How excited were you to see your name called while watching the WNBA Draft on TV?
A'Quonesia Franklin: "I had a lot of emotions and was just very excited. My coach gave me a few pointers. He was like ’you did a great job of leading our team and you'll be okay.’ It was just an exciting moment to hear my name called."
You were the leader of Texas A&M for four years starting at point guard and now you come to the Monarchs where you can learn from the Monarchs leader and one of the greatest point guards in WNBA history in Ticha Penicheiro. What are some things you can learn from her?
Franklin: "She's been in the League 10 years now. She knows the ropes and she knows the mental toughness and physical toughness it takes. So I am here just to learn and get some pointers from her, see what she does and try to mimic it and try to improve my game. Like Coach Boucek said, she wants us to get better every day. I'm competing against one of the greatest point guards in the League, so I'm just trying to get in here, work hard and learn from her."
Even though you will be learning a tremendous amount in training camp, as a point guard you are still a leader. When did you develop into a confident leader?
Franklin: "I would say in college. There was a lot of pressure on me in college to lead my team because I came in and started as a freshman at Texas A&M. So I basically learned from my coach how to be a leader. Point guards have to be the leaders on your team. They're the [floor] general so they have to be the leader."
Where did you hone your game growing up?
Franklin: "I started playing basketball at the age of five and it was with boys. I played with boys all the way up until my ninth grade year in school. So [I honed my game] just playing against boys, getting tough and learning how to handle the pressure with boys playing defense on me. So I would give it up to the boys in Tyler, Texas."
Tell us a little about Tyler, Texas.
Franklin: "It's bigger than most people think. It's the Rose Capital. It's a pretty fun town and real low key. They're building a lot of things there and it's coming up."
Texas is known for producing a lot of football talent, but between the NBA and WNBA there is a lot of great talent on the basketball court that comes from Texas. Why is Texas producing so much talent on the hardwood too?
Franklin: "There are a lot of great players that are coming out of Texas. I guess it's just competing against the best. The Texas teams just try to put together the best as far as AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) teams and they compete against the best. We work hard and venture off into other states to make sure we are keeping up our level of play."
When did you realize you were talented enough to play in the WNBA?
Franklin: "It was always a childhood dream for me. But coming into the Big 12 Conference, which is a very competitive conference, and playing against [the opposing teams] and taking my team to the Elite 8 this year really gave me a lot of confidence that the next level is out there for me. So playing against the Dukes, Tennessees and people like that really gave me confidence that I could make it to the next level."
How special was it for you to help turn around the Texas A&M women's program?
Franklin: "It was very special to me. I know most of the seniors came to Texas A&M as freshmen to rebuild a program. They didn't want to be just another name at another program. So that was one of our key goals for ourselves, by the time we were seniors, we would turn the whole program around and we put in a lot of hard work on the hardwood."
How would you characterize your game?
Franklin: "A lot of leadership. I love to make the people around me look better. I love to make the pass instead of taking the shot, but if I'm open I'm going to shoot it."
"You have to stick in there and take charges, too. That was one of the things in college that my coaches were big on, taking charges, so that is where I get it from. Lots of mental toughness and that really helps at this level, coming right off the collegiate season and right into the professional league. It's going to take a lot of mental toughness."
How would you summarize your feelings in the first two days of training camp?
Franklin: "The first day was pretty nerve racking. We were just so anxious and didn't know what to expect. But I think the vets came in and did a great job of talking to us and helping us out a lot. They look at it as us trying to help them out and we look to them to give us pointers and help us through it. But they did a tremendous job of talking to us in the first day and helping us not think ’they are here to take our spots.’ So I give it up to the vets for helping us out."
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Franklin: "I love shoes. I love to shop for shoes -- Air Force 1s and Jordans. My favorite pair of all-time would have to be the Jordan XIs with the patent leather. Or, I actually have the Kobe Bryant Forces, which have the see-through bottom. I've maybe worn them once or twice."
Do you buy two pairs -- one to wear and one to save for your collection?
Franklin: "No. [Laughs] A college student doesn't have that much money, so just one pair. But you always have to have a couple of all white pairs of Air Force 1s. I have two or three pairs of those."
Do you have a close-knit family?
Franklin: "Yes, we have a pretty close family. One of the reasons I went to Texas A&M was so that my family could come watch me play. They are already trying to make arrangements, so hopefully I make the team, and they can come up to Sacramento and watch me play. But I know they'll be there in Houston and San Antonio, which is closest, if I make it."
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Franklin: "I have one sister, two step-sisters and one step brother."
What is the origin of your first name -- A'Quonesia?
Franklin: "I have no idea! It's like my mom's best friend's sister named me. [Laughs] My mom's best friend's son was born a couple of months before me and her sister named her son Christopher DeShawn and she named me A'Quonesia Krashun. So I guess that's where it came from, but I have no idea how she made it up."
"I have a lot of nicknames too -- Flow, Water as La'Tangela called me, AQ, Aquafina, Aquafresh, so my name is pretty cool."