Courtney Vandersloot's Draft Day Blog
|Courtney Vandersloot was selected third overall by the Chicago Sky|
Now that the draft is over, I don’t think my fingers can type fast enough for everything running through my head. I think one emotion that is easy to distinguish is the PURE excitement for everyone involved. There were so many unknown details going up to the moment the draft starts, that it can be an uneasy feeling for not only the players but their families and loved ones as well. I think everyone can say they feel like a weight has been lifted from their shoulders after finally hearing what the future holds.
Despite all of the emotions, the weekend has been nothing less than memorable. As we all arrived to the lovely Hartford, Connecticut, I had no idea what was in store for us for the next couple of days. It didn’t take long to discover our very full and busy schedule for the weekend. We had hours upon hours of meetings in order to learn the vital information about everything you can imagine playing in the WNBA. We met a lot of very important people, people that I’m sure we will develop close relationships with during our professional career. The meetings ranged from the legal aspects all the way to what not to wear. We were learning things about life, the league, and the professional world. Although the legal aspects and monetary discussion were interesting and useful, my favorite was the fashion and style section. They had four stylists/designers present the “must-haves” and “absolute nots” of fashion in the professional world. We received gifts and learned everything we needed to know to about dressing in the professional world.
After the meetings and hours spent in business apparel, we were very excited for our day spent with the families of ESPN. On Sunday, the day before draft day, we had the opportunity to tour the campus of ESPN and put on a short basketball camp for the ESPN employees’ kids. The camp had a very good showing, with a variety of girls and boys of all different ages. We put the kids through stations and tried to teach them a little something in the short amount of time we had. We did our best to make it fun for every kid out there, but I think all of us had more fun than they did!
It seemed like it took forever to get to draft day, but once it came, it FLEW! The draft wasn’t until 3 pm, but they had us up early and headed to Bristol by 9:30 am. Once we arrived on campus, they kept us busy right up until the show. We started off with a brunch with some of the ESPN executives. The brunch was a great opportunity for the players to interact with people behind the scenes, all the “senior presidents and vice presidents” of the programs that help to get us the exposure we need. At the brunch, each player was teamed with an executive for a short trivia about the history of the WNBA. Danielle Adams and her teammate ran away with the victory, missing only one or two questions.
After our brunch we headed back to the player lounge to get camera-ready with hair and make-up. This is a rare opportunity for people to see a different side of us. Most people recognize us in a uniform of some sort with our hair tied back and little to no make-up. I will be the first, but definitely not the last to say, that these girls clean up very nice. Not only are they extraordinary athletes, but beautiful women, inside and out. After we were all ready, from there it was just about go time. We headed to the studio for a brief walk-through, and before we knew it, Renee Brown, the WNBA’s Chief of Basketball Operations, was up on the stage announcing the first pick.
Although we had no idea where we would be drafted, we were nearly certain that at some point during the show our name would be drafted. But that does not take away from the moment when your name is actually called as a selection in the WNBA draft. That moment will stay with each one of us forever. We were reminded plenty of times this past weekend that we only get drafted once, and to enjoy every moment. But the moment your name is called is a feeling that would be nearly impossible to not enjoy.
After the draft, we had a few hours to come down from our excitement and really embrace what will be happening to us is the next couple of months, and the mood around the players’ lounge was polar opposite of what it was in the hours prior to 3:00. There wasn’t one player in there that didn’t have a smile from ear to ear on her face and the mood in the room was much lighter, to say the least. A feeling of relief was written all over the foreheads of the players in the lounge and everyone was genuinely happy not only for themselves but for their new friends as well.
All in all, in was a great weekend. One I am thankful my parents and coaches were able to be a part of. But it is now time for me to get back to Spokane and hit the gym. I have a lot of work to do before training camp begins on May 15!