Kloppenburg's First Practice
Head Coach Gary Kloppenburg's journey to turnaround the Tulsa Shock after two disappointing seasons has begun. Kloppenburg spoke to the media after his first practice on Sunday April 29. Below is a transcript of the coversation:
Thoughts on the first day of practice:
Kloppenburg: We are coming in early and working hard. Itís nice to have a team with a lot of young players that are a lot of high energy and want to get better. Thatís exciting when you are a coach to see that. We had a plan this week of what we are trying to accomplish. We introduced a lot of different things as a foundation for this week so we will keep expanding each day and trying to get better.
What was your goal for the first practice:
Kloppenburg: Well, first day, on a young team with a lot of rookies, you have to be careful how much you throw at them. I think you want to keep it simple. You want it to be simple and get them to execute well and then play hard. I was really happy with the energy all the way through, sometimes teams drag at the end and they finished up really strong so it was a really good first day for us.
How difficult is the transition for players from the college to the pro game?
Kloppenburg: Itís a different game. In the pro game, there are so many nuisances that you have to learn Ė screen-and-roll defense, early offense Ė itís just a lot of new things that the rookies have to pick up. You want to get them good at a few things, spoon-feed them a little bit, especially the rookies.
Will you be ready for the exhibition game this weekend?
Kloppenburg: I think with our team we want to get them out into the fire and see what they got. We will go out there and play them all. They get tired of beating up on each other after a couple weeks so itís good to go see someone else. (The Shock play the Atlanta Dream on Saturday May 5th at Phillips Arena)
Is everyone competing for a job in camp?
Kloppenburg: We stressed that. Itís wide open. We have a lot of jobs that are open. So itís like a three week job interview for them. Thereís some really good players out there that want to get into the WNBA or get back into the league.
Who impressed you on the first day?
Kloppenburg: Glory Johnson is a tremendous talent, she has a high RPM motor going all the time. I like the other rookie from Tennesse Baugh, Kizer came in with a lot of energy. We had some veterans like Scholanda Dorrell and Ivory - they're just tough kids, very strong, so I was very pleased with it all the way through.
[Related Story: Photo Gallery: First Day of 2012 Training Camp ]
The Shock's fourth overall pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, Glory Johnson, also spoke to the media after her first practice with the Shock. Below are her thoughts after the first day of camp:
What are you first impressions of Coach Kloppenburg:
Johnson: Heís a lot of different from Pat (Summitt) because heís not a yeller. At the same time, they have the same mindset, they want to win. He's just a great coach and he has a great coaching staff. He talked about defense and rebounding and pushing on offense and thatís huge for a team like. Itís same at the University of Tennessee where you already have to have the mindset of defense and rebounding.
Does it feel like everyone is trying out for a job out there?
Johnson: Every day you have to have a sense of urgency because you never know, you might not be on the team in a couple weeks. You have to know that every day is a competition and every day you have to come out and work as hard as you can, and leave everything out there on the floor.
How did you learn to do so many different things on the court?
Johnson: Itís all the coaches that I have had, ever. I came in playing soccer and they got me playing basketball and now I just try to improve my game. Whether itís driving or shooting mid-range jumpers, I just try to change my game.