The Sacramento Monarchs won the WNBA title last year and bring back most
of its key rotation players. However, as often happens in a growing league, the
Monarchs did lose personnel to free agency and the Expansion Draft, meaning the
2006 WNBA Draft is an ideal way to fill those needs. With two late First Round
picks, the Monarchs could stock up on even more talent and get ready for another
championship run this summer. So with a combination of All-Star veteran talent
in Yolanda Griffith and Ticha Penicheiro as well as rising stars in Kara Lawson
and Nicole Powell, find out what Monarchs coach John Whisenant might be looking
for to round out the roster on Draft day.
Q. How have you been preparing
for the upcoming WNBA Draft? What methods do you utilize to scout players for
"We have watched film of college players that we feel could
be available at our draft positions, and as a staff we travel to watch players
once we have identified likely prospects that fit our needs. I try to watch these
players personally in order to get a good feel for each individual player."
When do you start getting prepared for the draft?
"We start preparing
for the draft once the WNBA season ends by collecting statistics, creating a draft
board, and making arrangements to see certain games throughout the college season."
Are there specific areas or holes/weaknesses are you looking to bolster with your
"There are specific holes that need to be addressed, and just
like all the other teams, we are constantly trying to improve. We are always looking
for quickness, good shooters, and a player with good hands."
What are the most important traits you look for in prospects?
willingness to play selfless team basketball, and a player that exhibits the ability
to work hard and show effort through their play."
Q. What players
that you have seen have impressed you the most so far?
the All-American lists are all deserving of their accolades, but I don't like
to reveal who we are looking at."
Q. With your pick, are you targeting
a specific player, a position, or will you take the best available players?
no trades or personnel changes are made between now and draft day, we will look
for the player that best fits our needs."
Q. What prospects do you
feel can or will make an immediate impact in the League this season? Any surprises?
can't name players right now; it's too close to draft time and the end of the
Q. How important is the Tournament in helping you
make last minute decisions?
"The Tournament can make a major impact
because it's an opportunity for us to see them play under pressure on a large
national stage. For example, I had identified one of our pick's last year (Chelsea Newton) before the Tournament, but her poise, team play, and productivity during
the tournament solidified my decision to draft her. Kara Lawson is another player
that I always thought was great and always performed well in the heat of battle.
The NCAA tournament can hopefully bring out the best in all players, just as it
did for Kara and Chelsea."
Q. How does this year's Draft compare
to previous ones?
"As the women's game continues to grow, I think
you see more depth…and I see a number of players that if put in the right
situation, can really excel at the professional level. After the top four or five
picks, it's all based on the eye of the beholder. More players are now available
to fit the various coaching styles and philosophies of each team. There is a continual
growth in solid, sound players that understand the game."
you looking to trade or considering trading picks or players?
are always looking to improve our team, which is part of the business of women's
basketball. The Maloof's have put me in a great position, so it's my job to look
at all options. But we are not trying to trade our player's or our draft picks,
yet I will always consider something if I feel it makes us a better team."
Does foreign scouting consume a lot of your time in the offseason?
we do look at foreign players via agents, international scouts, and other coaching
friends and associates, I do not spend much time traveling or actively searching
for international players. Our training camp included six international players
last season, and with international players like Lauren Jackson, Ticha Penicheiro
and Penny Taylor, there is obviously some great talent out there."
With free agency as an option now, along with the limitations of a salary cap,
are you more likely to fill needs through the Draft, free agency, or trades?
look for the best player, regardless of the method that allows me to get that
player. With the Maloof's approval, and the input of my staff, we will make those
decisions as they are presented to us."