Hey Shock Fans! Well this is certainly not a feeling we are accustomed to here in the D - watching the WNBA Finals - without the Detroit Shock - on ESPN2. I can tell you, without exception, it’s a feeling our players and coaches want to reserve for the other Eastern Conference teams. Our sole focus for 2010 is getting back to where the Detroit Shock belongs…representing the Eastern Conference and competing for the WNBA Championship!
What happened in 2009? It has been well documented that the 2009 Detroit Shock was a banged up team. We saw Pierson go down with a season-ending injury in the season opener, Nolan suffered through the toughest season of her career physically as she battled numerous ailments, and we lost Katie Smith to a back injury during the final stretch of the regular season and playoffs. However, the Detroit Shock never made excuses. We simply kept battling and showed great resilience to overcome all of the adversity and found our way into the Eastern Conference Finals. Through all of the trials and tribulations, we were 40 minutes away from getting back to the WNBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year. While we are disappointed with the end result, we also recognize there were lots of things to be proud of.
On to the off season... As always, the off-season will be spent retooling the Shock roster. We have a solid group of players who are committed to the Shock. As you may have already heard, three of our core players, Deanna Nolan, Plenette Pierson, and Katie Smith, have re-upped with the Shock. Kara Braxton is under contract for another season and Shavonte Zellous, Alexis Hornbuckle, Olayinka Sanni, and Crystal Kelly all remain on rookie scale contracts. However, we have three unrestricted free agents who may sign with any team - Cheryl Ford, Taj McWilliams, and Nikki Teasley. We have one core designation available to utilize on one of these unrestricted free agent if we choose. The core designation provides the Shock with exclusive negotiating rights to that player.
Also, this off-season we could be facing another expansion draft. We hope to learn in a reasonable time period if Tulsa is being awarded a WNBA team. An expansion draft means we will likely lose a valued player from our roster.
You can follow me throughout the off-season on twitter (@ShockCoachReeve) for the latest updates to the Shock roster.
Most importantly, on behalf of the Shock players and coaches, many thanks to our great fans! We truly cannot do what we do without you!!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Hey Shock Fans! Well, the off-season is winding down - there’s no more snow, Bill’s storing away his fishing pole and golf clubs, the collegiate draft has passed…Shock season must be near!
I’d say on the whole, the Shock has had a successful off-season. We are extremely pleased with the roster additions we made to our championship core through the collegiate draft, trade and free agency.
The Collegiate Draft
With our first-round pick, we were able to address a roster need with a very talented guard from the University of Pittsburgh, Shavonte Zellous. Shavonte is a three-time selection to the All-Big East First Team who scored over 2,000 points in her career. Her game will fit in nicely with our existing guard trio of Smith, Nolan, and Hornbuckle. Via the trade of Ashley Shields to the Atlanta Dream, we were able to secure a second-round pick to draft Britany Miller, a 6-foot-4 center who recently returned from playing professionally in the Czech Republic where she averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds. Britany has stiff competition in the post, but competing against the league’s best post group will only elevate her game. Our third-round pick, Tanae Davis-Cain, a 5’10 guard, considered one of Florida State’s all-time greatest players, is their career leader in 3-pointers.
Free Agency - Haynie Coming Home
And the headliner of our off-season transactions came Wednesday when we were able to land the rights to Mason, Michigan native, Kristin Haynie. Kristin has been a player on the Shock’s radar since 2005 when the Sacramento Monarchs drafted her. Haynie’s ability to distribute the basketball and knock down open shots will be of tremendous value to the Shock in our pursuit of another championship.
With the off-season coming to a close and training camp set to open in one month, the Reeve Report is going on hiatus. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading and writing in. We feel like the staff has done its job of assembling another championship team…now it’s up to you. If you have not already done so, get on the horn and purchase your Shock season tickets. You will not want to miss seeing the 2009 edition of the World Champion Detroit Shock!
See you at The Palace June 8th for the Shock home opener, when we’ll raise the 2008 championship banner and then take on the LA Sparks!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Hey Shock fans - I have some long overdue questions I needed to get to before the final entry to the Reeve Report for this off-season. Thank you for writing in, and thank you even more for your patience! I hope the answers were worth the wait!
You mentioned Katie Smith graduating (December 5 entry). Can you please clarify exactly what she graduated with? - Lisa L.
Lisa (and Amy F., who also inquired about this), I received the answer in an e-mail from Katie herself just the other day. During her playing career at Ohio State, Katie majored in zoology and took all the pre-requisites to enter the Ohio State University School of Dentistry. But she did not graduate in 1996, as has been previously and widely reported.
“People have assumed or just written that I graduated in '96. I try to explain to people when they ask or tell them I finished basketball in '96,” Katie wrote. “I have corrected it many times but it always ends up being written as graduated.”
Katie was put on the waiting list for admission to dentistry school when she told OSU she was going to pursue her professional basketball career. She transferred her credits to the personal study program, and this December graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in life and human sciences.
