New Storm point guard handles your questions

Hoops 101: Sue Bird

Bird

This offseason, WNBA.com has enlisted a lineup of players, coaches and executives eager to tackle your questions on women's basketball. This time around, WNBA.com has No. 1 draft pick and new Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird, who talks about training camp, her former UConn teammates, adjusting to a new city, playing with Lauren Jackson and more!

Let Hoops 101, and Sue, provide you with some answers below!


Marciniak

Henning

Tell us about your first few days of training camp. And how has the experience been practicing with your fellow point guards, Sonja Henning and Michelle Marciniak?
Frank, Seattle, WA

Bird: Training camp has been pretty intense. It's a physical game and everyone is giving 110% and it's very competitive. It's been a lot of fun actually. We're also putting a lot of offenses and defenses in so it's just like any typical first practice -- feeling out the situation.

As far as Sonja and Michelle go, it's been great to play with them. Obviously they're more experienced than I am in the WNBA so I'm trying to pick up as much as I can and go from there.


Hi Sue. I know you've been quite busy, but have you had an opportunity to check in with your former UConn teammates? Do you know how they're enjoying life as pros?
Tasha, Dallas, TX

Bird: Of course I've talked to them! I think they're all having fun. Obviously it's a new situation for all of us so it's fun to talk to them because we're going through the same stuff ... not even including basketball, but things like setting up your apartment, learning a new city, finding out where to go and where the good restaurants are. But then of course there's basketball, which is something we also talk about. I think everyone is having a really good time so far.


How do you feel about playing against the other three UConn seniors since you lived with them and played with them for the past four years?
Brooke, Wausau, WI

Bird: It's going to be fun. It will be great to see a familiar face every once in awhile. Instead of just being on the road, I'll have some people I can look forward to seeing and we'll probably go out to dinner after our games. As far as playing them, hopefully I'll have an advantage because I know what they like to do! I can kind of help my current teammates out and give them pointers on how to guard my old teammates.


blue rule
"I personally don't plan on losing a lot of games. I know that this team's record last year ... they did lose a lot, but hopefully we can change things around. We have a lot of young talent and hopefully I can just add to that."

-- Sue Bird blue rule

What was the first thing that went through your mind when your team won the NCAA championship, and when your name was the first one called in the draft?
Catrice, Hattiesburg, MS

Bird: When we won the national championship, it was just a lot of emotion, a lot of feeling. It was my four-year career in college coming down to this one moment where we go undefeated, win a national championship and we're on top. That was just a great feeling.

Being picked No. 1, that was exciting because not very many people get to say that they were the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft. It's something that I can tell my kids when I'm older.


Hey! I just got released to come back to play ball after tearing my ACL. Was it hard come back mentally? I know that I'm back physically; I just lack my old mental stability. I am worried that my coach will not let me start again because of this. Thanks and have fun!
Emily, Texas

Bird: Physically, you probably are confident because you've been rehabbing. I would have to say that the mental part of it all is probably the toughest. Just have confidence in your rehab, confidence in your knee and not really think about it. That's what I did. This will sound horrible, but I thought, "What's the worst that can happen?" You can tear it again, but you don't want to live your life in fear of that. You have to go out there and play hard. If you play hard, keep working on your game and prove yourself to your coach, I'm sure he'll start you.


Hi Sue. Loved watching you play for UConn and am looking forward to seeing you play in the WNBA. You are a very exciting player to watch. Now that you are in Seattle, getting settled into a new environment, and beginning training camp, hopefully you've had a moment or two to catch your breath, so to speak. What do you look forward to the most as you begin this new adventure?
Lisa, Spooner, WI

Bird: Just the challenge of it all. This is the highest level of basketball for women right now. Obviously I'm coming off of a great college career and I'm hoping to kind of take that momentum with me and go in and do whatever my team needs me to do. I am looking forward to the challenge, though. I'm going to be playing against the best players in the world so it will be tough.


Hey Sue! Have you been able to see much of Seattle yet, and if so, what parts have you liked best in the city? Best of luck this season!
Laura, Cheshire, CT

Bird: One day I got in the car and just drove. I got lost a few times, but in the end I did figure out where I was going so that was much needed. For a while there, I didn't know where I was. Now that I'm settled, I feel very comfortable here. Seattle is a great city, and people had been telling me that, but it wasn't until I actually got here that I believed it. There is a lot of great shopping and a lot of great restaurants. I'm really excited for my family and friends to come so I can show them around. There have only been only a few days of rain since I've been here so hopefully we can keep that sun coming!


