2010 WNBA Pre-Draft Conference Call: Draft Prospects
Virgina - Guard
Rutgers/Botas - Guard
Kansas - Guard/Forward
LSU - Guard
Monica Wright: As I was listening I was getting more and more excited about this whole thing. As I have heard and learned, this draft is going to be guard heavy so it’s going to be exciting to see where everybody goes. It’s been an exciting season for the most part, it’s not over yet, and I look forward to seeing everyone in New Jersey.
Epiphanny Prince: I am very excited about the opportunity to go to the next level and be able to translate everything I am learning over here and everything I learned through my college career into the next level.
Danielle McCray: I am blessed to be here and I am looking forward to this opportunity to play basketball. I have a different situation with my injury. I have mixed emotions. I am excited and nervous at the same time but I am extremely happy
Allison Hightower: I am excited to have this op to be able to be in the WNBA draft and just as everyone else said, there are some great players in this league. I have had a great career here at LSU and I am just looking forward to continuing it on the professional side.
Question and Answer Session
Q: Danielle, how is your recovery from the knee surgery going and what are you being told about your WNBA prospects in light of the knee injury?
DM: “It’s going pretty good. Tomorrow will be my six weeks post surgery. I am just rehabbing everyday getting my strength back to normal. The doctors have been encouraging me. By hearing things and listening to people talking, before this injury I think I would have been pretty high, but the injury has impacted where I might go. I don’t think it will hurt my chances to be drafted, but it most definitely is going to hurt where I might go.”
Q: Are you still planning to try to go overseas this fall after you are cleared to play again to try to get back in game shape before next year?
DM: “Yeah, that’s my plan. As of right now I am just going to stay around school and rehab. Get myself back right and sometime in August or September go overseas and see how my knee feels and try to play in the league next year.”
Q: For Epiphanny, what has your adjustment been like going overseas and what are the biggest things you have learned there, anything that is going to help your game?
EP: “I think coming over here helped me to be more of a vocal leader and be more of a point guard and knowing when to pass more, when I am supposed to score and get everybody else involved. Playing over here has been physical for me and has helped my game to elevate to the next level.”
Q: Danielle, how big of an impact have you been told the injury will have as far as draft status and how does that affect your mindset going forward?
DM: “The day I got injured it was real hard because I knew my senior year was over and knowing my goal was to play in the WNBA. As far as the impact, I don’t think it will impact me as far as being drafted, but just the pick, the order might change. [The draft is] real-guard oriented this year. There are a lot of great guards out there and it’s all about what teams need you right away. Obviously I can’t play this year and there are going to be teams that need individuals to produce right away. That’s the main thing right now that’s going on and that’s hurtful but it’s just a setback I have right now and I just take it day-by-day to focus on my rehab.”
Q: Are you looking at it where it’s going to have to be the right fit with a team that has the patience to wait a year for you?
DM: Whatever team that can afford to wait on me and have someone that can’t produce this year.
Q: Epiphanny, what does it mean that you get a chance to come back home to the United States and play? What is the biggest difference that people are going to see in your game when you come back here?
EP: “It means a lot to be able to go home and play in front of family and friends to show them how much I’ve grown as a player and a person. I think the biggest difference you’ll see is me knowing when to pick my poison – knowing when to score and when to get everyone involved, knowing how to run the team better.”
Q: Allison, you have the advantage for playing for Van Chancellor who coached in the WNBA. How much of an advantage was that for you in getting ready for the draft and what has he told you to expect?
AH: I think it was really good advantage. Some of the stuff he ran here he also ran in the WNBA such as pick-and-roll. I think that prepped me for the next level. He told me [WNBA teams] do a lot of that stuff. He gave me great advice on what I need to learn and work on and he’s just been a really big help for me.”
Q: What do you think you need to work on the most?
AH: “Just having a stronger right hand, everybody knows I’m left handed. I’m just going to have to develop a right hand and make it more consistent. I also have to work on my jumpshot and make it more consistent.”
Q: Monica, what position do you see yourself playing in the WNBA?
MW: “I can def see myself around the perimeter playing maybe 1 through 3. That’s where I have been playing throughout my whole career.”
Q: Do you see yourself as a point guard more or more as a small forward? Where do you feel the most comfortable?
MW: Definitely feel the most comfortable at the guard, shooting guard.
Q: Epiphanny, now that you can look back on this past year and the decision you made to go pro, can you tell us whether your expectations of the year were met both professional and personally?
EP: “I think it met the expectations I was looking for when I made this decision. I am playing well over here; I’m leading the league in steals and second in scoring. When I first came, we were 11th and now were fourth. We have a chance to play in the playoffs and make the championship game. I just wanted to come over here and improve myself and play well and I think that I was able to do that.”