I was wondering if the Shock might have any interest in unrestricted free agent Tamika Raymond. I think she could provide a good, solid 10-15 minutes of defense and rebounding per game. -- Mike C.
Thanks for the question, Mike. While we appreciate the solid career Tamika has had in the WNBA, going on her eighth season, the Shock's focus remains on adding depth to our perimeter. We feel like we have the league’s best frontcourt with Cheryl Ford, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Kara Braxton and Plenette Pierson. It would be very difficult to find minutes for Tamika behind them.
Hello Coach Reeve. Can you give us an update on Alicia Jeffreys’ health? And thank you for keeping us updated on what’s going on with the Shock. Good luck for next season and I hope we come out with championship. --Yara
For those who might not remember, Alicia is our director of business operations and has been battling a rare cancer called chordoma since last year. Alicia is continuing to battle and receiving the some of the best cancer treatment in the country at a hospital in Boston. Everyone from the Shock is looking forward to her making a visit home to Michigan very soon this spring.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Hey Shock fans! Well, the time has come again…one of my favorite days of the year…the 2009 Collegiate Draft takes place tomorrow at 3pm. The draft represents two things: an influx of good young talent to the league and the near start to the WNBA season. This season, for the first time, WNBA draftees will have a little time to breathe in between being selected in the draft and reporting to their new team as a result of the later start to the WNBA season. This will prove to be a very good thing for these new pros as they will have more time to wrap up their business at their respective schools and get geared up for training camp.
As has been well documented, the 2009 WNBA draftees are faced with the most competition for a roster spot seen in the league in a long time. With contraction (Houston Comets) and the elimination of the inactive list, teams simply do not have enough roster positions available to these new players. So, either these draft picks can beat out last year’s 2nd and 3rd round picks that made teams or veterans with larger salaries, or they will be faced with having to go overseas to hone their skills and try to get in the WNBA in 2010.
On to the draft…tomorrow the Detroit Shock will be selecting 11th overall. Preparations for this pick cover a lot of scenarios because it is difficult to determine how the first 10 picks will go. So, we have a lot of “if–then-else” scenarios that we will be working through in the war room. Our needs continue to be on the perimeter; however, our draft philosophy is to select the best player available. I wish I could give a hint as to whom we’ll be drafting, but we simply do not know what player will be there.
I’m sure many of you wonder what really goes on during the draft in the war rooms. Here’s the best picture I can paint for the Detroit Shock war room. Bill, Rick and myself will convene the morning of the draft. Rick will probably have breakfast (he always brings Bill a breakfast sandwich and me an oatmeal) and Bill will be all geeked up ready to start with his “Do you think so-and-so will trade us so-and-so for so-and-so?” that will last all day long. Rick and I will be side conversing about a variety of things…but mostly we’ll mock draft together. We will field phone calls from various GMs/Coaches around the league. Some calls will be to trade mock drafts and others calls will be for possible draft pick/player trades. The highest value of the draft picks is no doubt the day of the draft, so while we know that it will be difficult for 2nd and 3rd round picks in this year’s draft to make a roster, all teams will still be jockeying for position all the way thru the 3rd round.
After a long morning of completing our draft boards, Bill will find out what’s for lunch at the Palace Grille. He’ll order for all of us…probably a Caesar salad and the soup of the day for Bill and I and if the special of the day is a good one, that’s what Rick will have…and maybe a soup. ;-)
At 3pm, ESPN2 will begin airing the first round of the draft from Secaucus, NJ. (Rounds 2 and 3 will be broadcast on NBATV.) There will be about 15 draft prospects in Secaucus waiting to be selected. Each team joins the conference call conducted by the league office. After brief logistical formalities, Atlanta will be told they are on the clock and away we go! As each pick is made, we adjust our boards to reflect the players remaining to be selected. As we move closer to #11, our pick becomes more apparent. When the league announces, “Detroit, you are on the clock”, we make the final determination of what player we will be adding to our roster. Bill will announce our pick on the conference call, and then on ESPN2, Donna Orender will approach the podium and announce, “With the #11 pick in the 2009 draft, the Detroit Shock select ________.”
We will high five about our pick and then move on to other scenarios for the remainder of the draft. All in all, it’s an exciting day for the organization and for the players being selected. Tune in to ESPN2 and NBATV to see how it all plays out!
I’ll blog one more time before the start of the season to give you a final update on the Shock as we make final preparations for the start of our season.
Until next time…
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Hey Shock fans!