Rizzotti

Staley

Will we see you follow in the footsteps of Dawn Staley and Jennifer Rizzotti, a WNBA point guard who coaches at the college level?
Gary, Honolulu, HI

Bird: I've actually thought about it. Coaching has crossed my mind, but right now I'm still pretty young. I might go back to school to get my master's in business and if I do that, I can be a grad assistant and see if I like college coaching ... and then go from there.


What is going to be the biggest change for you, since at UConn you were on a winning team and now that you are in Seattle, it will take a while in the WNBA to achieve the success you had in your college career?
Jemar, Dallas, TX

Bird: That's tough to answer. I personally don't plan on losing a lot of games. I know that this team's record last year ... they did lose a lot, but hopefully we can change things around. We have a lot of young talent and hopefully I can just add to that. I'm sure it will be an adjustment, but I'm a competitor -- as is everyone else on this team -- so we don't plan on too many losses.


Jackson

Hi Sue, and welcome to Seattle! I'm 8. My mom, dad and I are Storm fans, and my dad say you're the best college point guard, man or woman, ever ... that's the position I play! Are you looking forward to playing with Lauren Jackson? Do your playing styles match?
Ariel, Seattle, WA

Bird: Yes, I'm definitely looking forward to playing with Lauren. I've seen her play a few times and what I have seen is that she is a 6-5 player who can pretty much do it all. It's going to be exciting to play with someone like that and I'll be glad to pass the ball to her. And tell your dad thanks!


I'm in the 8th grade and live in a small town, playing AAU and JV basketball. What would you tell a young person who loves the game, like I do, about preparing for a future in basketball?
Lauren, Whitesboro, NY

Bird: Set your goals high and don't stop working until you achieve them. Never give up. I think that's the most important thing -- never give up. Whether you get hit with an injury, your jumper isn't falling, anything -- just don't ever give up and keep working hard in the gym.


Hey Sue! I think that you are the best basketball player EVER and a great person to look up to! What does being a role model for young girls mean to you?
SueBirds#1Fan, Pennsylvania

Swoopes

Leslie

Bird: It means a lot. I'm so thankful for those who have come before me like Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes ... because they have set the standard. When I was younger and in elementary school, there really wasn't a lot of women's basketball on TV. Although when I got older, there was so I could have role models. Now is the generation when little kids can watch us on TV and I think that's great. It really means a lot to me because some people my age didn't necessarily get the chance so I'm definitely going to make the most of it.


Hi Sue. Being a big fan of yours while at UConn, I wish you all the best in your new surroundings. My question is: Which part of your game do you feel might need the most work -- offense, defense, ballhandling? Thanks a lot and go get 'em.
George/Huskymaniac, Groton, CT

Bird: I don't want to give away everything, but probably all facets. I think everything is going to need a lot of work. This is a much more intense atmosphere, it's really competitive and everyone is really quick so obviously I'll need some work on defense. Then on offense, I'm playing against a lot of taller, stronger, bigger players so it's going to take some adapting for me. And you know, I can always work on the little things like my ballhandling and jump shooting. There's always room improvement!


Payton

Hi Sue. I'm very happy for you and I know you'll win the rookie of the year award. A question I have for you is how will you inform Gary Payton that you're now the best guard in Seattle?
Mike, Philadelphia, PA

Bird: Well, considering he got a triple-double against the Spurs (in Game 4 of the playoffs), I think I might have to wait a little while until I take that title! Maybe play one-on-one ... I don't know. (laughs)


Sue, has it set in yet all that you've accomplished so far, and how does it feel? Oh, and will you marry me? <-- Said that on bended knee.
Ted, Arizona

Bird: Thanks for the proposal. I'll have to think about it a little bit before I can give you an answer!

I think everything has set in a little bit. Obviously we accomplished a lot at Connecticut and it was a great experience that I'll always treasure. At the same time, its kind of funny when I look back and I'm like, "Wow, we went undefeated!" So it works both ways.

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