Q: Epiphanny, have you been able to talk to Brittany Ray at all about the draft prospects? Talk to former teammates that are in the WNBA? Can you give an idea of what knowledge you have going in to this draft since you haven’t been around the other players as much?
EP: “They all just tell me to stay level-headed and keep working hard, the sky is the limit. They say this is a tough league because everybody is good and everybody is competing for a spot and if I just keep working hard I will be able to play in this league.”
Q: Allison, I know you had talked about visiting your grandparents in Houston and them taking you to watch the Comets play? Did you envision yourself in the WNBA at that point?
AH: Having grandparents that lived in Houston was just awesome for me because as you know the Houston Comets were a big thing there. I was able to go watch those games when I was younger and see great players, a great fan base and it really motivated me and got me excited about women playing professionally. I got to see a lot of games and go to a lot of championship games. I thought of myself maybe being able to play in the WNBA and now that I am able to have that opportunity, I am just blessed and it’s a great feeling.”
Q: What are your thoughts on the transition from college to the WNBA? It’s such a quick turnaround?
AH: “I think it’s all about being tough. If you want to play you just have to go ahead and play. It’s going to be a very physical league, its going to be long, but that’s what you prepare for. You prepare for these types of thing. I am looking forward too it.”
Q: Can you speak about the fact that you are the second generation of players to see women play professionally in the States?
MW: “I definitely feel very blessed to be able to stay home and play in front of my family.”
AH: “It is a great opportunity for women to be able to play here in the States and not be able to go overseas if you don’t have to. It’s great to play in front of our family, friends and fans here.”
EP: “I think it’s great to come home and play for family and friends and fans in the U.S.”
DM: “I think it’s great to have role models for the women to see all the great things they have been doing. You watch the men, but you also have the women you can look up to. It’s a blessing to be in the United States and see all the talent that is here.”
Q: Now that you see yourselves becoming professionals, have you thought about your role in becoming role models for the young ladies growing up?
MW: “You have to make a lot of sacrifices so you make yourself a good role model for young women coming up. You model yourself after the way you were brought up and the older players you learned from. It’s a lot of responsibility and being in college helps us practice for that.”
AH: “I think that college has prepared us to be great role models because a lot of people that come to our games are a younger crowd. The WNBA is the same fan base. We have to be role models for a younger generation that look up to us and continue to carry good attitudes and be disciplined.”
EP: “It’s just something we owe. We had great models to look up to and now it’s our turn to be role models and it’s just a great feeling.”
DM: “I think that you have to take this opportunity seriously. Playing at Kansas, I already had a lot of people looking up to you, playing at the next level you take it more serious and I want to continue to have people looking up to us a great role models.”
Q: Allison, what have you heard about your draft prospects?
AH: “[The draft] is very guard heavy. I don’t know much about where I might be going. I am just looking forward to having the opportunity. Its going to be a great draft, there’s a lot of great players. I am just looking forward to seeing what is going to happen.”
Q: You have been one of LSU’s leaders in your career – how will you adjust to being on the learning end once you start your career?
AH: “I was in the same position when I started at LSU. W e had the class of 2008 leave – 8 seniors. I easily learned form them and took their advice. I looked up to them on-the-court and off. When I get the opportunity to go to the league, it’s all about learning and taking what they say and being a coachable player.”
Q: What is a very coachable player in your mind?
AH: “Listening, being disciplined, doing the things they need you to do and giving great effort.”
Q: Monica, what kind of feedback have you gotten from WNBA folks?
MW: “I haven’t really talked to anyone in the WNBA, but I do know that this is a very guard-heavy draft and that there is a lot of talent and it’s highly competitive. I know that I need to continue to keep working on my strengths and weaknesses. I can always work on my shooting and my body strength along with my handling of the ball.”
Q: What do you think is your strength and skill that you bring the league that is not always recognized?
MW: “As far as skill/strength, I would say defense. I definitely feel like I can bring that to the table and help out a team.”
AH: “I come from a defensive school and it’s all about teamwork and effort. I can add energy to a team.”
DM: “I would say versatility, shooting the ball and offensive rebounding.”
EP: “I would also say defense, we were a defensive-oriented school in Rutgers.”
Q: Epiphanny, can you think about your decision to go overseas, was that a tough decision for you to make?
EP: “The decision was definitely hard and coach (Vivian) Stringer was always a second mom to me. It was something that my family thought it would be the best for me, especially to mature more. When I went overseas I started playing against the best in the WNBA and it was a great experience to play against them. That’s when I knew it was the right choice for me.”
More from the 2010 WNBA Pre-Draft Conference Call