New Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek has been out scouting college seniors in preparation for the Draft.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty Images
March 28, 2007 - New Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek has been on the job since January and has been working with the front office on transaction as well Draft preparation. WNBA.com's Matt Wurst caught up with the coach on a team corporate sponsorship and marketing trip in Phoenix prior to heading out to Cleveland for WNBA Pre-Draft Camp.
Q. So you've been the head coach of the Monarchs for a few months now. How
is the transition going?
Boucek: "It has been going really well. I started in the beginning of January. I'm settled, pretty much. I bought a house, which is not really furnished yet, but I have all of the essentials. I'm ready."
Q. Many of your players are overseas, obviously. Have you gotten a chance
to talk with any of them yet?
Boucek: "Yes. I work Kara (Lawson) out whenever she is in town. That's been a great blessing. She is such a hard worker, so coachable, learns quickly and a coach's dream to work with. She has been the only one in town, though. The rest, I've spent some time getting to know them and let them get to know me through email, instant messaging, text messaging and the occasional phone call. But I want them to feel comfortable coming in. I've been in contact with all of them."
Q. With John Whisenant moving from the coaching role to the front office,
do you expect to continue running the system he has established with the Monarchs
over the past few seasons? How has your relationship been so far?
Boucek: "We have an unbelieveable relationship. We had already gotten to know each other before I got the job, but we have great communication and a mutual respect for each other. We are very like-minded and like-hearted and share a similar belief in how the game should be played. I think that is why it has been such an exciting fit and has been fun for us to put our heads together to keep the Monarchs evolving.
Q. Prior to the Draft, your team has been active on the trade and free agent
scene. How involved have you been in those decisions?
Boucek: "He talks to me about everything. We talk daily and are working hand-in-hand to put the team together. It's a great situation for me as a young head coach to have a mentor figure like that with all of the experience that he has and all the wisdom that he brings to the table. Yet, he is totally supportive of me becoming my own coach."
Q. I know you've been out scouting many of the college tournaments and watching
the NCAA Tournament, but how do you and the staff prepare for a Draft like this
one coming up?
Boucek: "We watch a lot of film and try to see the ones we are targeting live. We'll look at stats over the years and putting them into lists, organizing those lists and changing them throughout the season as you get to know players. We rank players overall, by position and then based on our teams needs. Trades and free agency contribute into that as well. The Draft is the last opportunity to get players and you may not know until late in the offseason what needs may arise because of movement that takes place. Needs are always evolving, as is the list of players we feel may be the best fit."
Q. At this point, are there specific areas of weakness or holes you're still
looking to bolster either through the Draft or by some other means?
Boucek: "One of the great things that Coach Whis developed was a true team in Sacramento. This team is really the sum of its parts. He developed a great bench over the years, so we were not hit as hard by the free agency losses as some other teams might have been. They have all been developed and all had experience playing. Of course, we did not want to lose Erin Buescher or Hamchetou Maiga. I'm excited for them and the opportunities they have now. We didn't want to lose them, but we were excited to get Adrian Williams who we feel like gives us another athletic post player who fits in our system. In bringing Chelsea back, we have another perimeter defender to play that role for us as well. So we feel confident that we will have the right pieces in place when the season starts."
Q. With the second round pick that you have, is it possible to target specific
players that you want or will you take the best of who is available at that
Boucek: "It's a little bit hard to say. There is a pool of players that we are looking at. We want athletic swing players who are also good defenders. That's what we'd like to get. Now if all the ones we want and are looking at are not available when we pick, we'll take the best available player. But we've got a good list of players and are hoping that at least one will be there."
Q. When evaluating a potential prospect, what are some of the criteria you
use to form opinions?
Boucek: "We look for players that will fit the identity of the Sacramento Monarchs. This is an established team with an established identity. We want to bring in more people that fit the mold of sacrificial team players who are competitors, willing to outwork other players and who will play at both ends of the floor. That's what this athletic team is built on. We like athletic players for the style of defense that we are going to continue."
Q. Who do you see making an immediate impact coming out this year?
Boucek: "This year's Draft does not have a clear-cut franchise player. There isn't a Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi in this Draft that I can tell. But I think there are a lot of players who can play important roles. It may be deeper in some ways than previous Drafts, but the talent level is not as strong in the top players who are a notch above the rest. I do think Lindsey Harding has separated herself from the rest of the college players this year. But there are a lot of really solid players who have what it takes to make a team."
Q. So is this a Draft in which teams will pick based more on need than anything
Boucek: "Absolutely. More than ever, yes. Normally it is a lot easier to predict how things will play out. I think it really just a matter of what teams are looking for. Normally that happens later on in the first round, but I see that being the case early in the first round. That's definitely not normal."
Q. So is there any reason to think that the Monarchs won't be back for their
third straight trip to the Finals?
Boucek: "Injuries. But the league is so even, you know that. To say anything for sure is disrespecting other teams and I wouldn't do that. There are a lot of really good teams in this league and it comes down to how hard they are willing to work, the intangibles and chemistry and which teams stay healthy. It's hard to predict, but I really feel that if we reach our potential, we have a good shot."