By: Norrelle Dickson

Sparks Open Tryouts

For the third year in a row, the Sparks held open tryouts for WNBA hopefuls at Windward High School in Los Angeles on the weekend of May 2nd. For two days, athletes from all walks of life flaunted their basketball skills in drills and scrimmages while taking advice from Sparks Head Coach Michael Cooper and his staff.

The Sparks are one of only four teams in the WNBA that hold open tryouts, and this year it was about more than just basketball. The weekend developed into a community event, with fans, athletes, various coaches and local spectators in attendance.

Many of the 78 participants hoped to earn a spot on the Sparks training camp team, with dreams of making the final roster. This tall task will not be easy, but these athletes were up to the challenge.

Amina Njonkou, who is originally from Cameroon and played basketball at the University Arizona, was prepared for a highly competitive, fast-paced tryout. She had her sites set on making the training camp team.

Other athletes were there to measure their skills and learn from the weekend.

“Making the training camp team is definitely one of my goals,” participant Amber Whittington said. “But I think I need more experience before I can move on to the next level.”

The athletes endured two days of wind-sprints, conditioning drills and basketball training, while fans, coaches and scouts watched with anticipation and excitement.

Season ticket holder Pattie Bruce is one of the Sparks biggest supporters and has seen every open tryout the LA Sparks have hosted. She came down to the tryouts last weekend to experience a small taste of what the players go through and to see the local Los Angeles talent.

Along with fans, many local coaches were in attendance. They had the opportunity to scout talent and learn new drills and strategies from one of the WNBA’s most prominent coaches.

The weekend was capped by pep talks from Michael Cooper and Sparks Vice President/General Manager Penny Toler.