No. 1 pick Candace Parker talks to former WNBA star Rebecca Lobo during the 2008 WNBA Draft.
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images
Candice Wiggins, C, Stanford
No. 3 Selection, Minnesota Lynx
Wiggins: This is still the continuation of a dream. I just remember how excited I was when I first heard the WNBA was former in 1997. I was so excited then. Now itís crazy that Iím sitting her, and Iím just very excited to be here.
Q: You are going to be playing with two former No. 1 picks. Can you just talk about that?
A: Itís amazing. I had the opportunity to play with Simone a little bit in the fall and sheís just an amazing player. I think this is going to be great for me. And Lindseyís a great point guard. I think weíll all be able to play together, and hopefully make a difference. Itís going to be exciting, I think, to play with them.
Q: Talk about the juxtaposition between the emotions last night and today?
A: Itís a really short turnaround. Itís hard top believe that last night we were playing for a national championship, but I was. I think I got the opportunity to spend time with my teammates last night and really cherish and hold on to my last days as a Stanford athlete. Now, itís the first day of my new career, so Iím excited about that too.
Q: How important do you think individual rivalries will be?
A: I think it will be important just to keep the fans interested. I think this class is incredible. I grew up playing with them, with Candice and Syl and Lex and everybody. I think itís going to be fun. Itís just so crazy for all us because we are so happy to start this.
Nicky Anosike, C, Tennessee
No. 16 Selection, Minnesota Lynx
Q: Have you ever been to Minnesota? And how do you feel about going there?
A: No. Honestly, I really didnít have a problem going anywhere. Iím just fortunate enough to go in the first place. Iím there to do business and win.
Q: Did you go to Liberty games growing up in New York?
Anosike: Yes. My AAU coach had season tickets and he use to take us. I probably went during the seventh and eighth grade. Becky Hammon was probably the best player on that team back then.
Q: Talk about getting drafted and having your Tennessee teammates also getting drafted?
Anosike: Itís great. All the work we put in and now itís paying off and we get to go to the next level. Iím just sad Shannon (Bobbitt) couldnít be here with us, because I would have loved to have seen her climb up on stage. I guess I just would have liked to experience one more event with her.
Essence Carson, G/F, Rutgers
No. 7 Selection, New York Liberty
Q: You must have seen a lot of Liberty games growing up?
Carson: My first WNBA experience was when I watched a New York Liberty game in person. That was back in 1997.
Q: How does it feel for both you and Matee to go so high and what does it say about the Rutgers program?
A: It just says that the quality of players that Coach Stringer is able to produce, as a basketball coach she is one of the best in the business. Sheís been putting out great players for many years now.
Q: Have you talked to Coach about what to expect?
A: Yeah. I mean, we asked her a lot of questions because this whole day was really big to us. We didnít really know too much about it and she really clued us in.
Q: Did you know this is where you were going to end up?
A: No, not at all. Iím very excited Ö Iím at a loss for words.
Amber Holt, F, Middle Tennessee
No. 9 Selection, Connecticut Sun
Holt: Iím very excited that I went No. 9. Itís great to be going to Connecticut. Itís I can say, Iím so excited (laughing)
Q: You were the player Connecticut wanted all along. Does that mean a lot to you?
Holt: Yes. Evidently he sees something in me that (he thinks) can help me in the system. My being the player that he wanted, it was great to be picked.
Q: How much have you seen of the Sun, and you talk a little about how you can fit in with them?
Holt: I saw them a little last year, but not a whole lot. By me fitting in, I can play the two or the three for them. I can be a scorer for them and play defense for them. I can be a good contributor for the Sun.
Q: You had some high scoring games against very good teams. How were you able to do that?
Holt: I just went out and was focused from the beginning. Our coach always says we should go out there focused and ready to play against anybody. So, I just came out focused.
Laura Harper, F, Maryland
No. 10 Selection, Sacramento Monarchs
Harper: Iím just so thrilled to be in this position; to be playing professionally. Iím just so happy to be here.
Q: Can you talk about your reaction when you heard your name called?
