President's Mailbag: Rookie Grades
Steve Swetoha has been the President of the Tulsa Shock since their move to Tulsa in 2009. He is entering his third year as the leader of the organization. You can follow Steve on Twitter @SteveSwetoha or submit questions here.
With three games (exhibition included) in the book , what are you thoughts on the Shock's performance thus far?
It’s still early, however, it is obvious to me that our basketball team has already made positive strides to become better and more competitive. Let me first preface, there are no moral victories when we lose games, however I do see a lot of positives and I hope our fans have noticed as well. Our entire organization wants to win so bad, and over time we will start winning games, but the improvements in a short period of time is very encouraging. Some things I am encouraged to see is our attitude, culture, energy, passion and our aggressive approach on both sides of the ball, especially on defense. Our coaching staff has our team prepared for every game and though we don't have any wins to show for it, we are really coming together. Our players are buying into what we are doing and that is one of the most exciting things to see. Let's also remember this team has only been together for almost four (4) weeks and I saw a big change from the first game against San Antonio to Phoenix on Tuesday night from an execution perspective. San Antonio and Phoenix are veteran teams that made the playoffs last year and with a break here or there the outcome could have been different. So we will continue to go to work and get better as a team and good things will happen.
Will you be traveling on the road? If so, what are some of your responsibilities? Which match-up are you looking forward to the most while on the longest road trip of the season?
As President of the team, I want to support our coaches and players as best I can. I plan on meeting the team in Los Angeles this week and will travel to Seattle before I head home on Saturday. Traveling with the team also gives me a chance to catch up with my counterparts from around the league. Visiting other arenas during these road trips also gives me the opportunity to evaluate their game day experiences from ticket sales, corporate partnership activations, fan involvement and their in-arena game day experience. We are always looking for ways to make sure we are giving our fans the best game day experience in the WNBA. This particular trip also gives me a chance to meet with some of our corporate partners in person. These trips are beneficial for me on many levels and I look forward to supporting our team. In regards to matchups, this league has a lot of talented players that are athletic and skilled. I am really not looking for any particular matchup. Rather I am just excited for us to hit the road and continue to prepare regardless if we are at home or on the road.
You have had impressive performances from your rookies up to this point… how would compare them to other rookies in the league?
We feel we have a very solid rookie class and are very pleased with the performance up to this point. We really don't compare our rookies with other team's rookies. Every team is built differently and for the type of players we have in our system and the amount of potential we see in them already tells us we have a very bright future.
What are your expectations for the next 2 months leading up to the Olympic break?
Our expectations are no different than before we starting training camp. We expect to be competitive, win games, be prepared and improve each and every day whether it is practices or games. We want to bring Tulsa a team that is going to work hard on and off the court.
Temeka Johnson has come in and made a noticeable impact right away. What are your thoughts about her contribution up to this point?
There is no question Temeka has come in and made a noticeable impact on this team and organization. Meeks is a proven leader on and off the court and her impact with the younger players has been incredible. She is true point guard who is a coach on the court and fans going to our games probably notice that. Her intensity, leadership, actions and passion to lead this team is something special, and all of our players, especially the rookies continue to benefit. We are really happy she is a part of our team.
Do you have any theme nights or giveaways coming in June?
We have a few theme nights/giveaways in June. Saturday, June 9th, we have our Native American Heritage Night sponsored by Muscogee Creek. The first 1,000 fans will receive either a megaphone or fan when they enter the building. Friday, June 15th the first 1,000 fans will receive a 2012 training camp photo presented by Ida Red / Cain’s Ballroom. Our players love the photo! Saturday, June 23rd is Women of Inspiration sponsored by Williams along with a special celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX. Also, we have two Social Saturday promotions presented by Bear Data, featuring Kayla Pedersen (@kaylapedersen14) on Saturday, June 9th and Jennifer Lacy (@jlacy21) on Saturday, June 23rd. For only $15 you get a ticket, t-shirt, and post-game meet & greet with the featured player. We want to thank all of our partners for their assistance in promoting these nights!
We heard that the Shock were the first WNBA/NBA team to have twitter handles on the back of the players warm-ups. How has social media made an impact on the team and in the community?
You are correct, we are the first NBA/WNBA team to have our players twitter handles on the back of the players warm up shirts. Social media has made a huge impact with our team and community for a few reasons. First, this digital platform gives us the ability to reach more fans and keep our existing "twitter fan base" engaged. Second, it is a another medium to get our message out in "real-time." There are so many players and fans that follow people on twitter and what an easy way to keep up to date on what is happening. Third, it continues to help promote and communicate our various messages related to tickets, giveaways, promotions, etc. Social media gives us a way to connect in so many ways with our fans with creative content and features! Make sure to check our website and social media outlets every day!