2011 WNBA Pre-Draft Conference Call: Players


Jantel Lavender Ė Ohio State, Center

TaíShia Phillips Ė Xavier, Center

Courtney Vandersloot Ė Gonzaga, Guard

Question and Answer Session

Q: How excited are you to become a WNBA player?

JL: Iím really excited, really eager. There are a lot of mixed emotions for me going into this. Iíve already graduated on March 20 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education so Iím looking forward to the Draft and finding out where Iíll be going.

TP: Iím very, very excited for the opportunity to continue playing the game I love. I love. Iíll be finishing college with two degrees, one in entrepreneurial studies and one in marketing and I, too, am very eager, waiting to see where Iíll be playing.

Q: Courtney, how do see your role in the WNBA?

CV: Iím excited about the opportunity and itís going to be a learning experience, a learning process. Iíve worked hard to learn as much as I can up to this point and Iím excited to take a different role and learn from the (veteran) players on whatever team I get chosen by.

Q: TaíShia, what kind of feedback have you received from your college coach (Kevin McGuff) about your game and about what you might need to do to transition to the pro level?

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  • TP: Weíve really just been focused on the end of our season and the things we accomplished. We havenít yet had our end of season meetings. Weíll talk probably within the next few days. Coach McGuff over the past four years has talked to me about maintaining my conditioning, maintaining my strength, and maybe opening up my game a little bit more by taking it out to 15, 17 feet (from the basket).

    Q: Jantel, how quickly can you adapt to the pro game and what areas do you intend to focus on?

    JL: I definitely think I can adapt quickly. It will certainly be a difference from college to the WNBA with all the legends playing there. I really need to focus on doing a lot of the things Iíve done well in college, which is run the floor, get low position. I think my face-up game will really benefit me because it allows me to see the floor and read the situation. I really want to make sure Iím versatile, make sure that my 3-point shot is where it needs to be and focus on those things I did well in college.

    Q: Courtney, can you talk about the challenges of taking your game to the next leve and is there a team or players in the WNBA youíve dreamed of playing with?

    CV: The opportunity to play with any of these pros would be a dream come true. There are so many talented players all over the league; so itís hard to just pick one or even a couple. The challenge is just trying to sharpen up your game. Every level that you get to is a little bit better and the opportunity to play at the highest level in the WNBA is a rare opportunity and you have to be ready to give it everything youíve got.

    Q: Jantel and TaíShia, the WNBA coaches on the call earlier all talked about how much they value rebounding and how physical a task that is in the WNBA. Can you talk about how much you relish the challenge of doing that at the next level?

    JL: Itíll definitely be a challenge that Iím looking forward to. I love to rebound but I think it will take a bit more precision because youíre going to see a lot more Ďbigsí in the WNBA. So the emphasis will have to be on using our strength, like we have in college, but weíll have to focus in on the fact that these veterans have been doing this and know the tricks of the trade and how to do certain things to get rebounds over rookies like us. So weíll have to have a big emphasis on boxing out and really using the techniques we know to be rebounders in the league.

    TP: Like Jantel said, weíre going to have to focus on the fundamentals, like boxing out. I think speed is also going to be a factor besides our strength that weíve always used because there are going to be a lot of taller players in the league that we didnít necessarily have to face in college. So weíre going to have to use speed and learn the tricks to give ourselves a little bit of an edgeÖbut Iím looking forward to the challenge.

    Q: Are there any WNBA players (past or present) that you saw as a role player for your game.

    JP: I definitely have two playersÖLisa Leslie and Lauren Jackson. I really like both of their games. Theyíre a little bit different; Lauren Jackson does a little bit more face-up but sheís really dominant in the post and so was Lisa. Thatís definitely big shoes to fill but I definitely like both of their games and admire how they play.

    TP: I admire their game (Lisa and Lauren) most but I didnít really necessarily model myself after anyone. A lot of the post players in the pro game are more of a face-up style and have more step-out skills while Iíve always been more of a back-to-the-basket (type).

    Q: Courtney, the point guard position can be hard to adapt to in the pro game. What do you need to focus on when you get to training camp this summer?

    CV: I think leadership is definitely the biggest thing and most teams look for a lot of leadership in their point guard. Coming in as a rookie, thatís going to be a difficult task and Iím excited for it. Iím really excited to learn from whoever it is (I play with) and thereís a lot about the game that I donít know yet. I learned a lot in college and the opportunity to learn more is what Iím excited for. Iím going to go in with an open mind and learn as much as I can and, hopefully, be able to adapt quickly.