Q&A with Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap
|Victoria Dunlap was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year for the 2010-11 season|
Courtesy of University of Kentucky
WNBA.com: The Draft is only a few days a way. What are your plans leading up to it? What kind of things are you feeling right now?
Victoria Dunlap: Iím just really excited about this opportunity. Just looking back over the years from when Iíve been in college and even high school and how Iíve transformed into a player.
WNBA.com: You recorded over 300 steals in your four years at Kentucky and almost 200 blocks. Is it safe to say defense is your strong suit?
VD: Yes, I would say so. But Iím definitely expanding my offensive game to a range of outside more and not really settling for lay-ups.
WNBA.com: When you think about the WNBA and top defensive players, you canít help but think about four-time Defensive Player of the Year Tamika Catchings. Would you say you emulate her play a bit?
VD: Not really. I mean, ever since I started playing basketball, on the first team I played for, weíd go out on the court and youíre playing defense and youíre hustling, youíre not just defending, youíre actually trying to get stops and not look at the score. So I think ever since then Iíve just had that same mindset, and on defense youíre there to keep people from scoring and getting to the basket and thatís just how Iíve always been.
WNBA.com: With regards to WNBA players, who really stands out as potentially being the toughest ones to defend?
VD: Iím sure thereís a lot of them, but I guess off the top of my head I can say Diana Taurasi, Angel McCoughtry Ė just kind of how they have versatile skills and plans. Theyíve been in the league for a couple of years, they know little things as veterans and things I can do as a rookie for myself to kind of get that advantage. Iím looking forward to being able to play out there with a lot of people.
WNBA.com: Do you consider yourself more of a perimeter defender than an inside player?
WNBA.com: Itís a monumental year for the league as it enters its 15th season. Youíre young enough where you might have some memory of when the league first started. Were there any players you looked up to at a young age?
VD: I think the only person who I knew, and I actually met her, was Lisa Leslie. I just knew of her, people talked about her a lot and I think I was with my brother at an AAU Tournament and she walked into the hotel and I met her when I was younger. She was just walking through and I think I was just most amazed that she was as tall as my dad was, and my dad is 6-foot-6, and I thought he was the biggest and then she came in and I was just really surprised to see a woman especially that tall.
WNBA.com: Looking ahead to the Draft, where do you kind of see yourself going, if youíre making predictions at all?
VD: Iím not right now. I donít really have a preference I guess. I guess a lot of people have been talking and saying a lot of different places where I could possibly go. Right now, for me at least, itís still kind of unknown for sure where I might go. But any place that I go Iím going to be really excited to play in the WNBA and just have that opportunity.
WNBA.com: We said that defense was your strong suit before, but would you say youíre a defensive specialist, or more of a solid two-way player?
VD: I think now Iím a solid two-way player. My first two years here at Kentucky I probably wouldíve said I was a defensive specialist. Thatís what I wanted to do and what I knew was easiest for me, because I knew I was pretty aggressive on defense. But now I would say Iím more of a two-way player, but defense is still the stronger mindset.
WNBA.com: A lot can be said of WNBA training camp and how competitive it is. What do you have in mind when it comes to making a big impression in training camp and sticking with a team?
VD: Probably just my transition from playing the post or low block in college and transition that to more of a guard or two-three guard and handle the ball more. A lot more outside shots and just showing that confidence that I have in myself, especially on offense, and just going out there and working hard and showing that I can play with most people in the WNBA.
WNBA.com: What other aspects of your game are you looking to enhance? Have you been working on any areas in particular?
VD: Yes, for the past two weeks Iíve been working out and shooting a lot more threes. Most of the shots Iíve been taking have been threes. Ball handling. And mainly just a lot of guard-oriented stuff with shooting and ball-handling and getting myself more comfortable with that.
WNBA.com: Overall, how do you feel now in the days leading up to the Draft?
VD: Iím excited. I think Iíve shown a lot for myself, especially over the past two years, Iíve grown as a basketball player and Iím just really excited to go to a team and play.