A: When I heard my name I was euphoric. I didnít know if it was dream or what. Playing amongst a class with so many talented players, itís like the bar is set so high. And to be amongst them Ö I just felt speechless.
Q: How did it feel when you heard your teammateís name (Crystal Langorne) called?
A: When Lang went I almost wanted to cry myself. Weíve been playing together for nearly eight years now, and itís almost as if we are family. I was just as happy for her as I was for myself.
Q: How long have you been following the WNBA?
A: I started following the WNBA when it first started out with players like Kim Perrot, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie Ö those days. I kind of dwindled a little bit, but towards the end Iíve been paying attention the last couple of years.
Erlana Larkins, F, North Carolina
No. 14 Selection, New York Liberty
Q: What are you feelings about playing in New York and there are a lot of post players in New York, whatís your take on that?
A: First of all, New York is a great city. Itís a great place to be and itís on the East Coast. Thatís a good thing. I just have to get in where I fit in. Do what the coaches ask me to do and try to fit in to their program.
Q: How much did you follow the league growing up, and how did your perception of it change over the last year or so?
Larkins: I didnít really watch too many professional sports growing up. Iím more of a college person. But I still canít believe Iím a pro now. Itís kind of hard Ö I donít even know what to say.
Q: Being from Florida, how special was it to be drafted here?
Larkins: I think it was very special. I get to go how maybe once, twice a year. Itís just great to know you have family and supporters really close by.
Matee Ajavon, G, Rutgers
No. 5 Selection, Houston Comets
Q: Do you have any idea how the team will use your talents?
A: Iím not sure. Iím just willing to do whatever it takes to be a vital part of the team.
Q: Did Coach Vivian Stringer give you any advice about playing at the next level?
A: I donít think Iíve had that conversation yet Ė playing at the next level Ė so much. But coming into this draft, I spoke to Cappie [Pondexter], and she just said this is probably the most exciting moment of your life Ė take advantage of it, be happy, be proud and just go out there and smile a lot.
Q: Are you a fan of the Comets?
A: I actually grew up watching Sheryl Swoopes a lot and I remember buying her sneakers when they came out. I think this was maybe when I was in the seventh or eighth grade. I was always a fan of hers and watching the Houston Comets play.
Q: What do the selections of you and Essence Carson in the top ten this draft say about the Rutgers program?
A: I think it speaks volumes. Coach Stringer has a system where she teaches defense, she teaches hard work and she teaches dedication. I feel as if we have all those attributes and having those attributes makes us important pieces of anyoneís team.
Morenike Atunrase, G/F, Texas A&M
No. 24 Selection, Atlanta Dream
Q: How exciting was this day for you?
A: Iím excited. It makes history. You know, we ended our season making history, but this also makes history for my university, so Iím really excited to be going to Atlanta.
Q: How do you think you will fit in with Atlanta?
A: Honestly, I really donít know who Iíll be playing with. I wasnít really looking into that, but I think they picked me for a reason so I think Iíll fit in quite well.
Q: How do you think your skills will transition to the professional level?
A: Pretty much the same as whatever got me here Ė shooting the ball well, creating off the dribble, rebounding, defending, just whatever got me here I think I can carry on to the next level.
Alexis Hornbuckle, G, Tennessee
No. 4 Selection, Detroit Shock
Q: Can you talk about playing with essentially five future WNBA players at Tennessee?
A: I think playing at Tennessee definitely prepared me for the next level. Obviously, you never know until you get there, but playing with Candace Parker, Nicky Anosike, Shannon Bobbitt and Alberta Auguste and going against them and with them kind of helped you get different styles play and learn to adjust to different personalities. Obviously, youíll have that with a whole new team.
Q: What do you know about the Detroit Shock?
A: Iíve watched them Ė I like their style of play. Theyíre up-tempo, theyíre physical Ė I love physical Ė I donít shy away from it. Iím excited to play and I think itís a good fit and I think itís going to work out well.
Q: How much was this day on your mind during the tournament?
A: I try not to think about it too much, honestly. I feel like Iím going to be placed in a situation where God wants me to be and I really have no control over it. Just taking it and running with the opportunity given to me is kind of where my head was at.
