What a difference a year makes. With the 2003 WNBA Draft selections a year older and a year wiser, two of the top picks look back on their experiences. Hear what WNBA Rookie of the Year Cheryl Ford of the Detroit Shock and Sacramento Monarchs guard Kara Lawson have to say now that they've weathered their first year in the league.
Q. What was the entire Draft experience like for you last year?
Kara Lawson: “It was kind of a weird two days for me. I think I kind of got my baptism into the league pretty quickly being drafted and traded within 24 hours so it was kinda a whirlwind for me. I didn’t know what to expect or what was going on or where I was going to end up by the end of the weekend. But it was pretty neat for me.”
Cheryl Ford: “I was still in classes when the Draft took place. It was like a roller coaster ride last year because there was so much uncertainty. They asked me to be there, but then weren’t sure when it was going to take place because of the uncertainly with the labor agreements, and then asked me to be there the next day. But it was all worth it.”
Q. What do you remember most about Draft Day?
Kara Lawson was picked by Detroit, then traded to Sacramento.
“I was so nervous. It was scary. I think my mom was more nervous and scared for me. Waking up, we had to do our hair and make-up and all of that. It was fun and being there, surrounded by all of the great players, with Val, being on television, it was a great experience.”
Q. What were you thinking when you heard your name called?
Lawson: “It had been a goal of mine since I was in high school to play professional basketball, so to see that realized even though I didn’t know my destination was pretty cool.”
Ford: “My going third was a complete shock to me but everything happens for a reason.”
Q. Do you have any advice for this year’s prospects?
Ford: “I had no idea what I was heading into and the players this year won’t either. It’s a lot tougher than college and I was scared to death. I was very scared about training camp, first of all, because I didn’t know what they expected. I was a rookie coming into a new situation with veterans wondering what it was going to be like.”
Q. What guests did you invite with you to the Draft?
Lawson: “My coach at Tennessee, Pat Summit. It was great to have someone that has been so instrumental in your career as a player and for me in my life as a person. It was something that was really special. She played an integral part in my success as a player in Tennessee and she was the reason I wanted to go there. I knew that being in her program for four years under her tutelage would help me make the professional ranks, which was a goal of mine, so that was pretty neat to share that with her.
Q. What was it like after you were drafted and found out where you would be playing?
Ford: “The night before the first day of training camp, I could not sleep at all. But after I got there, got training camp over with and played a few games, I was like, ‘Ok, I’m fine now, I know what they expect of me.’”