Brantley Southers (1981-1986) traveled the world during her career, and not just as an outstanding basketball player. The former South Carolina star currently lives in Vitoria, Spain and is one of 10 former Gamecocks to be inducted into the University’s Track and Field Hall of Fame on October 14.
âI didn’t believe it at first,â Southers said of his Hall of Fame induction. âI was very humbled because it was something I absolutely never expected. It was the furthest thing from my mind. I said, ‘God, thank you! “It brought tears to my eye.”
Born in Marietta, Georgia, Southers’ mother then moved them to Columbia where she began her basketball career at Dreher High School and became a coveted nationwide rookie.
âI took basketball so seriously,â Southers said. âI kind of found my niche. I was spending all my time on it. I was going to public parks and playing with the guys. I had a box full of offers from universities all over the United States. . “
Luckily for South Carolina, she stayed close to home. Southers has scored 1,982 career points, fourth on the school’s all-time roster, and remains third in all-time goals scored and first in career free throw percentage. She was selected three times to the All-Metro Conference First Team, was the Metro Tournament MVP in 1986, was named to the Conference All-Star three times, and was three times All-Star. -American.
âI’m the proudest of the free throws,â Southers said. âAll I did was train, train and practice. I would tell anyone that if you were a good free throw shooter you will always be valuable to a team. Even if you’re not a star you can still play defense, and you can still do free throws. It’s like driving a car, you don’t have to think about it.
âWinning the Metro Conference Championship was one of my fondest memories.â
“I wouldn’t take anything off to go around the world like I did.”
After earning a physical education degree in South Carolina, the Southers enjoyed a long career as a professional player abroad, which included stops in Sweden, Brazil, Spain, France and Italy.
“When I was out of college, the best players would go overseas to Europe or South America,” Southers said. âI would play for nine months and then come back to the States for vacation. I actually played against (the current South Carolina head coach) Dawn Staley in Spain. I don’t know if she remembers me. We had a collision during a game. She hit me, bounced off me and fell.
âJust as I was retiring I got an offer to play at the start of the WNBA, but I was too injured at the time. I was 34 and had a bad ankle and she had to be operated.
Southers has spent the last 24 years living in Spain and now owns a sports medicine business and teaches English to children and adults there. Looking back, Southers is happy to have pursued her dreams and played basketball abroad.
âI always thought I was prepared for life anyway,â Southers said. “I met a lot of people who came abroad to play basketball, and they weren’t able to adapt to cultures, but I was open, I wanted to meet people and I wanted to learn languages. I would have loved to play in the WNBA, but I wouldn’t take anything off to go around the world like I did. I enjoyed it a lot.
âMeeting people was my favorite part. Just the fact of traveling was wonderful. “
That’s not to say that she hasn’t followed her alma mater over the years.
âI have a t-shirt from when baseball won the national championship in 2011,â Southers said. “My mom sent me the jersey, then when the women’s basketball team won the national championship (2017), my uncle and aunt sent me two t-shirts!”
Now that she’ll be in the 2021 Hall of Fame class, Southers can’t wait to come back and tour the campus to make some new memories.
âI can’t wait to see people I haven’t seen in a long time,â Southers said. “I know things have changed a lot. I’m also very excited to go to the Williams-Brice stadium. I was back on campus two years ago. I also want to come back and see a game. women’s basketball. “