Lindsay Whalen Press Conference - April 28, 2010
Whalen Press Conference
Q: Lindsay, you have been playing for a while... Does it surprise you how excited people are to see you?
LW: It is always nice. I guess it is just cool to see that people are excited and they care and everything. It is just great to be back. As far as surprised, I don't know, it is hard to say. I guess I am just glad to be here and I am ready to get things going.
Q: When they acquired you, did you say to Roger (Griffith) or anyone, what took you so long?
LW: No, I know that things happen for a reason and things work out at the time that they are supposed to. At this point in my career, I am just excited to be here and I'm excited to play with the talented players and Coach Reeve and the entire organization. I think the timing was great... I think it worked out pretty well.
Q: Throughout your career, have you hoped that someday you would come back and play for the Lynx?
LW: I think I always kind of had it in the back of my mind that I'd hope to maybe come back and play here one day. Of course you never know anything until it happens. Like it said, this year it worked out with the draft picks and the players involved so it worked out this year and I am just happy that it did.
Q: How do you feel being the front person of this organization?
LW: I think this is a great team and I think that is always something that I've put first. I just want to come here and contribute any way that I can and I'm not too concerned about the marketing and who's the face of the franchise and stuff. That is for Roger and everybody else to think about. I'm just here to play. I've always tried to put the team first and do whatever I can to help the team. That is what I am going to continue to do and hopefully we will have a successful season.
Q: With all of the talent on the roster, how excited does it make you to play on this team?
LW: Very excited. As excited as I am to come home, this is a basketball first move and that is what I am most excited about. In just playing with Seimone and Candice and I've played with Charde the last three months over in Prague so getting to know her was a lot of fun. She is a great player and a great person so I'm just thrilled to be playing with everyone. I played with Seimone on the USA under 21 basketball team and she was the MVP of our team. She has a gold medal. She is just a phenomenal player and a great person. You can go down the line through the whole team and you can't say enough about how great everyone is and what great people everyone is. I am just happy to be here and contribute.
Q: On friend's and family's reaction to having her home?
LW: A little, yeah. My parents a little bit. Yeah, everyone is excited. Overseas and in Connecticut, not home a whole lot. I don't get to see my brothers and sisters a ton or my parents so we are happy to back. Everyone is pretty excited.
Q: Have you spoken to Charde after what happened yesterday?
LW: Just through email. I emailed her when I found out. I am just glad that she is ok. I can't imagine going through something like that. I flew back on Monday through Amsterdam to Minneapolis. She obviously flew back yesterday. I am just glad that she is ok and everything. You can't imagine that kind of stuff. I am just glad that everything worked out for the most part and that the plane landed.
Q: Through your time in the WNBA, how many teams have you seen that have the across the board talent that this team has?
LW: There have been some talented teams, but this team ranks right up there with those I think. Like you said, with the All-Star selections and Seimone with a Gold Medal... I think when you look at the team, Rebekkah Brunson, it is just a lot of talent and versatile players who can do a lot of things. It should be exciting, it should be fun. I am just excited to getting practice going and to get to know players and how they play on the court and get to know everybody. I think that is what we will work on the next couple of weeks. But as far as talent, I think it is up there with some of the better teams on paper that I have seen or played against.
Q: With all of that talent, what are your expectations?
LW: Well I think our expectations are to compete in the Western Conference and go far in the playoffs and just go from there. You don't want to put too high of expectations on yourself, but you play better when there are expectations. We all expect a lot and as far as a Championship or things like that, I think that is everyone's minds, but we have to go out there and earn it and prove it. It is a long road and a long journey. You have to enjoy it and just enjoy the season and we will see what happens when it comes time for the playoffs and everything.
Q: On difference between European and WNBA basketball?
LW: When you play in the Euro league it is a great... I compare the talent and the teams to teams in the WNBA. It is great competition. Some of the other local leagues you play against maybe three or four really good teams and there are a couple of teams that aren't so good, but the competition as a whole is good. Every team usually has two Americans on the team, so each team probably has two WNBA players on it, so you are playing against top talent. All of the teams over there, a lot of the National team players stay and play in their home country so you play a Slovakian team and most of the players are on the Slovakian National team so they are playing in the World Championships, they are playing in the European Championships so they are really cohesive teams and everybody presents a challenge so it is definitely a good league and it is fun, you are playing basketball. Next year will be my fourth year in Prague and I just love the city and the coaches. Everyone there, I have gotten to know really well, so it is a great experience if you find the right fit and everything. It is hard being away from home, which is one of the downsides.