What a great March it has been for NCAA women’s basketball! In addition to the upsets that have taken place, there have been a number of great games. The type of excitement that has been generated with the parity of the tournament field – or perhaps home court advantage - has been a long time coming for the women’s college game. This year’s tournament, for the first time that I can remember, resembles the men’s NCAA tournament. Now, I’m not one who usually compares men and women, but in this case, it’s warranted. What makes March Madness so much fun to watch on the men’s side is the upsets, the Cinderella stories that each season brings. The first two rounds of this March madness for women’s basketball have been unpredictable – and that’s made the tournament fun to follow. There were the almost upset games of #3 seed North Carolina and #15 seed Central Florida and the overtime game between #15 seed UT-San Antonio and #2 seed Baylor. Then there were the real upsets. Ball State beating Tennessee was clearly a big upset, although I’m not sure it was on the scale that the ESPN folks have it as Tennessee quite simply wasn’t very good this year. The other significant upsets were Gonzaga, a 12 seed, upsetting Xavier, a 5 seed; Mississippi State, a 12 seed, knocking off Texas, a 6 seed; and in my opinion the biggest upset of the tourney so far, Michigan State, a 9 seed, knocking off Duke, a 1 seed. I saw Duke at the ACC Tournament – Michigan State beat a very good basketball team. Filling out a bracket on the women’s side in the past was pretty simple, save a few small upsets. For the 2009 NCAA Women’s Tournament, most individuals who did a bracket could not possibly have pegged the upsets that have occurred so far.
All of this being said, the favored teams to be in the Final Four, UCONN, Stanford, Maryland, and Oklahoma are still surviving and advancing. There should be more great games in this weekend’s regional games. In the Trenton regional, UCONN will handle California and A&M will be too much for Arizona State setting up UCONN vs Texas A&M to advance to the Final Four. In the Berkeley region, I have Iowa St over Michigan St and Stanford getting past Ohio State in what figures to be a great game setting up Iowa State and Stanford in an Elite 8 showdown. In Raleigh, watch for an upset of Maryland in its match up vs. Vanderbilt. Louisville should get by Baylor thus setting up a Louisville/Vanderbilt match up that’ll determine the Raleigh region’s Final 4 participant. Finally, in the Oklahoma City region, Oklahoma will be too much for Pitt and Rutgers will end Purdue’s run at another National Championship. This sets up Courtney Paris vs Kia Vaughn, er, I mean Oklahoma vs Rutgers. This game will be one of the best in all of the regionals …if Oklahoma wins, it brings Courtney Paris one step closer to keeping her $64,000 promise.
Tune in to ESPN2 to see how it all turns out. By the way, kudos to ESPN for their great coverage of the entire tournament. If you get the chance, let ESPN know how much you appreciate their commitment to women’s basketball.
I’ll blog again soon, as the draft is only 2 weeks from tomorrow!
Saturday, March 6, 2009
Hey Shock fans! I am currently blogging from the ACC tournament in Greensboro, NC. From here I will be headed up to the Big East tournament in Hartford, CT. I should see some great basketball over the next four days, as I will be catching nine potential first-round picks in action! I am looking forward to wrapping up player evaluations and preparing our final draft board for the 2009 WNBA Draft – April 9th is just around the corner!
Last time I checked in I mentioned I would share some thoughts on the trade happenings around the league, and there’s been plenty to talk about. It’s been a busy off-season for some teams trying to retool their rosters quickly, especially Minnesota and Atlanta.
The Lynx by far have been the most active in the trade area, sending Nicole Ohlde to Phoenix and Vanessa Hayden to the Sparks, respectively. Props to Lynx GM Roger Griffith for making the decision to move on in areas that had simply run their course. Both players needed a change of scenery and Griffith received good value in return in acquiring Kelly Miller, LaToya Pringle and Christi Thomas.
Minnesota’s trade of Lindsey Harding to the Mystics came next. I confess, the Shock had interest in acquiring Harding – she was the No. 1 overall draft pick just two years ago – and we were disappointed to see her go elsewhere. But the Lynx didn’t do badly in receiving the No. 9 pick and the No. 15 pick in the 2009 draft. Along with the free-agent signing of Chasity Melvin for the frontcourt, a healthy Harding will go along way toward Washington’s rebuilding effort.
As for Los Angeles and Phoenix, both are preparing for the future. L.A. acquired the 6-foot-4 Hayden to boost their size in the frontcourt when Lisa Leslie retires after the season. Phoenix GM Ann Meyers made an intriguing move by dealing Kelly Miller. She was a main cog in the Phoenix fast-break engine, but Mercury fans should reserve judgment until Meyers clarifies what she meant by “more to come” after the deal was done.
The other big mover and shaker has been Atlanta’s GM/Head Coach, Marynell Meadors, who rescinded the “core designation” of Betty Lennox, thus making her an unrestricted free agent. With the previous trade for Chamique Holdsclaw, the dispersal draft pick-up of Sancho Lyttle, the first overall draft pick on April 9, and the free-agent signings of Nikki Teasley and Michelle Snow, Atlanta has a brand new starting five. There’s enough talent in that lineup to contend for a playoff spot in the Dream's second year of existence.
Every year this league gets better and 2009 is no exception. There will be even more personnel moves as we hear from Tina Thompson and Lauren Jackson on their futures in the WNBA. However, one thing is for certain for all teams in 2009 – the WNBA Championship runs through DETROIT!!
