The 2023 Class of the USC Association of Lettermen’s Hall of Fame will be inducted on Thursday, October 12. Those needing tickets to the event can still take advantage of a discount if purchased by October 1, 2023. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets!
Shaunzinski Gortman (1998-2002) found success at every level of basketball, now she continues to give back to the game and the community as a coach and philanthropist. Gortman is one of eight who will be inducted as part of the 2023 class of the University of South Carolina Association of Lettermen Athletics Hall of Fame.
“It was quite a surprise,” said Gortman, who lives in West Columbia and works in the IT Department for the Fairfield County School District Office and is also the head girls’ basketball coach at Fairfield Central High School. “I had to let it sink in. When I first received the news, I was honored to sit among a lot of great people. It was just a great feeling. The Hall of Fame, that’s something huge. To see your hard work pay off and have people acknowledge and recognize you for the work you put in was just amazing.”
As a coach, she wants to make an impact for young athletes, on and off the court.
“What I love about coaching is being able to make a difference, change mindsets, and to be able to impact the lives of the younger generation. I enjoy being able to motivate, encourage, and just to give back in the same way that people gave to me.”
Gortman scored 1,367 points during her four-year career with the Gamecocks, and added 576 rebounds, 318 assists and 212 steals in 105 contests. She led South Carolina in three-point shooting in both the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons and owns one of just eight triple-doubles in program history. She earned second-team All-SEC honors as a junior and first-team All-SEC accolades as a senior, while being named honorable mention All-America. She was named to the 2002 NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team after leading the Gamecocks to a 25-7 record and the program’s first spot in the NCAA Elite 8.
“My fondest memory was coming into a program that wasn’t that well-established and then by the time I was a junior, we were making progress to be one of the better teams,” Gortman said. “Of course, going to the Elite 8 my senior year was very special.”
“I feel like it is important for a lot of younger kids in this generation to have leaders and people in their lives who can teach them life lessons, motivate them to be successful, and provide opportunities to reach their greatest potential.”
After her days in the Garnet and Black, Gortman was selected by Charlotte with the ninth pick in the first round of the 2002 WNBA Draft, and also played professionally for both Minnesota and Washington, as well as overseas. When her playing days were over, she stayed close to the game by coaching at various levels and also runs a non-profit organization, Infinite Dreams, also known as “I D.R.E.A.M.S.”
“I D.R.E.A.M.S stands for ‘I am determined, responsible, educated, accountable, and motivated for success,’” Gortman said. “I started it in 2012. The mission is to use basketball as a vessel to provide opportunity for young female athletes. I feel like it is important for a lot of younger kids in this generation to have leaders and people in their lives who can teach them life lessons, motivate them to be successful, and provide opportunities to reach their greatest potential.
“I coach high school, and I have my own youth organization, too. I have travel programs. I still enjoy watching games on TV and learning. Just like players, in coaching, in order to grow, you have to keep studying and learning the game.”
Gortman competed in basketball, softball, volleyball, and track as a youngster, and she believes it’s important for young athletes to compete in a variety of disciplines.
“I encourage kids to play multiple sports because every sport is different and requires a different mindset,” Gortman said. “You use different muscles, too, so you’re not using the same muscles over and over. You work with different groups of people. Having different tools in different sports just helps you grow overall as a person.”
Gortman is excited about the opportunity to be back on campus for Hall of Fame Weekend.
“I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and being in the presence of people who admire you for what you do,” Gortman said. “It will be great to come back to my old stomping grounds. It’s great to see the growth of the (women’s basketball) team as well as the University. Of course, I’m looking forward to going to the football game. That will be an electric atmosphere!”