By Debbie Antonelli | May 18, 2012
With the 11th pick of the first round, the Indiana Fever selected 6’5 center Sasha Goodlett from Georgia Tech. Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn has been studying and watching Sasha since her freshman year in college. Goodlett crafted herself into a first-round pick in the WNBA without short cuts. She did extra to reach a goal of playing in the 16th season of the league. It required countless hours of sacrifice in the gym and the weight room to mold herself into an up-tempo post player. Sasha entered Tech as a 290-pound freshman from Mississippi, and will weigh in at 236 pounds in her Fever debut. What makes her extraordinary is the extra she has added to her game and removed from her frame.
There are several emerging parts to Sasha’s game. She has always worn the label of “potential” well. One skill she takes great pride in providing for her teammates is her head-hunting, take-a-player-out, get-herself-open screening ability.
In the ACC, I created the “All Screen Team.” I select the five best screeners in the league each season. Like coaches, I appreciate the finer details in the game, especially the details that don’t show up in the box score. When Sasha was a sophomore, I put her on the ACC “All Screen Team.” In her junior season at Georgia Tech, each time I saw Sasha, she campaigned to be on the team. How could I turn her down since she valued screening inside the offense and was committed to setting screens for her teammates? She screened and her teammates scored off those screens. I wish there was a way to add screen-assist to the box score. This past season, she created a video to show her screening ability. She would ask the video coordinator at Georgia Tech to clip certain plays that she knew led to a basket for her team. I decided to make her the captain of the ACC All Screen Team in her senior year.
According to Sasha, there is a difference in college vs. pro screening angles and philosophy. She told me after practice today, prior to the Fever’s opening day game with Atlanta, she is learning the rules to abide by in Lin Dunn’s system. Screens are set inside the 3-point line and it is the ball handler’s responsibility to use the screen. There are flat screens, side pick-n-roll screens, sprint screens, step-up screens and each could be utilized in one offensive possession. Fortunately for Sasha and the shooters on the Fever team, she loves to screen. She has an understanding that setting and using a good screen creates opportunities for her and her teammates because basketball people know the best way to get open is to set a good screen. Let’s ask Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings after the season if Sasha is setting good enough screens!
Sasha is an excellent addition to the Fever roster and will be a significant factor this season on a daunting 6’5 front line rotation of Tammy Sutton-Brown and Jessica Davenport.