Until next time…
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Hey Shock Fans! It’s been a minute since I last checked in so I thought it was time. Let me start with ‘DEEE-TROIT BASKETBALL!’ Way to REPRESENT THE D Katie, Bill, and Arron - 2009 Haier Shooting Stars Champion! No one likes it when Detroit wins…that’s what makes it so much fun. :)
Before I get into what I’ve been up to, I wanted to take time to give a shout out to Cheryl Ford for all of her hard work this off season. Not only has Cheryl worked tirelessly to rehabilitate her injured knee, she has worked equally as hard in our communities for the last four months. Clinics, school assemblies, suite visits and autograph signings at Pistons games, grand marshal at a Pontiac parade (in the bitter cold and falling snow!!), Shock Open House, Curtis Granderson’s celebrity charity basketball game, dropped the puck for the Plymouth Whalers, Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Basketball Celebration Day at a branch of the Phoenix Boys and Girls Club …and too many more to mention. Whew!! You name it, Cheryl’s been there. I know you join me in saying “Thanks, Cheryl Ford! We appreciate your investment in our communities.” If Cheryl’s not a unanimous choice for the WNBA Community Assist Award, there ought to be an investigation!! (See photos from some of Cheryl's appearances here.)
Since I last updated you on the draft prospects on January 6th, I’ve been very busy checking out first round draft picks in person. Over the last six weeks, I’ve seen some great college basketball teams and some great prospects for the WNBA. To be exact, I saw nine of the prospects we project to be 1st rounders. A few highlights:
Louisville @ UCONN - while the game was not as competitive as anticipated, these two teams are awfully good. The highlight for me was not the game itself; it was actually that I had some assistance in scouting the game…my Mom joined me for the trip to Storrs! However, it wasn’t the game that she was interested in, although she enjoyed watching Geno coach in person. (Side note: Mom made a great observation…she told me it looks like Geno needs new socks. I said, “Why do you say that?” She said, “He is constantly pulling them up!” I got such a kick out of this as I never noticed it before…next time you see Geno coaching, count how many times he pulls his socks up! ;)
As I mentioned, it wasn’t the game - or Geno - that Mom was interested in. It was the visit to Mohegan Sun that I promised her. Mom’s a serious player - slot player that is. We had a blast! It was a day after our visit to Mohegan that the WNBA announced the 2009 All-Star game would take place at Mohegan Sun. Mom’s already planning her return to Uncasville in July!
North Carolina @ Maryland - just an all-around great college basketball game. Toliver and Coleman are playing really well for the Terps…and so goes Maryland. UNC has some very good talent as well - especially the underclassmen.
Arizona State @ USC and UCLA - I made my annual West coast trip - yes, looking for 75 degree weather and sunny blue skies. Wasn’t meant to be - 50 degrees and raining is what I got! I still had the opportunity to enjoy some of the social scene. I stopped by Jennifer Aniston’s, Halle Berry’s, Ellen’s, and Nicolas Cage’s houses. Nobody was home so the Starline Tours bus kept moving. J Ok, so I was really out in L.A. to check out a couple of the PAC-10 prospects. Though I only saw one first round pick, I always enjoy watching PAC-10 teams play. UCLA is such an awesome place - has to be one of the best collegiate coaching jobs in America!
I have a few more trips planned. When the college season is all said and done, suffice it to say the Shock will be well versed on the collegiate prospects for the 2009 draft on April 9th.
Next blog I’ll share thoughts on some of the off-season transactions that have taken place. Until next time…
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Hey Shock fans! I’ve received a couple of good questions on the Shock Exchange and I wanted to get to those. I know some of you have asked about Katie Smith’s recent graduation, which I mentioned a couple of posts ago, noting that her online bio says she already has her zoology degree. I will get back to you on that for clarification, I promise!
This also gives me a chance to share my feelings on the inauguration of Barack Obama as our President. I watched every second of inauguration coverage, from the time the Obamas left the White House for church services all the way through to their viewing of the parade. I lived in D.C. for 5 years while coaching at George Washington University, and I really developed a strong interest in the goings on in Washington from a political perspective. I found D.C. to be such an exciting city to live in. What I wouldn’t give to have been in D.C. this past week! Like most everyone, I was moved by the day’s events. How far we have come!
It makes me even more excited for the Detroit Shock’s future visit to the White House to meet President Obama - a huge basketball fan, I’m sure you’ve heard. What a great year to be WNBA champions!
On to the questions - and keep them coming, you’re one of the most knowledgeable fan bases in the sport!
Hi Coach Reeve. Hope all is well. I wanted to know what the term "cored" means. I see it next to players’ name but don’t know what it means. Thanks Coach. -- Sue
Each franchise is entitled to one “Core Designation.” When a team uses its core designation on a veteran free agent, it means that the team owns exclusive rights to the player. The team compensates the cored player with a maximum fully protected contract. Only veteran free agents can be cored.
The reduction in the number of cored players by each team from two to one was negotiated in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. It created the availability of Lauren Jackson because the Storm cored Sue Bird and could no longer core both. The Shock, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out, used its one core designation on Deanna Nolan.
