of the one of the more transcendent careers in VCU history and jump-started the VCU Women’s Basketball program. Hollingsworth, who turned 17 just prior to the official 2005-06 season-opener, averaged 14.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game as a freshman for the Rams. She was named CAA Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-America by Women’s Basketball News Service.
A native of Chesapeake, Virginia, Hollingsworth was a gifted student who skipped the fifth and sixth grades and graduated high school at 15. A 6-foot-4 center, Hollingsworth drew both interest and intrigue from college coaches. While her basketball skills were raw and age was a concern, Hollingsworth’s gifts were apparent. She was simply more athletic than nearly every post player she encountered. She enrolled at VCU at 15 and redshirted the 2004-05 season.
Hollingsworth’s VCU career culminated in the Rams’ first NCAA Tournament bid in 2008-09. She scored 1,604 points and grabbed 1,114 rebounds in four seasons and her jersey was retired prior to her final home game. Hollingsworth ranks third in school history in points, second in rebounds, third in blocked shots (162) and second in double-doubles (55). She was later selected No. 9 overall in the WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx.
Prior to Hollingsworth’s arrival, VCU had reached the postseason just once in program history. Since she helped the Rams to a WNIT bid in 2007-08, VCU has received six postseason berths.
In the years since, Hollingsworth has enjoyed a successful professional career in Europe and the WNBA. In 2012, she played for Turkey in the Olympic games in London.