Training Camp: Meet Armintie
With purple sleeves flowing out of her practice jersey, the Sparks latest import from Atlanta had a bounce in her gold shoes after making a big play during drills. Three days into camp, Armintie Herrington already looks the part with a smile on her face in another high energy practice.
"That's what I expected, coming from LA, coming from Coach Ross, is just getting after it, having fun, a lot of energy and passion," Herrington said following after-practice shooting with assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg. "Just coming every day with 110% effort."
Herrington signed with the Sparks on April 1, two days shy of her 29th birthday. Following two years with the Chicago Sky that included a Rookie of the Year Award in 2007, she was dealt midseason 2009 to the Atlanta Dream, where she spent the last four-plus years.
While in Atlanta, the Ole Miss product began playing under another Lady Rebel--coach Carol Ross. Ross, who was an assistant on head coach Marynell Meadors' staff for three years before being named head coach of the Sparks in 2012, has a familiarity with the 5-9 guard/forward that has been reciprocated early in camp.
"It's great to play for someone who knows you and knows what you can bring," Herrington explained. "And I know what to expect. It's no surprises. I know my role and I know her--we know each other."
What Ross knows she is getting is one of the league's established defensive stoppers. Herrington was named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team last season following Second Team selections the two previous years. She also had her two best scoring seasons in 2011 and 2012, averaging 8.4 and 8.5 points per game, respectively. Her point guard during those years was her new Sparks teammate, Lindsey Harding.
"Yeah, I'd like to take all the credit for that," Harding joked about that statistic before assessing her on-court relationship with Herrington. "She made it very, very easy. So hopefully--and for sure I know she's going to bring that here and it'll put a lot of pressure on a lot of defenses."
Last season, Herrington put a lot of pressure on the Sparks defense, scoring a season-high 18 points in her lone appearance against her new teammates, a 77-73 Los Angeles win at STAPLES Center.
If her play that night was not enough of an indicator to Sparks fans of what she will be bringing to the court this season, Herrington laid out her mission Tuesday afternoon.
"They're going to get my best every time I step out on the floor," she said. "I'm just going to do the best I can to help them make that next step and try to get that championship and just try to do everything I can in my power. I can only control what I can control, but they're going to get my best."