CR: Thanks for taking the time to write in, Christine. Lauren has really taken her time during this free agency period in deciding where, or if, she will continue her WNBA career. As we have shared with her, Detroit would be the best place for her if she truly wants to win championships. However, I think there is more involved in her decision. So time - and likely a lot of it - will tell. As for the salary cap situation, money is not a barrier to signing Jackson. When Lauren Jackson decides she wants to play for the Shock, I can assure you we will create the cap space needed to sign her. :)
Is it true WNBA rosters will be reduced to 11 players? If so, who is currently under contract with the Shock and how much room is there to make changes? If 11 spots are all there is to be had, the draft really wouldn't be much of a factor. - Justine L.
CR: In previous seasons, teams utilized an active and inactive list that included up to 13 players (11 active and 2 inactive). Going forward, teams will not utilize the inactive list, therefore each team will have a maximum roster size of 11 players.
As for the Shock’s roster, we have the following eight players under contract: Deanna Nolan, Cheryl Ford, Katie Smith, Plenette Pierson, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Kara Braxton, Alexis Hornbuckle and Olayinka Sanni.
We have the rights to Ashley Shields but have not yet signed her to a contract. Elaine Powell, Sheri Sam, and Kelly Schumacher are unrestricted free agents. So, the draft does impact the Shock. We are always interested in adding good young talent to our strong veteran core. We are concentrating our scouting efforts on finding a player at #11 in the coming draft that will not only make our team, but also be a contributor.
Monday, January 12, 2009
The opening week of free agency saw the L.A. Sparks make a play for Kara Braxton. Because Kara is a restricted free agent, we had 5 days to match LA's offer. We did matched the offer, thus retaining Braxton's rights. As Bill mentioned last week, it's our philosophy not to lose players simply because of money. Did the Sparks really think they would steal away arguably the biggest, most athletic center in the league? Wasn't happening! Can't blame them for trying to break off a piece of the world champion’s formidable front line, but Bill just wasn't going to let that happen. We are looking forward to Kara building on the career numbers she put up last season. She, Pierson, Hornbuckle, and Sanni give the Shock the best bench in the WNBA.
Now that I’ve updated you on the upcoming draft prospects in last week’s blog and free agency, it’s about time I got to your great questions! Thanks to everyone who wrote in. I appreciate your patience waiting for my reply. I’m sure you’ll have many more questions as free agency picks up and the draft draws nearer – keep them coming at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Cheryl, what are the Shock's chances of getting Marissa Coleman in the 2009 WNBA draft? I think she would be a fantastic addition to the team. -- Mike C.
CR: Hi Mike. Thanks for the question. You have shown a fine taste in collegiate players in your identification of Maryland’s Marissa Coleman as a prospect for the Shock. Coleman's game possesses two key things that would make her a great fit for the world champions: she competes with passion and has physical toughness. However, it is unlikely that Marissa would be available when the Shock are on the clock at No. 11.
Just discovered the Reeve Report and REALLY like it! Thanks!-- Jeanette I.
CR: Thanks Jeanette! Glad you have enjoyed The Reeve Report. I look forward to posting many more entries this off-season to keep you in the loop on what's happening with the Shock.
Hey Coach Reeve, thank you for allowing me to rebound for the 2008 WNBA Champions. I look forward to coming back next year. My question is, if a person wants to become a basketball coach, does the Detroit Shock have any type of job shadowing program? -- Thanks again, Aaron S.
CR: Hi Aaron! Good to hear from you! We really enjoy having you be a part of our team through your help in rebounding for the players prior to the game. The players appreciate how hard you work to get them ready. To your question, The Palace has an internship program that allows an individual to learn the ins and outs of the Shock through marketing, public relations, ticket sales and, if you want to spend a lot of time around the bench, basketball operations. That exposure to the team helps a lot of aspiring coaches understand how much work and organization it takes to run a team.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
HAPPY NEW YEAR Shock Fans!! I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays with family and friends. As I always do, I spent Christmas with my family in New Jersey. It was our first without my Dad so it was challenging to say the least, but I have an incredibly strong mother and two great brothers and we got through it together.
Well, college basketball is now at about the halfway point. I thought it’d be interesting to do a "stock up/stock down" drill for a few of the college prospects I listed previously. Our staff has seen quite a few games live and on DVD so here’s where the Detroit Shock is as far as evaluation of the top prospects:
Angel McCoughtry - already considered one of the best players in the country, but if the Detroit Shock were selecting #1, our pick would be Angel McCoughtry.
Renee Montgomery - the best player on the #1 ranked UCONN Huskies…yes, I know Maya Moore plays for the Huskies, but Montgomery is the one that makes it happen for them.
Shavonte Zellous - Pitt is having a great season thus far and Shavonte Zellous is the main reason. I’m still not sure what her best position is for the WNBA, but she’ll no doubt be successful in our league.
Dewanna Bonner - one of the most interesting players in the draft. At 6-foot-4 she’s really long and has impressive perimeter skills. Could be a good fit at the small forward position for the Shock. Auburn was 15-0 in non-conference play. Bonner’s stock could continue to rise if they can maintain this success in SEC play.
Ashley Walker - has played great for the Top 10-ranked Cal Bears. The Shock do not have a need for her as far as position, but she certainly has boosted her stock in the draft.
