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Guyton thrilled to come home for Hall of Fame

Half a world away from her Tampa roots, Wanda Guyton is thrilled to be coming home this fall for USF's inaugural Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Guyton, the only USF women's basketball player to have her jersey retired, is now enjoying retirement herself, two years removed from her pro career in Germany. She hasn't been home to Tampa since 2006, but said she plans on making the trip for her induction ceremony in September.

"When I got the e-mail from Mr. (Lee Roy) Selmon, I couldn't believe it," said Guyton, who works as an English teacher and basketball coach at a middle and high school in Bavaria. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be put into the Hall of Fame at the University of South Florida. It was a great feeling."

Guyton said that USF coach Jose Fernandez had dropped her cryptic hints -- "something is about to happen," without elaborating, and thanks the coach, saying he "had a lot to do with it."

Scoring 1,820 points and grabbing 1,077 rebounds probably had a lot to do with it, too. Guyton, a Hillsborough High graduate, left USF as its all-time leading scorer and still holds 10 career records, including rebounds, double-doubles, 30-point games and field-goal percentage.

Guyton won two WNBA championships with the Houston Comets, then finished her playing days overseas, first in Italy and then her last five years in Germany. She has gotten a permanent visa, and after becoming fluent in Italian, she's working on her German. "I think that I have it down, but I don't," she says. "But I'm not afraid to make mistakes, and I'm open to corrections. German is not an easy language."

Guyton loves the interaction with young basketball players -- she works with kids ages 11 to 16 -- and hopes to give them the direction and guidance as basketball grows more and more international.

"The people here are very giving, and the kids, they open up to you, they want your help," she said. "I see that and say 'I want to reach out to you.' I didn't have that when I was younger. It's amazing how they can pick things up so quickly."

Guyton remembers being a freshman at USF in 1984-85, when Charlie Bradley was a senior, leading the Bulls to the postseason NIT. She said there's a special significance to her in having her and Bradley, another Tampa native, as part of USF's inaugural Hall of Fame class.

"We both are Tampa people, so it's a wonderful thing that we both go in at the same time," she said.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:26pm]


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