By Rebecca Lobo
April 17, 2004
The first round of the draft went as expected. (I think I should get big props for predicting Toccara Williams in the first round even though she fell to San Antonio in the third.) But, don't get too comfortable picturing some of the first rounders in the uniforms of the teams that took them. There will be trade activity at least until training camps start.
First round behind-the-scenes recap
1. Diana Taurasi: We had some time left at the end of the first round so Kara Lawson was asked to interview D's mom. Of course, English is Lilly Taurasi's second language and she's not really comfortable answering things in English on TV. Right before they went on air, she clutched Kara and pleaded, "ask something easy."
2. Alana Beard: Beard's been staying busy the past few weeks picking up all her Player of the Year awards. However, she is still going to graduate on time and asked me in the green room before the draft, "Do you think Washington will let me go to my graduation?" I think the Mystics can make that happen. And, Beard took a page out of Lebron's draft day book and wore a white suit -- nice touch.
3. Nicole Powell: There was a lot of talk in days leading up to the draft that Charlotte and Minnesota would work a trade and Lindsay Whalen would be taken at #3. But talks broke off on Friday and the Sting got their girl. Powell will return to Stanford in the Fall to finish up her degree. (Stanford does quarters instead of semesters.)
4. Lindsay Whalen: Whalen was the last player to arrive at the NBA TV studio in Secaucus, NJ because her flight didn't arrive until Saturday morning. This poor kid looked like her dog just died when she got drafted by Connecticut. She was obviously holding out hope that the Lynx could work a trade to keep her home in Minnesota. Who knows, while it's unlikely, it might still happen.
5. Shameka Christon: In the green room before the draft, I had a chance to talk to Christon about living in New York City. She knows it'll be a big change from Arkansas and is nervous about driving in New York. I'm sure the Liberty vets will be happy to take her under their wing and show her the magic of the Metrocard (for subway and bus use in Manhattan).
6. Nicole Ohlde: Tamika Williams was pretty excited before the draft knowing that the Lynx were going to use #6 and #7 on some posts to play alongside her. At one point she glanced towards Ohlde and whispered to me with a smile, "I think we're going to take her."
7. Vanessa Hayden: Great pick by Minnesota because Hayden could be the steal of the draft at #7. She was the smartest player interviewed because she mentioned her new pointguard -- Teresa Edwards -- by name. A post always needs to remember who feeds them the ball.
8. Chandi Jones: We were shocked that Phoenix picked Jones until we realized that they were drafting for Detroit (in a trade that would be announced later). Laimbeer told both Anne Meyers and me that he'd take Chandi Jones if he had the #1 selection in this draft. He got his girl at #8.
9. Ebony Hoffman: The Fever had their eye on Hoffman from the beginning and were able to get their catch. Hoffman didn't attend the draft.
10. Rebekkah Brunson: Everyone thought Sacramento would get a guard with 3-pt range with this pick. (That's what they need AND that's what they told everyone they were taking.) But when #10 came up and Brunson was still available -- they felt she was too good to pass up. Of course, you now have to wonder if they are going to trade Chantelle Anderson or DeMya Walker.
11. Iciss Tillis: Tillis' mom was the definition of a proud parent on Draft Day. Her smile didn't leave her face from the moment her daughter was picked through the time she headed over to the ESPN Zone for the draft party.
12. Christi Thomas: Thomas didn't attend the draft because she's trying to get caught up on her school work after missing time during the NCAA tournament.
13. Shereka Wright: Detroit drafted Wright for the Mercury. She didn't attend the draft but will end up playing with Purdue teammate Erika Valek in Phoenix.
SECOND ROUND SURPRISES
1. The biggest surprise is that the first Penn State player taken was Jess Brungo and not Kelly Mazzante. Mazzante was the only player who attended the draft who didn't go in the first round.
NOTE TO COLLEGE COACHES: Find out where a kid is going to be taken in the draft before you advise them to attend it in person. It was heartbreaking watching Mazzante as she waited for her name to be called.
2. I didn't think Lindsay Taylor would be taken ahead of Stacy Stephens at the post position. (Houston took Taylor but will trade her to Phoenix for Maria Villarroel.) Stephens has a great chance to make the Houston roster even though she was the second-to-last pick taken.