Stock Up - New Additions
Alexis Gray-Lawson - she’s been an ideal perimeter complement to the 6-foot-1 Walker for California, a fearless 5-foot-8 guard with a nice stroke behind the arc.
Shalee Lehning - very solid point guard who is the main cog for undefeated Kansas State
Kristi Cirone - scoring point guard for the Missouri Valley Conference's top team, the Illinois State Redbirds
Courtney Paris - if she were 6-foot-6, she’d be the #1 pick in the draft, no question. However, at 6-foot-4 she looks like she has her work cut out for her at the next level from a conditioning and agility standpoint.
Kia Vaughn - love this player’s size and athletic ability but haven’t seen consistent offensive output -- is it the system or player? A good senior season would have easily placed her ahead of Courtney Paris. Vaughn will either be a dud or a stud in the WNBA.
Others - Kristi Toliver, Marissa Coleman, Rashanda McCants, and Chante Black have all held steady. We’re looking for Krystal Ellis, Danielle Gant, and Jasmine Player to have strong conference performances to bolster their position in the draft.
No early news to speak of on the free agency front, which began in earnest Monday as players can now sign with new teams. A lot of jockeying behind the scenes, but I don’t think anything will happen with two of the biggest free agents for a while. But another big free agent will probably announce a decision soon. Keep tabs on all the key free agents here at WNBA.com.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Hi Shock fans,
Hope you had a chance to check out the 2009 schedule that was released Thursday. The coaches are excited to know what we have to look forward to this summer - we’re eager to get started and defend our crown!
You know Plenette Pierson will play a big role in making sure we have a successful title defense. I’ve seen Plenette a few times since the season ended at numerous appearances around Michigan - she did a great job working with the kids she met at school assemblies and basketball clinics. I had a chance to talk with her for a few minutes before she left to hear about her shoulder rehab and Christmas plans. Enjoy!
Cheryl Reeve: How's rehab going?
Plenette Pierson: Rehab is going great. I’m improving my strength in my shoulder daily. I’m so ready to finally be capable to play the game that I love the most. I’ve enjoyed having Cheryl Ford there for moral support to get through the rehab process. I’ve never had a major injury that has required me to not play and just rehab.
CR: What are your plans for Christmas?
PP: I’m going to go to Houston where all of my family lives to spend some much needed quality time with them. Especially my nephew who is growing up more everyday. I was there when he was born and now he's 2 years old. Boy don’t they grow up fast?!?!
CR: What's the coolest thing you ever got for Christmas?
PP: When I was in the 7th grade, my mom bought me my first cell phone. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when I was growing up kids that age didn’t have cell phones so for that moment I was the coolest kid on the block.
PP: Last year I gave my grandmother a 50-inch plasma TV. But I’m pretty excited about what I’m giving out this year too - I’m going to surprise my nephew (who loves the cartoon cars that feature a character named Lighting McQueen) a Lighting McQueen table and chair set. (Please don’t let him know what I’m getting him for Christmas!)
CR: What are your overseas plans?
PP: Not sure right now but I’m definitely anxious to play again and really put all of Laura Ramus' hard work to the test. I will know a little more information about where I will be playing overseas after Christmas!
CR: What did this year’s championship mean to you?
PP: What can I say? It was a dream come true after all the hard work that the team had put in. It was a serious way for us as a team to show the kind of character that we possess. We played through so much adversity - the suspensions, injuries and the huge trade when we received Taj McWilliams Franklin. It was just a miraculous season.
CR: Thoughts on the 2009 Shock season?
PP: All I can say is that I would hate to be on any other team in the WNBA, because the Detroit Shock will be a force to reckon with. With the players from last year coming back and Cheryl Ford coming back from her ACL surgery, it’s going to be another spectacular season. Oh yeah, I can’t wait to see what new tricks Bill Laimbeer has up his sleeve to bring in more great players!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Wow! It's been a busy couple of days at the league office with the Houston dispersal draft Monday and the draft lottery Tuesday. The results of the dispersal draft went pretty much as our staff anticipated. The top two picks, Sancho Lyttle and Matee Ajavon, were no surprise and the remainder of the picks made sense for those teams making selections. Six teams, including us, ended up "passing" on making a selection. Many fans question why teams would pass on players like Shannon Johnson and Tamecka Dixon. The simple answer is contract amount and contract protection. Teams would rather attempt to negotiate contracts that better suit their respective salary cap needs. It also works out well for these players as they are now unrestricted free agents and have the ability to sign a new contract with any team of their choosing.
As for the draft lottery, it was an exciting day for five teams around the league, but in particular, for the Eastern Conference as we landed the top three picks in the 2009 draft. No surprises here either as the balls bounced in the exact order they were supposed to according to the odds. (If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time in a very long time - if ever, that this has happened.)
So it looks like Atlanta and Washington have a real chance to improve their rosters through the additions they made in the dispersal draft and lottery. A similar situation helped the Shock make its worst-to-first turnaround in 2003, when Detroit acquired Ruth Riley in the dispersal draft and then drafted Cheryl Ford with its first-round draft pick. Next thing you know, championship! Time will tell if either of these two teams can follow suit.
