4. Candace Parker had not yet played a game on Rocky Top.
Pat Summitt’s Tennessee Lady Vols basketball program was in the midst of a national title drought the last time Tennessee baseball made the College World Series. UT’s most recent title had been 1998, and from 2001 to 2004, they were eliminated by the UConn Huskies every year, three times in the national title game.
In 2005, the Lady Vols blew a 16-point lead to the Michigan State Spartans in the Final Four, costing them another shot. However, help was on the horizon. Candace Parker, the best player in a generation coming out of high school, arrived in 2004 and took a redshirt to heal from a knee injury she had suffered in a summer league game.
At this point, Parker had not played a game for the program. However, Summitt was dead set on landing her early on and made sure she would find her way to Rocky Top. It was clear that once she got on the floor, she would end the drought for the Lady Vols.
Nobody knew it at the time, but she was going to do just that. After being eliminated in the Elite Eight her first year on the court, 2005-2006, she led the Lady Vols to their final two national titles in back to back years, 2007 and 2008.