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Former Tennessee Lady Vols star Chamique Holdsclaw grateful for mercy after guilty plea

10:24 AM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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HENDERSONVILLE - Chamique Holdsclaw, the centerpiece of Tennessee's three straight women's basketball championships from 1996-98, is spending a couple of days this week at a youth basketball camp.

She admits that it's by the "grace and mercy" of God - as well as an Atlanta judge - that she's able to do so.

Holdsclaw was arrested in November after police said she fired a shot into a car belonging to former girlfriend Jennifer Lacy and also used a bat to smash the car's windows. Holdsclaw pleaded guilty last month to aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and was sentenced to three years' probation and 120 hours of community service.

"That was a really tough situation," Holdsclaw said Tuesday at Beech High School, where she's helping fellow ex-Lady Vol Brittany Jackson with her Back-2-School Basketball Camp, which continues Wednesday.

"That was really uncharacteristic of Chamique. I'm really remorseful for that. I've held on to a lot of guilt. It was like going through a mental prison the last seven or eight months. I think God created that stillness in my life. He's forgiving, and through His grace and mercy everything worked itself out."

It was the latest and most public episode that illustrated Holdsclaw's off-court struggles. She has been diagnosed with clinical depression and addresses that in her autobiography "Breaking Through: Beating the Odds Shot After Shot."

"I'm so thankful for Chamique to come and help out," Jackson said. "She does a great job with the kids, and they all look up to her. For her to jump on board, I'm so thankful to her."

Holdsclaw, 35, hasn't closed the door on her playing career but has been more focused of late on raising mental health awareness and has continued to be out front with her own issues.

"There's so much stigma associated with mental health," she said. "People look at you from the outside, see this greatness and think your life is so glorious. It's great to open up. My key (is) to be transparent. By being transparent, I'm going to help so many people. That's what it's all about to me, giving back.

"I know the struggle I've had, the nights I couldn't sleep. If I can help the next person, I know it's going to make a difference. I'm just trying to knock down those barriers."

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