While the Shock had no direct stake in the lottery nor did we gain a player from the dispersal draft, we are glad that all this is sorted out so we can put together real scenarios for improving our roster. Now it's on to free agency, which officially began Dec. 1. Teams are required to send Qualifying Offers and Core Designations by Dec. 14, and the negotiating period when teams can talk to free agents begins Dec. 15. Player contracts and offer sheets can be signed beginning Jan. 5. It sure will be interesting to see how things shake out with the top free agents available this year. Stay tuned!
I hope to have a "mystery guest" take part in the next entry of The Reeve Report, so look forward to that. Also, I want to thank everyone who has submitted questions through the Shock Exchange (email@example.com). Keep them coming!
Cheryl Reeve in the Shock Exchange:
CR: I would love to see Nykesha Sales playing in the WNBA again. She's been a great player in Connecticut but as you mentioned, it appears both the Sun and Nykesha have moved on from one another. I'm sure that Nykesha would find playing for the Detroit Shock to be very rewarding.
As for our needs, you hit the nail on the head! The small forward position is one that we will look to bolster this off-season. This past season we were able to fill the position by committee with Sheri Sam, Katie Smith, Plenette Pierson, and even Deanna Nolan at times. But, as you mentioned, we like Smith as the lead guard. The guard rotation of Smith, Nolan and Hornbuckle is a hard one for opponents to contend with. With regard to the Shock's salary cap, we have cap space to sign a top free agent. You'll have to stay tuned to see whom the Shock adds to its championship roster.
Greetings, Coach Reeve. I would like to ask, how could a soon to be 50-year-old woman become a WNBA scout? Thank you. -- Angela R.
CR: Hi Angela. The WNBA is unique from a lot of other leagues when it comes to scouting. We don't have separate scouting departments like in baseball, or positions just for scouts. The general managers, head coaches and assistant coaches - the staff members that most need the information you get from scouting - perform most of the scouting duties.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Hey Shock fans,
Just wanted to check in again and fill you in on a great week. First, Cheryl Ford, Plenette Pierson, and myself joined Aaron Smith of the Shock’s “Year Round Hoops” program at an assembly at the Burton International School in Detroit. What a great time! The students at Burton were so thrilled to see our players - and the Shock mascot Zap was a huge hit as well. A great day for all involved. A special “thank you” to Denise who made it all happen - you gave those kids one special day.
Then it was time to hit the road for some scouting. I traveled to Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday to see a great game between Ohio State and North Carolina, an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. Some very talented young players in this one. Jessica Breland from UNC and Jantel Lavender from OSU put on quite a show. I also enjoyed the play of Ohio State’s freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis - she has a “New York swagger” about her that I loved!
By far, the best player in the building was… none other than Katie Smith! Katie looked great and wanted me to say hello to you all for her. She’s working hard on finishing her degree at Ohio State and plans to walk in OSU’s graduation ceremony on December 14th. Then she’ll start full-time training in preparation for the 2009 Shock season.
I left Columbus on Thursday and headed over to West Lafayette, Indiana for another ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. This one featured Purdue and Maryland. There were three WNBA prospects for the 2009 collegiate draft in this one: Kristi Toliver, Marissa Coleman, and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton. I sat with Silver Stars general manager and head coach Dan Hughes (one of my all-time favorite people) and we enjoyed a great game. We both agree that all three prospects will no doubt make solid contributions to the WNBA.
The last thing on the slate for the week is another appearance with Cheryl and Plenette at the Boll Family YMCA in Detroit. We look forward to meeting the participants of the Bball at the Boll tournament. Come on out and see us between 4-5pm!
That’s all for now. Check back next week for news on the Houston dispersal draft Monday and the WNBA draft lottery on Tuesday. Until next time...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Hello again, Shock fans. Before I share some collegiate prospects with you and address the Comets’ unfortunate end, can we talk about the SNOW here in Auburn Hills?? What’s up with this…in November?? Going to be a long winter if this keeps up! I am a South Jersey girl and we just don’t see this kind of weather in those parts. Looks like I will be looking for some warmer, less snowy destinations for scouting trips.
OK, onto some of the prospects we will be evaluating throughout the 2008-09 college season. As I mentioned last week, we have a first-round pick and a third-round pick in the upcoming draft. With the first-round pick, we will select the best player available at that spot in the draft order. The third-round pick likely will be utilized on a player who fills a training camp roster need with regard to position.
Below is the list of players our staff projects to be worthy of a first-round pick. Later in the season I will start mock drafting to give you an idea of what players we think will be available when the Shock are on the clock. In the meantime I’m scouting two games this week, where I’ll see three of the players listed below. First I’m visiting Katie Smith in Columbus, Ohio, to see Ohio State and North Carolina. Then it’s off to West Lafayette, Indiana, to catch Maryland and Purdue.