Q: How do you adjust to the constant change of schedule?
LW: After maybe a year of doing it, you just kind of get used to it. There is not much time off, but then you are in good shape so it works out well or hopefully in good shape. We will find out on Sunday. I think you just kind of get used to that adjustment. I came back from Russia to Connecticut and I had two days. You just have to adjust and go with the flow.
Q: How much downtime do you get during the year?
LW: It depends on what is going on. This year, the WNBA season is sooner because there is of the World Championships in October. The European season will be pushed back a little bit next year. It all just kind of depends on when the Olympics are, when the World Championships are, when the European Championships are. Last year after Europe, I had six weeks off before the WNBA season. After the last WNBA season, I had a month off before I was in Prague so it just kind of depends on the scheduling and the way it works out and you just kind of roll with it.
Q: Is there any pressure to come back here after you were the darling of basketball here? Do you feel like you have to meet that goal again?
LW: I think as far as pressure expectations, like I said you want that. It means people care and that they want you to do well. I think we all have those high expectations or that pressure and you want to succeed and be successful. Obviously I have great memories of that year with the crowds and just the support that the fans in Minnesota gave us. It was just a great year and a ton of fun. We are definitely looking to get that excitement going and just keep the excitement up and have a great year.
Q: You might start the season without Seimone and Candice, how do you feel about having a nine-player roster?
LW: It is unfortunate for the both of them. Their health is first of course. That is how it is in the league. It happens, its sports and there are injuries. I think everybody just has to step up and it will give some other people some opportunities to get better and improve. I think that is just the way that you have to approach it and when they get back... they are obviously to of the best players, we will just be even better for it. It's unfortunate, but their health is the number one key and the most important thing. Hopefully they will heal well and get back when they can.
Q: How has your game developed in the years that you have been pro?
LW: I think just over the years you just kind of work on different things and learn how to play in this league and learn how to be a pro. I think you just improve on things, lots of shooting, staying in shape. I don't know it is hard to say. I think that there are a lot of things that I have worked on since college and improved at. I just want to continue to improve, continue to learn from different coaches and getting to know your teammates on the court. I think that all of that just comes from years of experience and playing.
Q: Lindsay, have you moved your husband down here? What are your plans for settling in?
LW: Yeah, we moved here. He works at Medina Country Club as an Assistant Pro. He played pro on a couple of small tours for a couple of years and now he is working at a course and still playing in some tournaments locally. But yeah, he is here, he will be at some games.
Q: Have you had a moment to look back and look at everything you have accomplished?
LW: I think you look back and those were some great seasons. Of course you look back at those great memories and what we were able to accomplish was great. That will always be a bond that our team will have and everyone will have and I think you just continue to want to improve as a player so you just continue to work harder.
Q: It's been a long journey since freshman year...
LW: Yeah, definitely. From my freshman year to senior year... it is hard to put it into words. From the Pavilion to Williams Arena, to the Final Four and everything, it was a great run we had, great teams and great people. When you play on those teams and you build those relationships and those bonds forever. It is just fun to sit back and think what everyone was able to do and how much fun it was. Especially my senior year, the year we went to the Final Four, we just had great team chemistry and everyone held each other accountable. It was just a great year and a lot of fun.
Q: Do you ever look back and say how did this happen?
LW: Sometimes, yeah, I don't know, it is hard to say. I guess I don't walk around thinking, is this person going to know I play basketball. If they do, then it shows that they have seen some games and hopefully they will come out to some games at Target Center this summer.
Q: Is it weird to be home again and have the whole town of Hutchinson greet you? Is that odd?
LW: When I landed and everything to be back and knowing that I am going to stay here and play the whole summer... once the trade actually happened, you have this date out there that you know you are going to be back, but it is like four months away and I'm in Europe. And it's like, I'm finally here and it's just a little surreal when I landed and everything and got home and be back and start my season here. It is just very exciting. At first, it was just a little adjustment, in like I don't have to say hi to family and take off. I'm here and ready to get started this weekend.
Q: Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
LW: Definitely a good thing. Like I said, I am extremely excited. I meet everyone this morning. It is just great people to work with and I'm just very excited and ready for the season to get going.
Q: Is it fun for you that they are having a whole Lindsay Whalen day for you?
LW: Yeah. It is going to be cool to just see lots of familiar faces from growing up. Hutchinson has always been just really supportive of the teams that I have been on. I still have two brothers and sisters there in high school... I just have great memories of growing up there so it is a great community. The people there are great, so it should be a fun day.
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