Crystal Langhorne, F, Maryland
No. 6 Selection, Washington Mystics
Q: How great is it that youíll be playing near Maryland and near home?
A: I think it will be great. You know I love that area, and thatís one of the reasons I went to school there, and just being able to be in Washington and my family still being able to come watch me play is just a great opportunity for myself.
Q: How long have you dreamt about playing in the WNBA?
A: Well, you know, I started playing basketball late, so probably late in high school. I figured if I can go to college hopefully I can play one day, and thatís when my dream really started.
Q: What was your reaction when you heard your name called?
A: I was just very happy. A lot of people were saying some things, but you never know what coaches are thinking or who they need Ė guards or posts. When Washington came up I was thinking hopefully they pick me and they did.
Candace Parker, F/C, Tennessee
No. 1 Selection, L.A. Sparks
Q: Can you talk about going to the L.A. Sparks and playing with Lisa Leslie?
A: Lisa Leslie has been one of my idols ever since I was younger Ė obviously, watching the USA teams growing up and watching her win championships with Los Angeles. Iíve never had the opportunity to play alongside her yet Ė as a result of her pregnancy and her not being able to come on the USA trips. But, Iím really looking forward to it. Obviously, sheís a great role model and Iím just looking to take in whatever she tells me.
Q: Can you talk about how youíve balanced these last couple months between declaring for the draft, battling through the shoulder injury and competing for a national championship?
A: Itís been really hard. Obviously, Iíve wavered Ė I think everybody wavers on decisions all the time, especially when youíre in the moment and thereís orange surrounding you and people are begging you and telling you one more year. But I gave my word and I just felt like it was time for me to leave and we left on top. I just feel like living in the moment is how Iíve been able to balance everything and stay with my head above water because itís been a tough couple hours. I want to apologize to my family because Iíve been kind of stressed.
Q: Was there any kind of doubt that you wouldnít be the first player selected in the draft?
A: Anything nowadays does not surprise me, so I was like, okay, Iím not going to believe Iím an L.A. Spark until they say my name. And when they said my name, first she said Candace, and I was like, okay, because thereís Candace Wiggins, so itís not clear yet, and then I heard Parker, and I was just really, really excited about it.
Q: Do you have a game plan for rehabbing your shoulder?
A: Well I feel like Iím going to get in with the L.A. Sparks medical staff and theyíre going to evaluate and ĎIím sure there will be some communication between Jenny Moshak and them about my shoulder. But Iím just going into it with an open mind, obviously Iím going to do whatever I can in my power to rehab my shoulder. I think right now it just needs rest and weíll go from there.
Q: Can you talk about the irony of how it seems like itís you and Sylvia Fowles, one and two, for everything you compete at?
A: Sylvia is a great player. Weíve been playing against one another ever since high school, and sheís gotten better every year. I think thatís what is so special about her Ė that every year she has consistently raised her game. Iíve enjoyed competing against her and will so in the WNBA.
Shelden Williams, F, Sacramento Kings
Q: Can you describe how you balanced your schedule to make it to the WNBA Draft?
A: Like you said, I had a game last night, we played Golden State in San Francisco, and as soon as the game was over I got on a midnight flight here and got here by like 10 oíclock in the morning and came here.
Q: How important was it for you to be here?
A: It was very important. Itís a once in a lifetime thing and I know that she was very excited and she wanted me here, so I did what I could to be here and fortunately it worked out for me.
Q: Was there anything you told her about the draft process from your experience with the NBA Draft?
A: Just to enjoy your time. I was telling her over the prior weeks and days before this to not worry about the future, just worry about each day at a time and whatever happens later on, happens later on. Donít worry about it, donít get too stressed out about it, and I think she did a good job out there and it got her here.
Q: Did you give her any advice on transitioning to the professional level?
A: She has an idea from playing with the USA team, so she has an idea of how itís going to be. I think sheíll do fine. Unlike her, we have a few months off before we have to get into it again, but she stays in shape for the next few weeks and then they start up in the WNBA.