2009 Draft Prospects by Position (alphabetical order)
Krystal Ellis - 5’10 - Marquette - most prolific scorer Marquette has ever seen - men or women; very good 3-baller
Danielle Gant - 5’10 - Texas A&M - strong body who is most effective inside the 3-point line; will have to transition from playing 3 and 4 positions in college to becoming more perimeter-oriented and playing the 2 and 3 positions in the W
Kalana Greene - 5’10 - UCONN - has made a nice recovery from last year’s knee injury; great athlete who has improved her perimeter shooting; has to make decision whether or not she wants to play in the W in 2009 or return to UCONN for her fifth season due to a medical redshirt
Renee Montgomery - 5’7 - UCONN - former high school teammate of Shock’s Alexis Hornbuckle; four-year starter for the Huskies; shows the ability to run a WNBA team from day one; Projected Top 5 pick
Kristi Toliver - 5’7 - Maryland - highly regarded playmaker; like Montgomery, separates herself from the pack because of the way she plays the game - with passion and toughness; Projected Top 5 pick
Shavonte Zellous - 5’10 - Pittsburgh - athletic guard who is most effective scoring inside the 3-point line; is on pace to score 2,000 points in her career
DeWanna Bonner - 6’4 - Auburn - good size and athleticism for small forward; can score and rebound; most effective inside the 3-point line
Marissa Coleman - 6’1 - Maryland - one of the most TENACIOUS players in the draft; can score in a variety of ways and is a good rebounder
Rashanda McCants - 6’1 - North Carolina - ACC player of the year candidate who is most effective scoring inside the 3-point line; good rebounder; plays with great energy
Angel McCoughtry - 6’1 - Louisville - a player with great speed and athleticism who can do it all on the court - run, shoot, score, rebound, defend; on pace to become Louisville’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder; Projected Top 5 pick
Chante Black - 6’5 - Duke - long, lean forward who can block shots and rebound
Ashley Walker - 6’1 - California - two-time All-American; athletic, agile post who can do a little bit of everything for Cal’s defensive-oriented system; only player ever at Cal to finish with more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 200 assists, and 100 blocks
Courtney Paris - 6’4 Center - Oklahoma - has been one of women’s college basketball’s most dominant players during her career; has amassed 98 straight double-doubles…and counting; Projected Top 5 pick
Kia Vaughn - 6’4 - Rutgers - big-bodied post with athleticism; does a great job of ‘sitting down’ in the post for entry passes; should make immediate impact in the W; Projected Top 5 pick
Cheryl Reeve in the Shock Exchange:
Which player is Detroit going to take from the Houston roster in the dispersal draft? My best guess would be center Mistie Williams. Thanks. -- Kelly Smith.
CR: Thanks for your question, Kelly. Unfortunately today is a tough day for WNBA fans, and in particular, Houston Comets fans, as we have lost the four-time champion Comets as a franchise. First, I want to say my heart goes out to the players - past and present - the entire staff of the Houston organization, and the Comets’ loyal fan base. This is certainly tough news to swallow.
The Comets dispersal draft is set for Monday, Dec. 8. Each team will select a Houston player who was under contract, or a reserved player. The Comets have five unrestricted free agents who cannot be selected in the draft, including Olympian Tina Thompson and center Michelle Snow. That leaves only eight current reserved players for selection in the draft. The order of selection is based on regular-season finish, so Detroit will select 11th. That’s why, unfortunately, the only players available to the Shock would have to be on Houston’s suspended list. A long answer to a short question I know...:-) Thanks for your question.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Hey Shock Fans! I hope this report finds you doing well. I will be blogging periodically throughout the off-season to bring you updates on the Shock, provide you insight into the 2009 WNBA draft, and keep you apprised of goings on around the league.
First things first – how about your 2008 World Champion Detroit Shock!! Winning the third championship for the organization was quite a thrill. Winning never gets old…and to quote Head Coach Bill Laimbeer, “It’s what we do.”
Now the task is to defend our title. No doubt, the 2009 championship goes through Detroit. Bill, Rick, and I will be hard at work to bring back-to-back titles to “The Dee!”
So what exactly do we do in the off-season? It starts with hunting, fishing – er, if you’re the Head Coach that is! For the hard-working assistants like Rick and I , the off-season consists of evaluating many collegiate prospects as well as keeping tabs on players competing overseas. We currently hold the #12 and #40 picks in the 2009 collegiate draft and will be looking to further improve our roster.
I know what you’re thinking: “What does a team that seems to have it all need?” Well, while we have a solid nucleus intact, we need talented young players who can fit into our star-laden roster, much like Alexis Hornbuckle and Olayinka Sanni did for us this season. In The Reeve Report, I will preview some of the collegiate prospects so that you can follow them through their senior seasons.
In addition to the collegiate draft, we also will look to fill our roster needs through free agency and trades. I will keep you posted as things develop for us!
I will check in soon with my initial rundown of prospective first-round picks for you to keep an eye on. If you have a question about a college player that has caught your eye or a question about the Shock in general, feel free to email me through the Shock Exchange at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, have a great Thanksgiving!!