Liberty Blog Squad with Assistant Coach Nick Dipillo
I just wanted to take a few minutes to check in with an update from Liberty Training Camp. As I write this, we've just finished our 9th day of practice, and I think there's a definite sense of excitement as we get ready to begin our preseason schedule this coming Saturday (May 5) vs. Connecticut.
All of our returning players came back with great enthusiasm for the 2007 season. Sherill Baker, Cathrine Kraayeveld and Ashley Battle spent some time overseas this off-season and gained some valuable experience along the way. The three of them have come into Camp in excellent shape and have been very impressive so far.
Barb Farris, Erin Thorn and Shameka Christon (our returning veterans) have done a terrific job to improve their skills and lead our young team through Camp. Loree Moore, who recently arrived to camp from Turkey, has come back in amazing shape and with a much-improved shooting touch.
Point guard Lindsey Bowen, who we had in Training Camp last year, has also returned with much improvement from a year ago, and will be competing for minutes in our backcourt.
Our rookie class has been equally impressive as well. Jessica Davenport (our No. 2 overall pick) came to Camp fresh off of a tour of Italy with Team USA, and has already shown flashes of dominance. With her combination of size, power and touch around the basket, she will be sure to excite Liberty fans for years to come.
Speaking of excitement, No. 5 pick Tiffany Jackson will be sure to get The Garden fans fired up with the hustle and intensity she brings to the floor. Early on in Camp she proved her ability to finish around the basket effectively and has continued to show terrific vision as a passer. Not to mention the fact that she is one of our best low block defenders.
We have also received solid play from the rest of our rookie class. Shay Doron plays as hard as anyone the Liberty coaching staff has seen in some time. She also has one of the best mid-range games of any player taken in this year’s draft. Another great addition has been Martina Weber, a 6'5” forward/center out of Iona College. She has shown a great shooting touch from the perimeter, nice post moves – along with Barb and Jessica – one of our strongest players.
Today, Janel McCarville, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 Draft, arrived in Camp. She has already started to pick things up quickly and will no doubt help our younger post players continue to develop their games.
As we head into our first preseason game this coming weekend against Connecticut, we're looking to take the things we've learned in the first few weeks in practice and apply them in game situations. Practice has been very physical, especially in the paint, so I'm sure our players are anxious to get out on the court and make some impact.
Keep checking back with NYLiberty.com through our pre-season and regular season for more updates from the team and me.
Assistant coach Nick Dipillo is entering his third season on the Liberty sidelines. Since being named assistant coach in 2005, he has helped to guide the team to its seventh playoff berth in nine years. In his role with the Liberty, Nick's main responsibilities are player development, game preparation and scouting. He also assists in planning practices and individual player workouts.
Have a question for Nick? E-mail it to NYLiberty@thegarden.com.