Q & A with Sheri Sam

January 10, 2007
Eight-year WNBA veteran Sheri Sam was selected by the Indiana Fever with the No. 9 pick in the WNBA Dispersal Draft this week, adding to a roster that already includes All-Stars Tamika Catchings and Tamika Whitmore, All-Defensive Team point guard Tully Bevilaqua and veteran shooting star Anna DeForge. Sam, who has started 250 games with five different WNBA clubs, is among WNBA career leaders in points, steals and assists.

Where will Sam fit into the Fever rotation? How will she impact the Fever's offseason preparations? How will she fit among the Fever's growing number of perimeter stars, including Tan White and La'Tangela Atkinson? No matter how or where she fits in the lineup, Sam is excited to join the Fever and make another run at a WNBA Championship. In 2004, she played beside Bevilaqua while earning a WNBA title with the Seattle Storm.

While playing in Istanbul, Turkey where her team is a cross-town rival of new Fever teammate Linda Fröhlich and former Sting teammate Tammy Sutton-Brown, Sam took time to answer a few questions via email for FeverBasketball.com.

Sam drives to the basket last season in a game against the Chicago Sky.
Chris Keane/NBAE/Getty Images
FeverBasketball.com: Sheri, what was your first reaction to being contacted by Kelly Krauskopf and told you’d been selected by the Fever?
Sheri Sam: "I smiled ... couldn't stop ... still smiling now!!!"
FB: You have shared some excitement about playing with Catchings, instead of having to continue guarding her. What has been your biggest challenge while trying to guard Catchings all these years?
SS: "Wow, let me pick one. I would say boxing her out - Catch is always moving and goes to the O boards every time. So it was a task just to keep her in sight and off the boards!"
FB: Likewise, you are one of the league’s top scorers and players during your eight-year career. What do you think is the strongest part of your game?
SS: "Lets see, I would have to narrow it down! (smile) I would narrow it down to my versatility and knowledge of the game!"
FB: How would you describe yourself as a player?
SS: "Team player. I think that's why I have been productive on different teams and within different systems. I am willing to do whatever is needed of me for the team to win."
FB: If you were an opposing coach, how would you defend you?
SS: "I don't want to help out the opposition. So, I plead the fifth on this one!"

Sheri Sam has missed just one game in eight WNBA seasons.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
FB: What have been your top three memories during your WNBA career, so far? Can you talk a little bit about each of them?
SS: "Top 3, in no particular order of importance because each has had a huge impact on me and my career. So I'll do it in chronological order:
  • "This one has two parts. Part A would be getting waived by the Orlando Miracle after my rookie season. It was one of the hardest things I have had to deal with as a player- mostly mental. The whole experience of having basketball taken away from me was ... I can't even think of a word to express that feeling! Part B, though, was getting a phone call from [WNBA Vice President of Player Personnel] Renee Brown to inform me that i had been signed by the Miami Sol. I must have telephoned Renee. When she finally called me I was sooooooo HAPPY!
  • "Being named an All-Star in 2002. My commitment and dedication and hard work all came to fruition. It was a tough journey physically and mentally after being waived. I felt like I gained and earned some respect back. It felt good!
  • "Winning the 2004 WNBA Championship - another indescribable moment! That team was special. I enjoyed every moment. OK, maybe not every moment because I do remember some tough times! But that night I was just able to exhale ... and reflect .... and party!"
    FB: It says in your bio that you wear a pair of Vanderbilt shorts under your uniform to bring you luck. When did you begin doing that, and do you still do that? Has it worked?
    SS: "Nah, those shorts are done. RIP. They are missed tremendously. :( "
    FB: You are the youngest of eight siblings. What else can you tell the Fever fans about your family and upbringing?
    SS: "My family -- LOUD, and very supportive of me, just ask some of the Houston fans! I grew up in a small, small, small, small town - Duson, Louisiana. It's about three hours east of Houston. Whenever my team plays there, let's just say you hear my family!"
    FB: Indiana will be your sixth stop in the WNBA. How many more seasons do you plan to compete in the WNBA?
    SS: "As long as i am able to compete at a high level."
    FB: And while you are in Istanbul, tell us about the rivalry and camaraderie with Fenerbahce and your new (Linda Fröhlich) and former (Tammy Sutton-Brown) WNBA teammates?
    SS: "I personally love it here in Istanbul - it is a beautiful city! As for Fenerbache, the rivalry continues! We are 1-1 so far this year. We beat them to win the President's Cup in the preseason. Then about two weeks later, they beat us on opening night, by one lousy point! We play them again on the 28th of January and we are tied for first place - I can only imagine what practices will be like leading up to that game! The game itself will be crazy. The fans here are real emotional and I'm pretty sure there will be scuffles - even objects thrown onto th floor - and lots of loud cheering. It's a hectic but fun atmosphere! Of course I believe we will win the game, but it will be a tough one as we will play in their gym. As for the Americans on each team, we will go at each other as I'm sure bonuses are promised to whoever wins! But after, we will probably all hang out and relax at dinner somewhere!"