Destiny Littleton’s prep accolades stack up favorably with some of the best players to ever play girls high school basketball.
And that’s not just hyperbole.
Littleton became the first girl in California prep history to eclipse 4,000 career points (she finished with over 4,300), more than legends Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie. The number puts her among the nation’s top 25 all-time scorers.
She enrolled at Texas, where she started 12 games last season and averaged the third-most minutes on the team (24.2 per game). The 5-9 guard averaged 8.4 points per game and was the Longhorns’ second-most efficient 3-point shooter, hitting 32.2 percent from behind the arc.
But Texas just wasn’t the fit, Littleton said when speaking with reporters last week.
She has found that at South Carolina, where she transferred to in May.
“This decision has been a life-changing decision for me. It’s just the next step that I have taken in my life and I’m excited about [it],” she said. “Things don’t always go the way you plan first time around, and I’ve learned that through this process. This last week and half (since Littleton got on campus) has taught me that this is the right place for me.
“Things don’t always go your way. Coming out of high school, I was top of my class, leading scorer in California, and I expected that going into college. That’s not how it was. You’re coming into college with a lot of great people surrounding you, it’s a different environment that high school players don’t really understand.”
As a transfer, Littleton must submit a waiver to the NCAA to become immediately eligible. She has yet to submit the waiver, which the NCAA may or may not accept.
If she is ruled ineligible, she will still have two years of eligibility left.
Even if she can’t be on the court for games this year, Littleton hopes she can be there for her team, and perhaps, mentor her fellow newcomers who make up the top-ranked recruiting class.
“I just try to tell them to stick to who you are. There’s going to be a lot of people who hope you fail and there’s also going to be a lot of people who hope you to succeed,” Littleton said.
Gamecock head coach Dawn Staley has a good track record with transfers — Allisha Gray, Kaela Davis, Te’a Cooper and Lindsey Spann — but Littleton didn’t think about that when she decided to transfer.
“Honestly, I didn’t look into that type of stuff,” Littleton said. “I did ask [Staley] about transfers, and how she handles them, but it was more so about my future and what I can do for the program.”
When Staley first reached out to Littleton, it wasn’t all about basketball.
“She wanted to know where my head was at. She wanted to know what I was thinking. It wasn’t really even about basketball,” Littleton said. “[It was more of], ‘What’s going on? How can I help?’ type of thing. That’s kind of what drew me here.”
Littleton has another adjustment to make.
It’s the first time she has played with someone with the same name. The Gamecocks return sophomore guard Destanni Henderson.
“It’s kinda difficult. The other Destanni, is actually taking it pretty well,” Littleton said. “She’s changed her name in practice. I guess they used to call her Des and now we call her Heni. Which is her other nickname, so I guess it’s not really changing her name.
“But she’s done that for me because that’s my only nickname. It’s fun, I guess, to have two [players with the same name].”