North Carolina guard Nikki Teasley has been wowing WNBA coaches and general managers. Not only is she a six foot point guard, but her ingenious passing
ability was recently on display at Pre-Draft Camp and at the WBCA All-Star Game, where she faked out Sheryl Swoopes, then bounced a pass through her legs to a teammate. Storm coach/GM Lin Dunn considers her one of the five best players in the 2002 WNBA Draft and is considering her for the top pick
Teasley, who made the All-ACC First Team and was named AP All-America
honorable mention this season, is North Carolina's all-time assist leader despite sitting out the 2000-01 season. Teasley was also the ACC
Tournament MVP in 2000 and the 1998 ACC Rookie of the Year in one of
college's most heralded conferences.
Teasley dropped by for a live chat on Wednesday, April 17, just two days before the WNBA Draft. This is what she had to say:
Kim, Sacramento: Hi Nikki. Congrats on a successful season. You've been mentioned as a top five draft pick. Sometimes players who are predicted to go that high choose not to attend the pre-draft camp. Why did you choose to go, and do you think it helped prepare you in any way for the WNBA?
Nikki Teasley: It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I felt like it would be a great experience for me and something that I can tell my children about. It helps a little.
Ja'nay (Buffalo, NY): Hey Nikki, you had a great season. What do look forward to in the WNBA? Good luck!
Nikki Teasley: I look forward to traveling a lot, playing and expanding women's basketball! I'm looking forward to traveling to LA because I've only been there once. I am excited to go to New York as well.
Jdub, Rosedale, MS: I play basketball at my high school and I wanted to know do you get the most fun when you shake someone or when you make a big shot? Why?
Nikki Teasley: I have fun when I shake somebody and make a great pass and let somebody else score. As a point guard, that's my obligation -- to shake somebody and then pass the ball.
Osha: How did it feel to fake Sheryl Swoopes?
Nikki Teasley: How did it feel? It felt good knowing that I can hang with the best of the best. Playing against the USA team, they are the best in the world. They are very strong, so I've been hitting the weight room hard after that game!
B (Sacramento): What sets you apart from the other point guards in this year's draft?
Nikki Teasley: Obviously my height. There aren't a lot of 6-1 point guards out there that can pass as well as I do. I can handle the ball and shoot over smaller guards or post them up. I tend to get in the way on defense, too. (laughs) It's my long wingspan.
Ron, Washington, DC: What's happening Nikki! With the Mystics having the 3rd and 4th picks, have you given any thought to the possibilty of playing at home in front of your hometown fans?
Nikki Teasley: I have given that a lot of thought, however I'm blessed just to be considered one of the top picks so wherever I go I'll be happy.
Duke graduate (Ohio): One-one-one...you and Marion Jones...game to 11...who wins?
Nikki Teasley: That's a tough question because she's quicker than I am! She would beat me to 10, but I'll beat her to 11! (laughs)
DINKEY..: CUZ... can I get a wassup...
Nikki Teasley: What's up, Dink!
Curt - Gastonia, NC: Since you are a highly skilled passer, how does a player develop an awareness of which other players on her team are open for a pass? Is passing a God-given gift or just a lot of hard work?
Nikki Teasley: It's just instinct for me. It's the feel of the game, all in the moment. As far as passing being a God-given talent, I would have to agree with that, but I do work hard. Being able to play is a God-given talent.
Mandy (NYC): Hey Nikki! I just wanted to say THANKS. I was also diagnosed with depression and it has been tough and I have felt really alone ... then I learned about you and it made me feel better. How did you get back to where you were before everything happened? Thanks and good luck on Friday!
Nikki Teasley: With a lot of family support, a lot of reaching out for help. It's ok to be down and depressed, but if you get help, it will all work itself out.
Niesha Butler, Atlanta: What up Nikki? I wanted to wish you the best. I played against you all these years at Tech and I want to see you do it in the league. If it was your choice where would you play and who would you like to compete against the most?
Nikki Teasley: What's up, Neisha? Hope everything is going well for you. Missed you in the ACC this year and good luck with whatever you do.
I would want to play wherever I'm drafted and of course I would like to compete against the best! Nobody in particular, just whomever is the best on the opposing team at the time. Every individual player has to become a piece of a team, so I want to play against the best team, not a particular player.
B.P., Chapel Hill: What's going on, Nikki? I've followed your career since you came to Chapel Hill. My question to you is what player, male or female, do you pattern your game after?
Nikki Teasley: Right now I would have to say Jason Kidd. I do believe that he is the best point guard in the NBA right now. However, I love Tracy McGrady's game. He's such a young player, but is making an impact in the league along with Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson.
Latasha Shipman, Raleigh: Ms.Teasley, you are certainly an inspiration to us all at Shaw University. I've followed you since day one and enjoyed playing against you during the summer. However, if there was one thing that you could change about your game, what would it be and why? God bless and may heaven smile upon you!
Nikki Teasley: Thanks. I would love to improve my defensive game. I'd love to be on the all-defensive team every year. I like to watch the great players like Dikembe Mutombo and Michael Jordan, who are great on defense.
Tamika PM (Washington, DC): Hey girl. Do you think you can be an impact player in your rookie year and how would you deal with being a backup guard?
Nikki Teasley: I think I can be an impact guard in my rookie year. As far as being a back up guard, I am fine with that as long as I get to play!
Crysta, Ga.: What other plans do you have in the future other than basketball?
Nikki Teasley: Well, ever since I was a little girl, my brother and I played cops and robbers and I was always the cop. I think I want to do something in law enforcement, maybe a probabtion officer because I received a lot of help growing up. That's one of the ways I would give back, with a little bit of authority. (laughs)
Madison Porter (Houston,TX): Hello Nikki! Do you think that the Los Angeles Sparks have a chance at another WNBA title?
Nikki Teasley: I think they do. They have a good shot. They have a lot of great players on their team, a wonderful staff, a great coach. I think it's possible that they could repeat.
Collis: I know you are getting excited about your possible transition to the next level. What do you see being the biggest adjustment you will have to make on and off the court?
Nikki Teasley: Off the court, the biggest adjustment is that you are on your own. You're an adult now and you're taking care of yourself, don't have people to baby you and tell you where to go and what to do. And ... well, I can't cook! So, I'm really going to struggle with eating habits. I can boil hotdogs, but I can't eat that every day! (laughs)
On the court, it's always the same.
Kim(Tampa): What is your favorite thing to do off the court?
Nikki Teasley: My favorite thing to do off the court is chill. I'm a really laid back person. I like to kick it at the crib and watch TV. My favorite show is 106 and Park. I like to listen to music, too. I like R&B, rap and hip hop.
HoopMatron (Sacramento): We know from the coaches what qualities they are looking for in a player. What qualities are you hoping for in the team that drafts you?
Nikki Teasley: I'm looking for team chemistry, team bonding, hanging out, a coach that's about business but also about having a lot of fun. I love to have fun and if I'm not having fun at something that I'm doing, I won't be as eager to do it.
In closing, I want to apologize to everyone if I didn't get to your question. Thanks to everyone for supporting me and chatting with me. Look out for me and pray for me at the next level!